“You Can’t be What You Can’t See”
Women composers remain vastly underrepresented in the classical and choral fields. The brainchild of Artistic Director John William Trotter, HerVoice is designed to elevate women’s voices and provide training and mentorship to the next generation of women choral composers.
The program is open to composers of any age who self-identify as female, from anywhere in the world. Each winner works with Chicago a cappella or one of our partner choirs and receives a cash award and consultations with a mentor composer. The winning pieces get a workshop and a public performance, and all composers who enter are included in two virtual sessions with mentor composers.
Launched in 2021, the program has received over 200 entries to date, from 18 countries. Eleven winners have been named so far, with a new round of submissions anticipated in winter/spring 2024. Composer Stacy Garrop is a mentor composer and chairs the selection committee, which also includes mentor composers Zanaida Robles and Chen Yi, and Artistic Director John William Trotter. We have partnered with the Kansas City Chorale and the Vancouver Youth Choir, who joins us again in 2023 with their Artistic Director Carrie Tennant, and the Santa Fe Desert Choral, joining in 2023 with their Artistic Director Josh Habermann.
You can’t be what you can’t see. Many participants in this program have pointed out that they have never been in a “room” with women composers before. There is much lamenting in the concert music world about the fact that women seem under-represented on our concert programs…I hope more women who are composers in fact will identify as such to the world around them. I hope women will not feel isolated or “rare” as composers just because they are women. I hope we will bring promising pieces to excellence, and excellent pieces into view.