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Composer Florence Price

Association of British Orchestras Announces 2021 Grant Recipients

Awarded by the association’s Sirens Fund in order to promote works by historic women composers, up to £19,000 will be shared amongst six UK orchestras


The Sirens Fund of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) supports UK orchestras with projects raising the awareness and appreciation of music written by historic women composers internationally. The funds will help cover project concerts, tours, rehearsals, marketing, recordings, and educational work.

The ABO Sirens program began in 2016 and “was set up with the aim of working towards a fairer and richer picture of our musical heritage,” as stated by its founder, Diane Ambache.

This year’s grant recipients are The Hallé, Nevis Ensemble, Royal College of Music, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Orchestra for All, and Ulster Orchestra.

The female composers championed by these organizations include Florence Price, Grace Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Grażyna Bacewicz, and Augusta Holmés. Works by these composers will be performed by the selected orchestras between now and July 2022.

“The recipients of this year’s Sirens Fund awards certainly offer rich discoveries for many people with the two Holmes pieces [Andromède and La Nuit et L’amour], Williams's Zodiac [Suite], Price's Ethiopia [Shadow in America], gutsy Bacewicz [Divertimento for Strings], and [Williams’] Sea Sketches for the Scottish Islanders — plenty to engage and be stirred by,” said Ambache.

The ABO Sirens Fund is open to full and associate members of the ABO and priority consideration is given to those displaying profiles for raising female works, aim to address gaps in the repertoire, challenge the status quo, and engage audiences creatively.

The jury for this year’s grant comprised Diana Ambache, Helen Wallace, Edwina Wolstencroft, Gillian Moore, and Fiona Harvey.

“Frequently ignorance is the main issue around music by women,” Ambache stated on the ABO website. “The essential thing is for people to hear their works. When these lovely pieces are heard, there is no more reason for omitting them,” she continued. “Roll on inclusion.”

For more information, click here.

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