Our World Now - Women

“We have to understand that women have been composing for a very long time. This is just merely giving them the platform that has been denied.” 
—Composer-in-Residence Gabriela Lena Frank

When Marian Anderson sang her landmark concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, she concluded with a spiritual arranged by Florence Price, then a practically unheard-of composer. Just a few years earlier, Price had become the first African-American woman to have a symphonic work performed by a major American orchestra. The hardships of Price’s unlikely journey from a post-Civil War South to the stage of the Chicago Symphony are summed up in one of her letters: “I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”

This season, The Philadelphia Orchestra performs Price’s groundbreaking Symphony No. 1 for the first time. It’s just one of the highlights of WomenNOW, the Orchestra’s commitment to put female artists in what Yannick calls “their rightful place at center stage.” Look for more women on the stage as guest soloists, on the podium conducting, and in the repertoire as we envision a world where gender, race, and ethnicity are no longer barriers to artistic expression. 


Due to rapidly evolving developments, and in accordance with the City of Philadelphia’s recommendation that all large gatherings be suspended to limit community transmission of COVID-19, all scheduled Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsals, performances, and events through May 10, 2020, are cancelled. Learn more