Women in Music at Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is excited to be further developing its Women in Music strand, bringing together women from all spheres of classical and contemporary music to highlight issues faced by female professional musicians today.

We recognise a fundamental need to address the underrepresentation of women in music who often face struggles in gaining the same opportunities, recognition, financial equality and status afforded to their male counterparts.

So many women in leadership roles here at Southbank Centre have really changed the future for women
Marin Alsop

Join our Women Of The World Orchestra 

Play alongside and network with professional section leaders in the WOW orchestra, as part of a special year-long education opportunity.

Find out more

Members are first in line for tickets 

It costs as little as £60 to join our community of art lovers and enjoy a range of benefits across Royal Festival Hall, Hayward Gallery and beyond.

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The conducting superstar delivers expert advice to five talented women conductors

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Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:00 pm
Tue 27 Feb 2018
7:00 pm | Tue 27 Feb 2018
Classical music
Opera
What wins out, love or duty? Find out as the OAE tells a classic story set to music by Haydn
What wins out, love or duty? Find out as the OAE tells a classic story set to music by Haydn
7:30 pm
Sun 11 Mar 2018
7:30 pm | Sun 11 Mar 2018
Dance & Performance
Comedy
A raucous night of comedy and music from great women hosted by Sandi Toksvig
A raucous night of comedy and music from great women hosted by Sandi Toksvig

Free

Free

5:30 pm
Fri 06 Apr 2018
5:30 pm | Fri 06 Apr 2018
Gigs
Jazz & Blues
Jazz up the end of the week with critically acclaimed saxophonist Camilla George and her band
Jazz up the end of the week with critically acclaimed saxophonist Camilla George and her band
Various times
6 Apr 2018 - 7 Apr 2018
Various times | 6 Apr 2018 - 7 Apr 2018
Classical music
Choral
Marin Alsop conducts Bernstein’s MASS, performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
Marin Alsop conducts Bernstein’s MASS, performed by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Tue 10 Apr 2018
7:30 pm | Tue 10 Apr 2018
Classical music
Chamber & Recital
The London Contemporary Orchestra present Steve Reich’s Different Trains 30 years on
The London Contemporary Orchestra present Steve Reich’s Different Trains 30 years on

Free

Free

6:00 pm
Sun 15 Apr 2018
6:00 pm | Sun 15 Apr 2018
Classical music
Contemporary Classical
The first major UK showcase of original music from the Slovenian composer
The first major UK showcase of original music from the Slovenian composer
Unsuk Chin, Berlin, den 12.05.2014.

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sun 15 Apr 2018
7:30 pm | Sun 15 Apr 2018
Classical music
Contemporary Classical
The Philharmonia performs an inspiring new orchestral work by Unsuk Chin
The Philharmonia performs an inspiring new orchestral work by Unsuk Chin
7:45 pm
Tue 29 May 2018
7:45 pm | Tue 29 May 2018
Classical music
Contemporary Classical
Hear world premieres of new works for string quartet.
Hear world premieres of new works for string quartet.

Free

Free

6:00 pm
Thu 07 Jun 2018
6:00 pm | Thu 07 Jun 2018
Classical music
Contemporary Classical
The culminating concert of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Academy
The culminating concert of the Philharmonia Orchestra's Academy

Free

Free

5:30 pm
Fri 08 Jun 2018
5:30 pm | Fri 08 Jun 2018
Classical music
Chamber & Recital
Kick off your Friday evening with dynamic soprano and marimba duo Percussing
Kick off your Friday evening with dynamic soprano and marimba duo Percussing

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Maybe you’re asking, do women still need to fight for equality in music in 2017? Here are some statistics that prove why:

  • 78% of interviewees for PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music initiative said they had experienced sexism in the industry. Many felt pigeonholed, whether as performers rather than producers, or as sex objects rather than artists. Women Make Music Evaluation 2011 - 2016
  • Women only make up 43.2% of British orchestra players but are still underrepresented in principal positions (McClure, Kokot and Scharff, 2014).
  • Only 6.45% of composers at the BBC Proms were female (8 out of 124) and there were only four female conductors out of 62.(Women in Music survey, 2014)
  • Submissions to the 2016 British Composer Awards showed a bias towards male white composers. Only six out of 40 commissions in the Orchestral category were by women.
  • Out of 61 full-member orchestras in the Association of British orchestras, only four had female conductors in titled roles in 2016. There are 100 titled roles for conductors available (James Murphy, Managing Director of Southbank Sinfonia, 2017).
  • In the last 20 years, there have only been three female principal conductors of British orchestras (James Murphy, Managing Director of Southbank Sinfonia, 2017).
  • A survey of 11 artist management companies in Britain showed that out of 393 signed and represented conductors, 371 were male and only 22 were female (5.5%). Many highly experienced and respected female conductors were yet to be signed by artist management (James Murphy, Managing Director of Southbank Sinfonia, 2017)
  • On average only 15% of festival acts are female, while 78% are male (female: pressure, 2015 – 2017)

Southbank Centre is committed to providing forums for women in the music profession to network and creating platforms for women to perform. Women in Music gives opportunities for women to have their music performed and broadcast, and to working with our partners to encourage a balance of female conductors, composers and artists engage in their programmes.

women in music stories

story
The celebrated German-Japanese pianist describes her introduction to the Norwegian composer
video
The electronic artist and composer on the inspiration for Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia
more stories