Annual Report of 2013 for KVAST – Association of Swedish Women Composers
Guldkvasten (The Golden Broom)
Kvast’s board decided to award Vadstena-Akademien with Guldkvasten 2013 for gender equal event organiser, with the following motivation:
“For innovatively shedding light on music by women from earlier centuries and demonstrating that an entire summer’s programme can be filled solely with women’s music from the Renaissance until today.”
Guldkvasten was awarded during the festival Sound of Stockholm on the 5th of November 2013 in Kulturhuset, Stockholm. The award included, as usual, an artwork of Ann Rosén, a diploma and a commissioned work.
During the Sound of Stockholm festival Kvast’s own commissioned work “protected by a world of dry leaves and furtive paths” by Paula Matthusen was premiered with Nine de Heney at Audiorama.
Kvast has carried out the annual account of the number of works performed by Sweden’s nineteen largest publically founded orchestras as the programmes for the 2013-14 season were published in print or by web-publishing. The review of the repertoires was carried out in August/September, with complementary additions made in December/January for the spring programmes that were then published for five orchestras. The project leader was Per-Åke Byström.
Kvast presented the statistics at the Kvast website and on the Facebook page on the 16th of September, and sent press material that had great impact in media. Both Kulturnyheterna (SVT) and Kulturnytt (SR) reported the news. TT’s (The Swedish News Agency) material about the repertoire statistics was published in about forty different newspapers and was also paid attention to abroad.
New for the year was an inventory of all repertoire works and titles created by men and women composers. 1225 works have been registered for the 2013-14 season. Kvast could – apart from the usual distribution of music written by men and women composers respectively – present the balance between older classical works and more contemporary works, as well as distinguish which composers are performed most often on the Swedish music venues.
The unthreatened number one on this list is Ludwig van Beethoven, whose music is performed more often than all women composers’ works altogether. Or expressed in percentage: Beethoven 6,8% and women composers 6,7%.
The portion of music composed after 1960 by men and women composers stays at 15,75% (last year was 16,5%).
In connection to the presentation of the orchestra statistics – which was simultaneously made externally to the orchestra managements as a kick-off for the orchestra project RepertoarRycket (The Repertoire Jolt) – Kvast arranged a mingle in Stim-huset, Stockholm, on the 16th of September. Around forty invited participants from the Swedish music and culture scene, such as Kulturdepartementet, Kulturrådet, Svensk Scenkonst, Kupp and other organisations in Kvast’s network, FST, Musikförläggarna and others, where there together with several of Kvast’s members and members of the board.
Stockholms Saxofonkvartett participated with music by Maria Teresa Gutiérrez Vargas (”Fiesta”) and Catharina Backman (”Kinderlied V”).
All the guests at the autumn mingle received the newly produced poster “Look Further”, where 812 portraits of women composers in a collage create the picture of Beethoven (design: P-Å Byström, PROPÅ). The poster was also for sale to the members and general public at the Kvast website, and has been brought as an eye-opening gift for Kvast’s presumptive partners: the orchestras in RepertoarRycket.
RepertoarRycket (The Repertoire Jolt)
During the autumn Kvast started the orchestra project RepertoarRycket, with Ylva Q Arkvik as project leader. The purpose of the project is for orchestras to take responsibility for and give consideration to the gender equality aspect when planning the concert programmes. By analysing their numbers and their development of repertoires in Kvast’s orchestra statistics, which now is available since 2008/09, the orchestra formulates their own political goal for the repertoire in numbers – with our help. During the autumn of 2013 the project visited most of the orchestras, and with a starting position in the orchestra statistics based on the concert programmes for 2013-14 a dialogue was held with the largest orchestras’ decision makers (orchestra directors and/or art directors) about the offered partnership in the project.
The next phase, to compile the orchestras’ analyses, has also been initiated. The project will also comprise a follow-up, providing that resources are available.
RepertoarRycket is financed with a funding for gender equality project with structural orientation granted by Statens Musikverk.
Kvast in media
In addition to the some 45 publications of shorter newspaper articles of the orchestra statistics in September, a number of features were made in Kulturnytt in SR and in Kulturpanelen in SVT’s morning show. Kvast’s president was interviewed both in relation to this and to other contexts by Kulturnytt (P1) and in SVT’s Kulturnyheterna.
The publicity about the orchestra statistics extended all the way to Denmark, where Politiken paid attention to Kvast’s work and they quoted Stina Lyles.
Dagens Nyheter published a critical editorial remark after the presentation of the statistics, and this generated both a debate on the Kvast website and an article by the freelance journalist Johanna Paulsson at DN Kulturdebatt.
The journal Opus has written about Kvast in relation to the orchestra statistics, the external launching of the orchestra project RepertoarRycket in September, and on Guldkvasten in November. Additionally, a larger article about gender equality was written with the headline “The last bastion” in Opus 45, the special feature issue named 400 reasons to rethink, featuring an interview with Stina Lyles and Per-Åke Byström’s collage of 400 women composers on the front cover.
On the International Women’s Day a longer interview with the Kvast president was published in the Norwegian Ballade (ballade.no).
The journal Tonsättaren published an interview with Kvast’s president in a special feature issue on repertoire renewal in October.
