First Performance by a British Orchestra of Music by a Transgender Composer A British amateur orchestra will perform a piece by a transgender composer for the first time on March 14.
Bromley Symphony Orchestra will give the world première of Florence Anna Maunders’ new orchestral work Bacchanal – described by Maunders as “a wild and exciting drunken revel for a large orchestra which draws on Syrian folk music and the techniques of urban electronic dance music”.
The members of the orchestra voted to perform her piece as their “Orchestra’s Choice,” to celebrate the orchestra’s centenary year.
“When you’re a woman, it’s much harder to get your music performed – the statistics are against you, but when you’re a trans-woman, the odds are astronomical – everyone’s against you,” said Florence Anna Maunders.
“How is it then, that it has taken so long for any UK orchestra to play any music by a transgender composer?
“One reason might be that it’s enormously difficult to get new music played generally. Calls for new music by groups such as the Riot Ensemble receive over 450 responses for one place.
“Of course the majority of the applicants for opportunities such as this are male, cis-gendered and white.
“Nationally British orchestras perform a huge amount of music every year, yet only a fraction of this is by living composers, of whom the majority are middle class, privately educated, white and male.
“So the chances are against female and trans-female composers from the start.”
Things are changing though, as Florence Anna Maunders leads the way for transgender composers.
Florence says she is delighted her music is being programmed across the world, but knows there’s still a long way to go before contemporary classical music finally rejects the long-standing stereotype of the composer as white, male and preferably dead.
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