“You Can’t be What You Can’t See”
In January 2021, with Stacy Garrop on board as a mentor composer and chair of the selection committee, we announced a call for submissions for the HerVoice Emerging Women Composers Competition. Open to composers of all ages who identify as female, from anywhere in the world, free of charge, the program aimed to promote the work of promising composers and provide hands-on training to further their skills in choral composition. Strong partners were quickly drawn into the work, including the American Choral Directors Association, the Grammy award-winning Kansas City Chorale and conductor Charles Bruffy, Zanaida Robles, and Chen Yi. In February 2022, just over one year later, despite a global pandemic, we premiered two new works by winners Sarai Hillman and Edna Yeh on our live concert series.
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.