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SFCM Celebrates International Women’s Day with Future is Female Concert

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SFCM presents “The Future is Female: A Concert of Music by Women” organized by and featuring the women and GNC people of SFCM.

March 7, 2022 by Mark Taylor

By Mark Taylor

Composing and performing music can be deeply personal, cathartic experiences, and for Roziht Edwards, storytelling is no different. Edwards is performing her piece Sexism In Christianity during “The Future is Female: A Concert of Music by Women,” at SFCM on March 8th. “This composing process was one of the most authentic and raw experiences I ever had as a composer,” Edwards explained. She is one of 13 different acts in the concert — organized by and featuring the women and gender-non-conforming (GNC) people of SFCM on International Women’s Day. Edwards is a first-year master’s student in the Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program at SFCM. “I love having conversations with people from all kinds of backgrounds and genders, and this concert is a beautiful platform to experience that kind of conversation in my favorite language, music,” she said. 

For organizers like Molly Monahan, the concert is a valuable opportunity to uplift and encourage her peers: “Creating an opportunity for female and GNC people's music to be performed allows a moment for them to be front and center.” Monahan is an SFCM alumna and current Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) studio manager. As a young musician, Monahan found she was the minority among her peers. “Pretty much every festival, camp, or workshop that I went to for classical composition had around 5% female participants, and I was often the only one,” she said. 

As an adult composer she now sees a growing number of women in music, but says the issue has evolved to be less about numbers than entrenched bias. “When my male peers tell someone that they are a composer, the response is typically be something along the lines of ‘Wow, just like Beethoven!’” she explained. But in contrast, when she introduces herself as a music maker, the comparisons are usually closer to a singer-songwriter like Taylor Swift.  

Swift, while an accomplished artist who writes all her own music, still struggles to battle the perception from her own peers, most recently from British rocker Damon Albarn, who eventually retracted his statement in an interview that Swift doesn’t write her own songs. 

“The perception is that that kind of music is merely emotional, and that I, as a woman composer, must be writing that type of music,” Monahan continued, “People see Beethoven as a technical genius and Taylor Swift as someone who sings about her feelings. The reason why we must elevate female voices is so that we can work to erode these biases. Women write great music.” 

For “The Future is Female: A Concert of Music by Women,” audiences can expect a mix of genres and themes, but a unifying factor of female or GNC artists. The organizers and performers believe increased gender diversity in music starts with the opportunity to both perform more frequently and share different perspectives.“I think elevating female voices can definitely change many things, but I think that what will change things for the long term is diverse collaborations,” Edwards continued, “Changing a space cannot be done with only one kind of voice, it needs to be a collective voice that is incredibly inclusive and diverse, so that it’s not a change for only one kind of perspective.”

"The Future is Female: A Concert Of Music By Women" is March 8th, 2022 in the Cha Chi Ming Recital Hall at 7:30pm. Guests are asked to RSVP for this free event.