As part of the ACWC’s 40th anniversary celebrations, we will be releasing monthly playlists of music by Canadian women. The playlists will each be one to two hours long. They will be released January through December, 2021, hosted on Soundcloud, and embedded on the front page of the ACWC’s website. We are hoping to include at least one work by every current ACWC member, and if there is room for more, we will also include music by earlier Canadian women composers.
Please submit at least one work using the attached google form. There are twelve categories which are meant to be open-ended; select the one that is most applicable. If your submission does not fit any of the twelve categories, select “other”. You may submit up to two additional works; these will be included if space is available. They will be more likely to be included if you submit works in separate categories. The twelve submission categories may not reflect the themes of the twelve playlists; these will be reworked based on the submissions that are received.
There is no maximum length for recordings; however, works longer than 10 minutes may be excerpted. You may include preferences for how the piece should be excerpted in the “work details” section.
“Building Up” virtual concert in partnership with the CMC
As part of our 40th anniversary events, the ACWC/ACC in partnership with the Canadian Music Centre Ontario division presents “Building Up”—a virtual concert celebrating women and gender non-conforming composers and performers supporting each other through their creative practices.
The program features composers based across the country, including works by our members Catherine Bevan, Rebekah Cummings, Sophie Dupuis, Heather Hindman, and Cleo Palacio-Quintin, as well as composers Monique Jean, Naomi McCarroll-Butler, Roxanne Nesbitt.
Performed by a quartet of Amanda Lowry (flute), Naomi McCarroll-Butler (bass clarinet/alto saxophone), Yang Chen (percussion), and Cecilia Lee + Stephanie Orlando (piano).
As part of Augmented Trio Promotion’s, August Tunes of Passion concert series, the ensemble ‘on the hat, will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the ACWC/ACC in their streamed concert Afterglow. The concert includes works by members Leila Lustig, Sylvia Rickard, ChristieMorrison and Diane Berry, and will be coming from beautiful Triangle Mountain, in Victoria.
On the ‘hat, consists of Marnie Setka-Mooney, soprano, Diane Berry, flute, and Kathryn Le Gros, piano, and they have often included works by local, women composers in their eclectic mix of musical genres.
The concert was streamed on Saturday, August 28th, at 7:00 pm (PDT), and is now available to watch here.
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“Muses Today” – Women in Music Festival, May 22, 2021, Moscow, Russia – An International Panel
This International Panel with Carol Ann Weaver, Janet Danielson and Bekah Simms, along with German archivist Mary Ellen Kitchens (a Board Member of Internationaler Arbeitskreis Frau und Musik/Archiv Frau und Musik, with her presentation, “Closing the Gender Gap in Music: Advocacy for Women in Music at the Archiv Frau und Musik (Frankfurt),” available here) as well as French and Russian contributors, focused on women’s musical work internationally. Weaver presented on Canadian women’s music and ACWC featuring the 40th Anniversary; Danielson talked about earlier prominent Canadian composers – 17th C. Ursuline Nuns, 20th C. Barbara Pentland, Violet Archer + more; Simms spoke about her piece “Skinscape,” for flute and electronics, performed at the May 22 Festival in Moscow. The fest, organized by Anastasia Koshkina, also invited the Canadian ambassador to Russia to address the panel.
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Soundscapes and More Panel: Saturday, May 15
The Soundscapes and More Panel, Saturday,May 15, 2021 featured soundscape/electronic composers, Hildegard Westerkamp, Tina Pearson and Carol Ann Weaver. ACWC member Emily Hiemstra interviewed the composers, as they discussed their personal stories, what drew them to the field of electronic music, their challenges, their creative process and how they view the future of electronic music. All three are respected composers in this innovative and ever-changing field of music. Hildegard Westerkamp is well known for her works that bring in the acoustic environment, while Tina Pearson is an innovative composer whose work often focuses on breath, attention states and altered performance practice. Carol Ann Weaver is a board member with CASE (Canadian Association for Sound Ecology) and has written numerous works using environmental sounds and field recordings This panel is a part of the ACWC/ACC’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Listen to this panel here.
We’re celebrating music from ACWC members all year long!
You can find all the ACWC Anniversary Playlists here.
Watch the ACWC History Panel from February 2021 here!
