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Women’s works that were rarely done

Concerts from overlooked female composers for International Women’s Day

02 March, 2018 — By Sebastian Taylor

Laurence Equilbey conducts Louise Farrenc’s Third Symphony at the Barbican on March 8. Photo:  Jana Jocif

International Women’s Day is being marked next Thursday by a rare performance at the Barbican of 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc’s third symphony. All soloists from France’s top-notch Insula Orchestra will be female and leading the orchestra will one of the country’s most in-demand lady conductors, Laurence Equilbey.

Louise Farrenc, 1804-1875

During her lifetime Farrenc won praise from Berlioz and Schumann and she was at the centre of Parisian musical life as a teacher, scholar and composer. But her reputa­tion dimmed as her music came to be performed less frequently. And it’s only in recent years that her work has begun to be truly appreciated by performers and musicologists alike.

“Nowadays, women’s works, both older and contemporary, must be able to be seen and heard,” says conductor Equilbey in the Barbican’s monthly Events publication. “A failure to do this is incomprehensible to society. Females must have the same artistic exposure and the same opportunity to build a career as men. It is a question of equality – and we must be extremely attentive to this crucial question which can help society to evolve.”

Beethoven’s triple concerto/ Louise Farrenc’s third symphony: Insula Orchestra, Barbican, Silk Street, EC2, 7.30pm, £15, 020 7638 8891,


Other concerts marking International Women’s Day:

Pieces by five forgotten female composers are being performed on Thursday (March 8) by the BBC Concert Orchestra at LSO St Luke’s. The composers are Leokadiya Kash­perova (1872-1940), Marianna Martines (1744-1813), Florence B Price (1887-1953), Augusta Holmès (1847-1903) and Johanna Müller-Hermann (1868-1941).
• Jedwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s, 161 Old Street, EC1, 020 7490 3939, 7.30pm, free but booking required at:

A performance on Tuesday (March 6) by of Handel’s Messiah by a period instrument ensemble Amade Players at St John’s Smith Square. The concert is being organised with the Associated Country Women of the World. This is one of the largest rural women’s development bodies with more than nine million members worldwide.
• St John’s Smith Square, SW1, 6.30pm, £12/cons £5, 020 7222 1061,

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