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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.

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

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And not just for our Classical Season 2020/21. As a Member, get the first chance to book for every one of our events – and you won't have to pay booking fees.

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Learn about how women are being supported in jazz, classical, DJing and more
The conducting superstar delivers expert advice to five talented women conductors

all events

National Youth Orchestra on stage at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
Various times
16 Apr 2020 - 18 Apr 2020
Various times | 16 Apr 2020 - 18 Apr 2020
classical music
Hear an ode to joy for our times with a reimagined choral symphony from the National Youth Orchestra
Hear an ode to joy for our times with a reimagined choral symphony from the National Youth Orchestra

Free

Free

3:00 pm
Fri 17 Apr 2020
3:00 pm | Fri 17 Apr 2020
classical music
courses & workshops
Learn from rising-star women conductors as they are expertly coached by the conducting superstar
Learn from rising-star women conductors as they are expertly coached by the conducting superstar
Anoushka Shankar, sitarist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 22 Apr 2020
7:30 pm | Wed 22 Apr 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Three genre-defying works from 2010, brought to you by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Three genre-defying works from 2010, brought to you by the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Performance of Mahler: The Song of the Earth

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 30 Apr 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 30 Apr 2020
classical music
The Philharmonia Orchestra presents music embracing youth and beauty, old age and farewell
The Philharmonia Orchestra presents music embracing youth and beauty, old age and farewell
Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, conductor
7:30 pm
Sat 09 May 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 09 May 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
On the surface, Debussy and Varèse couldn't be more different, but they share an obsession with sound
On the surface, Debussy and Varèse couldn't be more different, but they share an obsession...
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
4:00 pm
Sun 10 May 2020
4:00 pm | Sun 10 May 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group profiles French composers who set music free
The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group profiles French composers who set music free
Joana Carneiro, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 14 May 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 14 May 2020
classical music
Ride the emotions of great 20th-century American music with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Ride the emotions of great 20th-century American music with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Andrew Zolinsky, pianist
7:45 pm
Mon 21 Sep 2020
7:45 pm | Mon 21 Sep 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Copland's epic, visionary Piano Fantasy sits alongside premieres from Carla Bley and Ian Gardiner
Copland's epic, visionary Piano Fantasy sits alongside premieres from Carla Bley and Ian...
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 24 Sep 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 24 Sep 2020
classical music
Two works inspired by an ancient Greek creation story open the Philharmonia Orchestra’s new season
Two works inspired by an ancient Greek creation story open the Philharmonia Orchestra’s new season
Frank Zappa, instrumentalist
7:30 pm
Thu 01 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 01 Oct 2020
classical music
contemporary classical
Aurora Orchestra explores ideas of time from playful to nightmarish with Zappa’s zany masterpiece
Aurora Orchestra explores ideas of time from playful to nightmarish with Zappa’s zany masterpiece
Harriet Tubman: Scenes from a Life on stage

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sat 03 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 03 Oct 2020
performance & dance
A new opera inspired by one of the bravest human beings who ever lived
A new opera inspired by one of the bravest human beings who ever lived
Karina Canellakis, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sat 03 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 03 Oct 2020
classical music
Follow the London Philharmonic Orchestra between 1812, 1912 and 2012
Follow the London Philharmonic Orchestra between 1812, 1912 and 2012
Isata Kanneh-Mason, musician

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

3:00 pm
Sun 25 Oct 2020
3:00 pm | Sun 25 Oct 2020
classical music
Meet a quintessentially Romantic trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Meet a quintessentially Romantic trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Santtu-Matias Rouvali, conductor

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 29 Oct 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 29 Oct 2020
classical music
Music challenges tyranny in the Philharmonia Orchestra's tribute to the two composers
Music challenges tyranny in the Philharmonia Orchestra's tribute to the two composers
Elim Chan, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 12 Nov 2020
7:30 pm | Thu 12 Nov 2020
classical music
From the piccolo to the contrabassoon, every musician in the Philharmonia Orchestra gets to shine
From the piccolo to the contrabassoon, every musician in the Philharmonia Orchestra gets to shine
Anoushka Shankar, sitaarist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 18 Nov 2020
7:30 pm | Wed 18 Nov 2020
classical music
Rediscover a 20th-century musical masterpiece with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Rediscover a 20th-century musical masterpiece with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Alexander Gavrylyuk, pianist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sat 28 Nov 2020
7:30 pm | Sat 28 Nov 2020
classical music
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2020 Vision takes in music from 1817, 1917 and 2017
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2020 Vision takes in music from 1817, 1917 and 2017
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 02 Dec 2020
7:30 pm | Wed 02 Dec 2020
classical music
Spin through the centuries with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including Enescu’s 1918 epic
Spin through the centuries with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, including Enescu’s 1918 epic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 04 Feb 2021
7:30 pm | Thu 04 Feb 2021
classical music
Survey sweeping symphonic soundscapes with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Survey sweeping symphonic soundscapes with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Irene Theorin, soprano

