Women Composers Forum

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Forum Details
Date: Friday, March 29, 2019 | 9:00am – 4:00 pm
Location: GrussHall, Austin Arts Center, Trinity College

This day is dedicated to scholarly research, workshops, and other presentations related to women composers and musicians. The Forum is intended to celebrate historical and living composers, support ongoing research, and provide professional development opportunities for composers, scholars, and other music professionals.

Presenters Include:

Christina L. Reitz | Baroque Tradition in the works of Shaw
Dr. Amy Zigler | “What a Splendid Chance Missed!” Critical Reception and Ethel Smyth, the first woman composer at the Met
Dana Kaufman | Cis Composer, Trans Role: Caitlyn Jenner as Opera
Mortyakova/Bogdan Piano Duo (Julia Mortyakova and Valentin Bogdan) | Music for Two Pianos by Women Composers from the Russian School
Rob Deemer | Moving The Needle: Strategies and Resources for Diverse Programming
Dr. Lisabeth Miller| Opera for Everyone: the importance of inclusion and diversity in Hartford’s musical landscape
April Kim | 가위 (“Scissors”): Fantasia Toccata by Jiyoun Chung
Wanda Brister, DMA | Recently Published Cabaret Works of Madeleine Dring

Included in this year’s Women Composers Forum will be a screening of the WCFH Documentary, made during the 2018 Festival.


Christina L. Reitz is an an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University and her primary research interests are women in music and American music. Peer-reviewed publications include the North Carolina Literary Review, International Alliance for Women in Music Journal, Journal of Library Administration, and the Grove Dictionary of American Music; her first monograph Jennifer Higdon: Composing in Color, was published by McFarland Press in June 2018. A chapter on Caroline Shaw’s Partita will be included in the second edition of Women Making Art: Women in the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts since 1960 due this fall from Peter Lang, Inc.

Dana Kaufman’s works have been heard throughout North America and Europe. Her music has been featured at venues/festivals including New York Opera Fest, Contemporary Music Center of Milan, Jordan Hall, and Ravinia Festival’s “One Score, One Chicago Series;” it has been performed by ensembles including Great Noise Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and So Percussion.
Kaufman was a Fulbright Fellow and has received recognition and awards from many organizations, including The American Prize and ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. She received her BA in Music and Russian, magna cum laude, from Amherst College; her MM in Composition at New England Conservatory; and her DMA at University of Miami Frost School of Music as the first Frost Dean’s Fellow. Kaufman is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Music Composition at University of California, Riverside. danakaufmanmusic.com

Dr. Amy Zigler serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Salem College. Her research specializes in music of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on the music of Ethel Smyth, and the study of gender and sexuality in music. Dr. Zigler has presented papers in the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, and throughout the United States. She has published articles and reviews in the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music, and her research on Smyth’s violin sonata was published in January in the monograph Nineteenth Century Programme Music (ed. Jonathan Kregor), part of the Speculum Musicae series. 

The Second Prize Winners at the 2017 Ellis Duo Piano Competition, the Mortyakova/Bogdan piano duo (Julia Mortyakova and Valentin M. Bogdan) has appeared across the US and Europe, performing two piano, piano four-hand, and concerti repertoire.  They have performed at numerous festivals including the Moscow Autumn International Festival (Russia), Music by Women Festival, Festival Miami, Assisi Performing Arts (Italy), National Association of Composers USA (NACUSA), College Music Society, MTNA, Fair Lane Music Guild, and the National Federation of Music Clubs.  They have appeared as duo piano concerto soloists with the Assisi Performing Arts Festival (Italy), and the Starkville Symphony orchestras.

Rob Deemer is a composer, conductor, educator, author, and advocate. His work as an advocate for underrepresented composers led him to create the Composer Diversity Database which received the 2018 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Internet Award and the Institute for Composer Diversity. Deemer is an Associate Professor and Head of Composition at the State University of New York at Fredonia and is the composer-in-residence with the Buffalo Chamber Players and Harmonia Chamber Singers.

Lisabeth Miller is sought after for her musically sensitive and dramatically compelling performances on both the opera and concert stages.  She has been featured with many opera companies, and as a soloist with orchestras and choruses throughout CT.  Recent appearances have been with Opera CT, Opera Theater of CT, Hartford Opera Theater, the Farmington Valley Symphony, The Nutmeg Symphony, The Farmington Valley Chorale, The Waterbury Chorale, and Con Brio Choral Society.  This summer, she will sing selections from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook with the Snow Pond Symphony, and she looks forward to collaborating with the acclaimed West End String Quartet on their 2019-2020 concerts. Dr. Miller holds a DMA from the University of CT, as well as degrees from the Hartt School of Music and Brandeis University; she is a member of the music faculties of the University of St. Joseph, Manchester Community College, and New England Music Camp.  Miller directs the music program at Old St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Bloomfield and is artistic director of Hartford Opera Theater.

Wanda Brister teaches at Florida State University. She has sung all over North America, Brazil, and throughout Europe in all forms of classical singing. She discovered Madeleine Dring’s music in 2000 and recorded all the art songs of Dring (released in 2013) or so she thought. In 2015, she visited Dring’s granddaughter who shared additional song with her. Items were scanned and Brister compiled and edited a series of 9 anthologies that were published by Classical Vocal Reprints, 82 pieces in all. She edited Dring’s opera, Cupboard Love (2017). Brister has lectured on Dring in Australia, Mississippi, and Las Vegas.