On account of the poor gender equality at the Nobel Price celebrations and the Nobel concert in particular, Kvast’s president Stina Lyles was interviewed in Kulturnytt in P1, a feature that had great impact (and which emanated from a Facebook post).
Kvast was also mentioned in The Guardian in November.
The Kvast website
The Kvast website has during the year been continuously developed and updated, often with news, links and composer presentations several times a week.
Number of composer presentations with a short biography and picture increased during the year from 688 to comprise 715 composers, which makes the Kvast website (kvast.org) world leading and of high interest for concert organisers, musicians, researchers, schools, media and many others.
During the year of activity the Kvast website (including RepertoarBanken, which was re-launched as a separate website in the end of May) has had 20 100 unique visitors (in average 675 per month, or closer to 55 visitors per day) and 36 266 page views.
During the year the Kvast website has published 70 news features.
The page that lists the Kvast member’s premiere performances during 2013 comprises 43 works.
Basic information about Kvast is available on a number of English webpages and has been supplemented with texts about The Repertoire Jolt, as well as the Annual Report of 2012.
The Kvast web shop was launched in October, with an online payment solution for member fees and ordering of the poster “Look Further”.
Kvast now presents 985 works in the database RepertoarBanken (The Repertoire Bank, kvast.org/repertoar), with the main categories Orchestra – Larger Ensemble – Smaller Ensemble – Chamber Music – Solo Works – Vocal Music – Choir – Opera – EAM/Live Electronic – Sound Art – Other. The database also allows searches for duration.
At the turn of the year, the Facebook page had 480 likes/followers (2012: 250), some weeks with an outreach to 2 500 people. 133 posts (closer to 3 posts per week) were made during the year, with many of them collaterally published as news on the Kvast website.
Collaboration between Kvast and the Italian organisation Fondazione Adkins Chiti/Donne In Musica in the EU project WIMUST (Women in Music Uniting Strategies for Talent) – where Kvast was elected as honorary member in 2012 – has continued. Apart from allowing participation in the project, the membership gives access to an international network, joint influence in impingement work towards the European Parliament and other EU institutions, as well as an indirect membership in UNESCO.
Alexandra Nilsson participated in the WIMUST project’s third conference in Fiuggi between 4-7th of July 2013. The membership in the project and network also means that Kvast can suggest two of its members yearly for a scholarship stay in Fiuggi (for three months) and a concert series with three to five concerts in Italy respectively. For 2014 Kvast has (in December) nominated Farangis Nurulla-Khoja and Lei Feng Johansson.
Anna-Lena Laurin was in Fiuggi as a scholarship holder during the autumn 2013.
Kvast has had continuous contact with women composers and gender equality participants in the Nordic music scene, especially in Norway and Denmark, to explore possible collaborations, particularly so with Kvinder i musik (DK).
Seminars, conferences, concerts, representations
In May Eva Sidén participated in the sonorous seminar “Art music from a women’s perspective now and then” with subsequent panel discussion. Florence Launay, France, presented her doctoral thesis Les Compositrices en France au XIXe siècle, where she proceeds from Louise Farrenc. Helena Söderman Bohlin and Erica Södersten organised the sonorous seminar and put together the concert with works by French women composers. Two Swedes were also featured on the programme: Helena Munktell and Svea Welander.
Tebogo Monnakgotla participated in a panel debate in Uppsala in May, arranged by Allmänna sången with the occasion of their 50-year jubilee as mixed choir.
Ylva Q Arkvik participated in the Nordic Orchestra Conference in Malmö in September, and was invited by Svensk Scenkonst for a meeting with the Swedish symphony orchestra directors.
Kristina Aspeqvist participated in the conference Du är Queen in Umeå in October. Paula af Malmborg Ward participated in Kultur in Väst’s arrangement for gathering gender equality participants in the music scene, within the project Spotlight Väst, together with Ladyfest Göteborg and Impra Väst in November.
Stina Lyles participated in the celebrations of Svensk Scenkonst’s 70-year jubilee at Konserthuset in December, and at Föreningen Svenska Tonsättare’s Christmas dinner in Stockholm.
Alexandra Nilsson will participate in the opening ceremony for the concert series Femme konserter at Kulturhuset in Stockholm.
Per-Åke Byström attended a seminar with Vanja Hermele at Kungliga Musikhögskolan arranged by Normkritiska gruppen and the student union.
Ylva Q Arkvik participated in Göteborgssymfonikerna’s season premiere social at Konserthuset in Stockholm, and Svensk Konst’s concluding reception for the Spela Jämnt project.
Kvast has during the year applied and received funding for organisational activity and specific projects from Helge Axelsson Johnsons stiftelse and Statens Musikverk. An application was also made for Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien (Royal Swedish Academy of Music), but unfortunately without result.
Kvast has participated in network meetings for knowledge and experience exchange for women and gender equality organisations in the music scene coordinated by Statens Musikverk. Kvast has also had contact and dialogue with other similar associations with the purpose of strengthening others as well as ourselves and to develop our network. We have especially prioritised associations with orientation towards youth and younger composers and musicians.
Since the annual meeting of 2013 the number of members have increased from 103 to more than 120. 80 of our present members are composers (of which 11 are men).