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Sun 07 Feb 2021
7:30 pm | Sun 07 Feb 2021
classical music
Greek tragedy strikes with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Greek tragedy strikes with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Jess Gillam, musician

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 17 Feb 2021
7:30 pm | Wed 17 Feb 2021
classical music
contemporary classical
Reel and wheel through Michael Nyman’s pulse-racing concerto with star saxophonist Jess Gillam
Reel and wheel through Michael Nyman’s pulse-racing concerto with star saxophonist Jess Gillam
Nicola Benedetti, violinist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:00 pm
Mon 22 Feb 2021
7:00 pm | Mon 22 Feb 2021
classical music
A national treasure joins the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a landmark violin concerto
A national treasure joins the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for a landmark violin concerto

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

4:00 pm
Sat 27 Feb 2021
4:00 pm | Sat 27 Feb 2021
classical music
contemporary classical
Brand new music from the celebrated pioneers of the contemporary string quartet
Brand new music from the celebrated pioneers of the contemporary string quartet
Madeleine Mitchell, soloist

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Multi-buy discount

7:45 pm
Mon 08 Mar 2021
7:45 pm | Mon 08 Mar 2021
classical music
London Chamber Ensemble celebrates International Women’s Day with six composers and a world premiere
London Chamber Ensemble celebrates International Women’s Day with six composers and a world...
A choir performing on stage
7:30 pm
Wed 17 Mar 2021
7:30 pm | Wed 17 Mar 2021
classical music
contemporary classical
Classical music meets its audience in a work inspired by Midsummer Night’s Dream
Classical music meets its audience in a work inspired by Midsummer Night’s Dream
Alondra de la Parra, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Fri 26 Mar 2021
7:30 pm | Fri 26 Mar 2021
classical music
A legend of contemporary film music soundtracks your evening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
A legend of contemporary film music soundtracks your evening with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Patricia_Kopatchinskaja / Foto credit: Julia Wesely
7:30 pm
Sat 27 Mar 2021
7:30 pm | Sat 27 Mar 2021
classical music
The world’s boldest violinist creates a live performance experience around Schubert’s iconic quartet
The world’s boldest violinist creates a live performance experience around Schubert’s iconic...
Karina Canellakis, conductor

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Wed 14 Apr 2021
7:30 pm | Wed 14 Apr 2021
classical music
A feted new conductor appears with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
A feted new conductor appears with the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Stephen Hough, pianist

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Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Fri 16 Apr 2021
7:30 pm | Fri 16 Apr 2021
classical music
Volcanic Brahms and revolutionary Beethoven set the London Philharmonic Orchestra ablaze
Volcanic Brahms and revolutionary Beethoven set the London Philharmonic Orchestra ablaze
NYO Concert in Royal Festival Hall
7:30 pm
Sat 17 Apr 2021
7:30 pm | Sat 17 Apr 2021
classical music
Blooming with youthful energy, it’s the orchestra of teenagers led by conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto
Blooming with youthful energy, it’s the orchestra of teenagers led by conductor Carlos Miguel...
Pablo Ferrández, cellist

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 29 Apr 2021
7:30 pm | Thu 29 Apr 2021
classical music
Sit down to three courses with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Sit down to three courses with the Philharmonia Orchestra
Extinction Rebellion protesting
7:45 pm
Fri 30 Apr 2021
7:45 pm | Fri 30 Apr 2021
classical music
contemporary classical
The London Sinfonietta and composer Laura Bowler perform the Extinction Rebellion manifesto
The London Sinfonietta and composer Laura Bowler perform the Extinction Rebellion manifesto

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 06 May 2021
7:30 pm | Thu 06 May 2021
classical music
The violin world’s wild child becomes singer, actor and fiddler in Schoenberg’s pivotal work
The violin world’s wild child becomes singer, actor and fiddler in Schoenberg’s pivotal work
Violinist Alina Ibragimova

Multi-buy discount

Multi-buy discount

7:30 pm
Thu 03 Jun 2021
7:30 pm | Thu 03 Jun 2021
classical music
Hear heart-rending chamber music, born amid the horrors of war, by Messiaen and Shostakovich
Hear heart-rending chamber music, born amid the horrors of war, by Messiaen and Shostakovich

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Maybe you’re asking, do women still need to fight for equality in music? 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.

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