Reading some of the responses to the selection of Test Pieces for the 2022 Australian Nationals made it clear that we need to be more involved in selecting and promoting works by a diverse range of composers. I have chatted with Dr Jodie Blackshaw on this topic, and one of her most powerful messages is that there is a lot of great music by diverse composers, but we as conductors need to search out this music which initially can be harder to find.
In association with Dr Jodie Blackshaw (NSW) and Rachel Howley (QLD), the NBCA have collated a list of works by female composers, both Australian and international, for concert bands at Grade 4+ level and above. This list is intended to be a “one-stop shop” for conductors when looking for engaging works to select as Own Choices for Australian and State Contests. In addition to the names, length, and grade level, we have included links to online scores and recordings where available so you can see and hear these wonderful pieces of music. We also hope this list will support music selection boards across the country in finding works that can be used as Test Pieces for upcoming National and State Contests. To view the list, please visit our new webpage here.
This list is in its infancy, and we hope it continues to grow over the coming years. If you have suggestions of works you would like to see added, please contact us at the NBCA with details of the works so we can consider them for addition. We are hoping to broaden the list as well with a list of hymns and marches by female composers as well, to provide further options for bands at contests.
I would like to make specific note of two other great resources in the community for diversity in programming. We have focussed only on Grade 4+ works as Dr Jodie Blackshaw already has a wonderful list of Grade 1-4 works by female composers for wind band on her website that can be accessed here. The Band Association of NSW are active in promoting Australian composers and publishers and has a comprehensive list on their website for you to browse Australian content. You can access the Composer & Publisher Databases here. More generally, there are a number of web-based resources on diversity in programming for you to consider, including searching for composers by nationality and gender at The Wind Repertory Project, ColourFULL Music, and the Institute for Composer Diversity.
We hope you take the time to listen and explore these wonderful works by female composers and hope to see a range of them selected as Own Choices in the coming years. Thanks again to Jodie and Rachel for your tireless work in our Australian banding community to promote diversity in programming.
Paul De Cinque
National Band Council of Australia