Stories from ACWC Members
Interview with Brenda Muller by Patricia Morehead can be found here!
Interview with Sylvia Rickard by Patricia Morehead can be found here!
Did You Know?
Leila Fletcher is a familiar name to piano students and teachers. Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1899, she studied from a local piano teacher through her elementary and secondary school years. After high school, she continued her music education at Greenville College, in Illinois, the Royal Conservatory of Music, and the University of Toronto.
In the 1930s she was appointed music editor for Gordon V. Thompson music publishers in Toronto, then in 1949, she founded her own music publishing company called Montgomery Music. It was based in Rochester, New York, to begin with, then moved to Buffalo and finally to Markham, Ontario. It currently still exists as a part of Mayfair music.
In her lifetime, Leila Fletcher published over 250 piano solos through her publishing house. She is probably best known for her piano method books for young piano students, which are still being published today.
Leila Fletcher never married, and even when her publishing company was based in the United States, she never left her home in Canada, choosing to commute.
If you would like to help support celebrations for the ACWC/ACC 40th Anniversary, including special concerts, workshops, projects, publicity and online initiatives, please donate by clicking on the Donation button below. Your support would be very helpful! Any donation of $25 or more will receive a tax receipt. Thank you!
Brenda Margaret Muller has been chosen as the winner of the 2020 ACWC Initiatives Fund for new creative work projects or compositions. Muller’s project relates to her Riversongs Festival of community-based music, through which she will, in turn, sponsor an award to an ACWC member for a new composition for the Riversongs Festival. The new work will be scored for community orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir. Muller is founder and Artistic Director of the Riversongs Festival, which occurs in Parry Sound, Ontario. The festival, involving Whispering River Orchestra and Community Choir, is tentatively scheduled for August/September, 2020, but will be further rescheduled if required, due to coronavirus.
Muller’s project relates to her Riversongs Festival of community-based music, through which she will, in turn, sponsor an award (named ACWC COMPOSITION AWARD) to an ACWC member for a new composition for the Riversongs Festival. The new work will be scored for community orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir.
Muller is founder and Artistic Director of The Riversongs Festival which occurs in Parry Sound, Ontario. The festival, involving Whispering River Orchestra and Community Choir, is tentatively scheduled for August/September, 2020, with full regard to the coronavirus situation at that time. If need be, it will be rescheduled accordingly. This annual event celebrates authentic Canadian and Parry Sound creative community through music, poetry and art. The small string orchestra produces five to six concerts annually, typically with two in June that bookend this unique week of workshops in composition, string playing, art, poetry, speaking Anishinabek, musical yoga coffee houses, banner painting and a musical Canoe and Sail Regatta. The music from the ACWC will be used to sponsor one of four Riversongs awards for compositions for community orchestra and/or community orchestra and choir. However, ACWC is only sponsoring Riversong’s ACWC-focused award, which will be granted to another ACWC member.
Although the event is traditionally held during Summer Solstice, the upcoming festival is tentatively rescheduled for late August into September, around the fall equinox, dependent on the coronavirus situation at that time.
About Brenda Margaret Muller:
From her roots as a classically trained cellist, Brenda Margaret Muller has gone on to create conceptual events that weave together poetry, music and song. Working as a Musician, Poet, and Song-writer, as well as Artistic Director for the past 32 years, Muller has created inter-arts events across the province, founded and directed the Ardeleana Chamber Music Society, and released 6 recordings with her trio, Ardeleana, including a CD of original cabaret songs, Wolf At My Door, and the first CD to feature only music by Canadian women – Spinners of Starlight (1997). She is the creator of two story operas – Melissa’s Song and Jonathon’s Storm, both of which have toured across the province to the critical acclaim of enthusiastic young people. Muller has commissioned and premiered over 150 works of music by Canadian composers. She holds an Honours degree in Music Performance from the University of Western Ontario, a Mus. Ed and Honours Specialist in Music from O.I.S.E. University of Toronto. She is currently the founder and director of the Whispering River Orchestra, and Riversongs Festival, a 10 day Community Celebration of Music, Poetry and Art in Parry Sound, Ontario.
Information on previous 2019 Initiatives Fund winner, Stephanie Orlando here.
