Boyer Alumna Creates First Young Women Composers Camp


[piano] People don’t see a lot of women in composer roles. Um, and so the myth is that, uh, women don’t
want to do it, or are not as good at it, and so they don’t pursue the career. I remember talking with my composition professor when I got here as an undergrad. I was the only girl in the undergraduate program. And so that got me thinking, like, that it’s
definitely not because they don’t want to do it or aren’t as good. Um, but they’re discouraged to apply whether directly or indirectly because they
don’t see women in these roles. [piano] This is the Young Women Composers Camp. It is the first camp of its kind as far as
I can tell, at least in the English-speaking world. So we have girls here from ages 14-19, and they’re coming from all over the country, so we have a girl from South Dakota, Kentucky, Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland. All different kinds of composition experience
as well. [These are coming from opposite directions, so it’s O.K.] I just wanted to finally have some, like,
guidance in my composing because I’ve been doing it for about ten years. So, coming to this camp and being around so
many, like, girls and women who have been composing for
a long time maybe— I’ve never had that before. It’s about, like, learning not just how to
play, but why it’s written. And it’s like, how it’s written, and why it sounds so good or, like, why music is different. So they’re having a session on each instrument
family and then another orchestration session where
they meet with a professor who says, “O.K., you heard this earlier, and this is how you notate it, and this is when you can use it in your music.” [Shhh. Shh. Shh. Pst. Pst. Pst.] [Psh. Psh. Psh] It’s fascinating, ’cause I’m going to be going to college soon, so it’s been giving this, like, kind of a glimpse of what it will be like in a few years, I guess. The culminating project is that they’re each writing for the Atlas
String Quartet, which is an all-female string quartet, um, who I’ve known for a while. Going to this concert on Friday, we’re going to hear 18 pieces. Every girl’s writing a piece. [choir singing] And the chorale’s also going to perform several works by female composers and then one male faculty member here. [singing] When I play a piece, I look to the composer, and whoever’s playing the piece more-so than, like, the notes on the page, you know what I’m saying? So like, when you see the name, you think, oh, a person wrote that. And that person is … Um, a woman. I think it’s—it’s very powerful. Coming into this camp, I was really concerned
that I wouldn’t fit in, or I wouldn’t have, like, the historic music
theory, and, like, the knowledge that everybody else
does, but what I’ve learned is that they’ll help you. They’ll cater to you as a musician, or what you know and what you don’t know. For many of these girls, this is their first
premiere ever. And I’m so excited to be able to offer that
to them. I want to show these girls that you should aspire to do whatever you
want to do. Music composition is possible for you. [piano fades out]