BBC Radio 3 to mark International Women's Day with 24-hour celebration of women composers

23 February 2021
By Ellie Palmer
For one week from 8 March, Radio 3’s Breakfast spotlights the music of five extraordinary women, whose work has not been heard before on Radio 3, while Composer of the Week explores the life and work of twentieth-century British composer and pianist Ruth Gipps.

As part of the celebration, the radio station has commissioned two new works which receive their world premiere performances as part of the celebration.

Cutting-edge film composer, vocalist and educator Ella Jarman-Pinto has set a text by the poet Jo Brandon for soprano Nazan Fikret and pianist Rebecca Cohen which explores the emotional impact of the pandemic on women, in a piece called Plango: A Cure Lament. It gets its world premiere performance in the popular drive-time programme In Tune.

Radio 3’s Lunchtime Concert at the Wigmore Hall, featuring pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason, premieres a new composition by English composer and violinist Natalie Klouda, titled Nightscapes 2020, the work is an ode to the 'nights-in' that 2020 brought to Natalie’s world.

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The week's afternoon concerts celebrate female creativity with a series of live and pre-recorded performances from the BBC Orchestras and Choirs of music by women spanning 300 years and traversing the globe. The BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Singers and Ulster Orchestra perform works by composers including Elizabeth Maconchy, Judith Weir, Eleanor Alberga, Grace Williams and Linda Catlin Smith.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, says: “Music by women is a regular part of the mix of music on BBC Radio 3 every day, but International Women’s Day gives us a chance to put the spotlight on the work of female composers in a particular way and to showcase a huge range of music. This includes hidden gems of the past, music that has become much-loved and familiar today, and we are also proud to have commissioned brand-new creative talents for the future.”

View the full programme here.