Canadian composers Laura Hawley (left) from Edmonton and Maren Lisac (right) from Montreal are recipients of the 2019 Roberta Stephen Composition award.
Laura Hawley is a composer, choral conductor and pianist. She holds an M. A. in music theory from the University of Ottawa, and has also studied composition at the Banff Centre. Hawley was the founding artistic director of the Hypatia’s Voice Women’s Choir, and winner of the National Council of Canadian Muslims Community Builder award for her work, “Live, Love, Share.” She is regularly commissioned by some of Canada’s most distinguished choirs, including the Elektra Women’s Choir, the Canadian Chamber Choir, and the Avanti Chamber Singers. Now residing in Edmonton, Hawley will use her award to further her development as a composer through private studies with Dr. Allan Bell, focusing on instrumentation. She hopes to explore innovative ways of combining instrumental and choral ensembles, and to write chamber and orchestral works.
Maren Lisac is a composer who lives in Montreal. A graduate of Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts, her works have been performed by the Dissonant Disco Collective and the Saxophilia Quartet. She plans to use the award for Bad Mirrors, a collaborative work for JUNO Award-winning guitarist Gordon Grdina and live electronics which will be premièred at the 21st-Century Guitar Conference in Ottawa this August. Bad Mirrors will feature the guitar tuned in an approximation of the Indonesian pelog scale, a scale related to the order of the universe, with distorted reflections of the guitar sounds manipulated by Lisac in real time through playback software. The work will thus be a sonic commentary on how distorted views of reality give rise to extreme ideologies.
The Roberta Stephen Award offers support to a Canadian woman composer aged 36 or older for professional development such as further studies, conferences, or workshops, or composers’ festivals. Established by Calgary composer and publisher Roberta Stephen, the award is administered by the Association of Canadian Women Composers.
Mary-Catherine Pazzano has been chosen as the new web manager of ACWC, effective March 1, 2019.
Mary-Catherine Pazzano is a vocalist and music educator based in Kitchener, Ontario. At home in both classical and jazz worlds, Mary-Catherine’s performance highlights include: Birdland (NYC), various venues in Harlem, the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, The Rex (Toronto), and Jazz Bistro (Toronto). She has also toured New Zealand, and has been a soloist with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. Mary-Catherine has been lucky to share the stage with jazz notables such as Billy Stritch, as well as the world-class chamber ensemble Penderecki String Quartet. Mary-Catherine holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music and Drama from the University of Waterloo and a Bachelor of Education from University of Toronto/OISE.
Find out more about Mary-Catherine at: marycatherinepazzano.com.
Stephanie Orlando has been chosen as the first winner of the new ACWC Initiatives Fund Award, which supports members who are composing/producing new creative work projects. Orlando’s project is titled ‘wave’ is composed for flute, percussion, and electronics. It explores negative thought patterns with an influence of new wave music. The funds will be used for equipment rental and travel to the premiere in New York City in June.
Stephanie Orlando (b.1993) is an emerging composer and pianist based in Toronto. Her music has been performed worldwide by such performers and ensembles as the junction Keyboard Collective, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Penderecki String Quartet, Arcady Singers, The Rosewood Consort, Jeff Stonehouse, and Olivia Shortt. With experience writing for a variety of styles and instrumentation, her catalogue contains works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, voice, and electronics. Stephanie has composed music for a variety of mediums including opera, theatre, dance, and film. Her music is filled with traditional, contemporary and pop culture influences. Stephanie holds a Master of Music in Composition from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University. She is currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Toronto.
Émergences – Two Concerts– Friday, August 2, 2019, 8:00 pm at Canadian Music Centre (Toronto), and Monday, August 5, 8:00 pm at Galerie d’art Le Livart, Montreal, Quebec, presenting five new commissioned works for a flute-guitar duet (Sara Constant flutist, An-Laurence Higgins guitarist) by five new ACWC composers from Montreal and Toronto, Véronique Girard, Gabrielle Harnois-Blouin, Shelley Marwood, Thais Montanari, and Lieke van der Voort. See members above, watch for further details, and read more about the concert here.
