This August will mark 100 years since women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. To celebrate, the New York Philharmonic has commissioned compositions by 19 women for an initiative it calls Project 19, which had its first concert earlier this month.
“Less than 3% of the music presented on the concert stage is written by women,” says Deborah Borda, the orchestra’s president and CEO, and one of the architects of Project 19. That’s worldwide, not just in the United States, which means next year, she says, “We’re immediately changing the percentages.”
Last year, the New York Philharmonic only presented two pieces written by women all season. Borda and music director Jaap van Zweden saw the centennial of the 19th Amendment as a chance not only to redress that imbalance, but to reexamine the past 100 years.
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