A GRASSROOTS choir is tackling gender imbalance in composing with a performance of music specially commissioned from international female composers.

The Composeher project is able is go ahead thanks to successful crowdfunding by the Glasgow School of Art Choir, which raised £4000 to support the create of seven new choral pieces, reports our sister title The Herald.

A world premiere of the music will be held in Glasgow on Saturday with international interest in the project already high, according to the conductor of the amateur ensemble.

Latest figures, from Counting the Music Industry Research, show just 14 per cent of the 12,040 writers of music represented by UK publishers are female.

In response, GSA Choir commissioned seven composers from Scotland, England the USA and Australia to compose short choral works to create a unique event featuring music entirely by women. 

Glasgow Times:

The final rehearsals are now underway ahead of the weekend's event, which has been delayed by two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamie Sansbury, Musical Director and founder of the GSA Choir, said: "As we approach the world premiere performance on Saturday there is tremendous sense of excitement for everyone who has worked so hard to bring the project to life.

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"I know the composers and lyricists - some of whom are travelling across the world to be at the concert - are looking forward to hearing their works performed for the first time. 

"The choir is in the midst of the final few rehearsals to ensure that we do justice to these incredible compositions."

The participating composers are Dee Isaacs, Cecilia McDowall, Pippa Murphy, Sarah Rimkus, Ailie Robertson, Rebecca Rowe and Jane Stanley.
Support for the Composeher project has come from Creative Scotland, the GSA, Glasgow Women’s Library, Graven and Spreng Thomson.

Ms Rowe said of the project: “I'm thrilled to be chosen as one of the commissioned composers for Composeher and to be writing for the GSA Choir. 

"There is a tangible sense of fun in what they do, and, with this enthusiasm, it's going to be a wonderful project." 

In keeping with the overall mission of the project, the new choral works will be adaptations of poetry and texts written by or about 20th Century women.
While Composeher has received funding from the Creative Scotland Open Project Fund, there was a £4000 gap to fill to pay for the rights to the source materials and texts used by the composers.

That’s why the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is being launched now.

Mr Sansbury said there was a "hope it will encourage a wider, national discussion about the gender imbalance within the music industry."

He added: "There is a genuine sense of responsibility that comes with being the first to premiere a new piece; to interpret the work of the composers in a way that will engage and, hopefully, move the audience as they hear it for the first time.

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"Over the past year or so, the choir has become intimately acquainted with the repertoire and we hope that the passion and admiration we have for each of the works is not only evident, but is shared by the audience. 

"Ideally, we hope that people in attendance on Saturday will be inspired to seek out more music by our composers and, better yet, to seek out more music by female composers generally."

The GSA Choir was established in 2012 as a space for students and staff of The Glasgow School of Art to share their passion for choral music. 

The amateur choir has since grown to become a recognised charitable organisation, with more than 115 members drawn from all walks of life. 

The choir is non-auditioned and open to all.

Composeher continues the GSA Choir’s tradition of commissioning choral works, with the aim of bringing high quality choral music to new and diverse audiences through public performances.