The ACWC Art Song Concert – in honour of Rebekah Cummings (1980 – 2019) – occurred on Saturday, May 18, 8:00 pm at Conrad Grebel Chapel/University of Waterloo, Ontario. Clarisse Tonigussi, soprano & Narmina Efendiyeva, piano, performed music of 9 ACWC composers: Rebekah Cummings (The Way I Dream), Jana Skarecky (Green and Gold), Carol Ann Weaver (Timbrel in her Hand), Edith Covach (Cultivo una Rosa Blanca and Hoy lo Llamo Mi Pago), Christie Morrison – also singing – (Tooth or Consequences), Nephenee Rose (I Break with the Quiet), Karen Sunabacka (Shhh), Julia Jacklein (Three Summer Songs) & Fiona Evison (Evening Prayer).
Soundtrack: The Music of Leila Lustig – Augmented Trio Promotions presents a 75th birthday celebration of the music of Canadian (and Victoria!) composer Leila Lustig. ACWC composer Diane Berry is also featured on this concert. Leila Lustig’s life’s work is writing expressive and poignant music for the human voice, often in atypical combinations with other instruments, and frequently on her own texts. This concert will feature Marnie Setka-Mooney, soprano; Diane Berry, flute; Erik Abbink, saxophone; Nathan Friedman, clarinet; and Kathryn LeGros, piano. More information here. Tickets are $15 on-line, or at the door Monday, Apr 29, 7:30 pm, St. Matthias Church, 600 Richmond St., Victoria, B.C.
ACWC and Vancouver Island Symphony Gender Equality Initiative – On Saturday, January 19, 2019, at their concert in Nanaimo, British Columbia, the Vancouver Island Symphony announced a commitment to gender equity in their programming of new music. The ACWC’s secretary, Diane Berry was on hand to help them with their announcement. It read, as follows:
“Tonight, the Vancouver Island Symphony is formalizing its commitment
to equity in the compositional world. In recent years, we have
established ourselves as leader in commissioning and promoting new works
by Canadian composers. Tonight, we take this dedication to creation and
build on it with a commitment to gender equity across all of our new
music endeavors, in programming and commissioning new music. From this
point on, we are pledging all future commissions will respect and abide
by this principle of gender equity”
This is an exciting pledge for an orchestra to take. Diane congratulated them on being leaders in this, and hopes others will follow. The announcement was warmly and enthusiastically received by the audience.
Spark to Stone– presented by Caution Tape Sound Collective and the ACWC Saturday, March 24 2018, 8:00 pm Array Space, 155 Walnut Ave, Toronto, ON. Featuring music by 7 ACWC composers:
Amy Brandon – new work (flute, cello, piano, electronics)
Hope Lee – …I, Laika… (flute, cello, piano)
Julia Mermelstein – wonted (acousmatic)
Sarah Reid – new work (cello, piano, amplifed objects)
Ivana Jokic – new work (violin, cello, flute, piano, percussion)
Lesley Hinger – from within (violin solo)
Bekah Simms – new work (10tet Toronto Emerging Composer Award piece)
Missed the concert? Check out the YouTube playlist here.
The Climate Change & Endangered Species Concert / Concert de l’AFCC : Changement climatique et espèces en danger – Featured the music of 12 ACWC composers. Friday, October 27, 2017, Heliconian Club, Toronto, ON.
ACWC Piano Collective Concert— Premiere event featuring music by ACWC Piano Collective members occurred Sunday May 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM at Conrad Grebel Chapel, University of Waterloo, Ontario. Pieces were composed for and performed by student pianists, many of them students of ACWC members. Music featured was by Joanne Bender, Sarah J. Coles, Edith Covach, Emily Doolittle, Hanna Kim, Kye Marshall, Colleen Muriel, Paulette Popp, Jana Skarecky, and Carol Ann Weaver.
A Spirit Indominable- The ACWC presented a concert of the music of Canadian women, April 7th, 2017, First Church of Christ Scientist, Victoria, BC, celebrating the anniversary of the passing of the bill granting B.C. women the right to vote. It featured the Emily Carr String Quartet, the women’s choir Ensemble Laude and introduces soprano Elizabeth Gerow, with works by Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, Sylvia Rickard, Carol Ann Weaver, Kim Baryluk, Georgina Craig, Eleanor Daley, Sarah Quartel, and the music of an anonymous Ursuline nun.