The Women Composers Festival of Hartford was founded in 2001 by composer/pianist Heather (Rupy) Seaton, while a student at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School. Surprised that she never performed music written by a woman (except for her own), she and fellow students spearheaded a festival to explore and celebrate works by contemporary and historical women composers.

Over the next decade, the Festival developed into a highly valued resource for the dissemination and performance of music by women composers, as well as the inspiration for new works and collaborations. The Festival began attracting scholars, composers, audiences, and supporters from around the world. Over time, the Scholarly Symposium was added to explore topic such as the works of unknown or under-known historical women composers, feminist musicology, and the role gender plays in how we understand and appreciate art.

Each Festival features a Composer-in-Residence and Ensemble-in-Residence. WCFH commissions the Composer-in-Residence to create a new work. The Ensemble-in-Residence premieres this piece in a concert that also features the winning compositions selected from the International Score Call.

In its present composition, the Festival includes:

  • Scholarly Symposium – presentations about women composers and their works
  • International Score Call – a competition for new compositions scored for the instrumentation of the Ensemble-in-Residence
  • Music Marathon – a full day of performances of works by women composers
  • Emerging Composers Workshop – composers at the beginning of their careers are mentored by a professional composer as they compose a work for the Ensemble-in-Residence, culminating in a public reading

The Festival takes place in early spring and is attended by academic scholars, students, composers, performers, and the general public.

Former Board Members & Dedicated Volunteers: