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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

The Grand Rapids Symphony Celebrates Women with Special Concert

May 02, 2019 12:00PM ● By WLMagazine

by Moya Tobey 

We have all heard of composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. What few realize is that they weren’t the only ones in their family with an ear for music. Mozart’s own sister, Marianne Mozart, was a composer, but anything she may have written has long since been lost. Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny Mendelssohn, was also a composer but her works aren’t well known. As for Schumann, his wife, Clara Schumann, was a talented musician unfortunately lost between the lines of history. Not until the 20th century did women begin to receive recognition for their orchestral works. The Grand Rapids Symphony is recognizing these accomplished composers with the 20th/21st Century Concert: Celebrating Women, taking place on Friday, May 3 at 8 pm in the Royse Auditorium at St. Cecilia Music Center and featuring music from female composers Ruth Crawford Seeger, Joan Tower and Anna Clyne and female soloist Ava Ordman. 

Seeger was a specialist in folk music and composing. She was the first female in history to receive the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1930. Some of her works have a modernist theme and have inspired many important composers. One of her works being performed is, “Rissolty Rossolty.”

Likewise, Joan Tower was the first woman to win the Grawemeyer Award in 1990. Today, this award is worth $100,000. Her composition, “Made in America” used snippets from, “America the Beautiful” and won her the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and two more for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Classical Album. For “Celebrating Women,” the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform her piece, “Chamber Dane”. 

Clyne is a British-born composer who is now based in the United States. She won the 2010 Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the 2016 Hindemith Prize. During the 2015 Grammy Awards, her violin concerto “Prince of Clouds” was nominated for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. The symphony will perform her piece entitled, “Within Her Arms.”

In addition to these trailblazing composers, Ava Ordman, the principal trombonist of the Grand Rapids Symphony, will perform a solo at the concert. She is the only woman to hold this title in the brass section of the Grand Rapids Symphony since they began their transition to a fully professional orchestra in the ’70s. Ordman has also given the world premieres of works from Steven Smith’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra and Libby Larsen’s “Mary Cassatt.”

Tickets can be purchased for $26 at the Grand Rapids Symphony box office or over the phone. Students who are part of the Grand Rapids Symphony Student Tickets program can purchase tickets
for $5.

What: 20th/21st Century Concert: Celebrating Women
When: May 3, 8-10 p.m. 
Where: St. Cecilia Music Center,  24 Ransom Ave NE
Cost: $26

Moya Tobey is a college student studying publishing at Cornerstone University. She dreams of traveling the world, fighting for victims of injustice and penning everything she sees.

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