PROJECT W, Chicago Sinfonietta / Mei-Ann Chen

Works by Diverse Women Composers


The week’s new classical release is on the Cedille label: “Project W: Works by Diverse Women Composers.” It features the Chicago Sinfonietta conducted by Mei-Ann Chen and includes works by Florence Price, Clarice Assad, Jessie Montgomery, Reena Esmail and Jennifer Higdon.

The Chicago Sinfonietta has been committed to diversity and inclusion since its inception. It was founded by Paul Freeman, who became especially known for his series of recordings featuring black composers. When he retired, Mei-Ann Chen took over the podium, and not only has she been recording lots of women composers, she’s also been hiring them.

According to the CD’s liner notes, just 1.3% of all works programmed by professional orchestras in 2016 and 2017 were written by women; the Chicago Sinfonietta’s number is 43% for its most recent season. And, 47% of its musicians are women, including fully half of its principals.

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Cedille is a nonprofit classical record label, and the album was funded in part by a grant from the Genesis Prize Foundation.

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