This Week in Classical Music with Randy Kinkel 06/24/18

Top 25 American Symphonies;
Gender inequality in Concert Programs


It’s “This Week in Classical Music”; an update on what’s happening in the classical music world;  I’m Randy Kinkel.


As you look forward a bit to independence day on July 4th, you might be wondering--  “what are some of the great American symphonies? 

Sudip Bose, managing editor of the website magazine The American Scholar  has some suggestions—25 as a matter of fact—and many of them you may have heard on KBACH, Like Howard Hanson’s Romantic Symphony (#2), and the Afro American Symphony by William Grant Still. Others might be new to you, like the 19th century New Orleans pianist Louis Gottschalk’s symphony; or Samuel Barber’s Symphony #2 that he wrote when he was a corporal in the Air Force.  You can read the whole article at


a lot of people think there’s Gender inequality in the classical music world— including in the concert hall when it comes to picking the music for the show. 

Figures show that out of a total of 3,500 musical works performed at concerts, 97.6% were written by men and only 2.3% were written by women.

Soprano Gabriella Di Laccio said she was shocked by the research. “I don’t really understand it, we don’t have excuses any more. The idea that there might not be enough female composers or the music might not be good enough ... this is all in the past.”

Di Laccio created something called the Donne project this year to promote female composers and highlight women whose music often went unrecognized in their lifetime. She said the project had convinced her that there were more than enough female composers in history to get a fairer gender balance at concerts.

“The whole idea of doing this is not to make people angry but to raise awareness. I hope this will be a gentle wake-up call.”

Some arts orgs have introduced measures to correct the imbalance; The BBC Proms and the Aldeburgh Festival have promised a 50-50 split between men and women in the commissions they give to contemporary composers by 2022.

DiLaccio’s project Donne and the independent label Drama Musica gathered the data for the figures from the 2018 programs of 15 large orchestras across the world.

The London SO’s managing director, Kathryn McDowell, said the orchestra does program the work of women. “Of the 12 young composers this season six are women, we have seen a 50/50 gender split emerge for the past two years, signalling that the best composers writing in Britain today are just as likely to be women as they are men, which is exactly as it should be.”


For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, K-B-A-C-H dot org; Be listening each week at this time for another update. Follow us on Facebook and twitter, and also listen every weekday at Noon for the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical hits.  I’m Randy Kinkel for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”; Member supported 89.5 KBAQ Phoenix and HD, a service of Rio Salado College and Arizona State University.