On Wednesday, June 12th, a special concert entitled ‘ComposHER’ was celebrated at the EartH Theatre (Evolutionary Arts Hackney, London, UK), highlighting, showcasing, and celebrating women composers for film, TV, and video games.
Stella Lungu attended the event and has written this article for SoundTrackFest.
June 12 brought with it a special evening. A special and important evening. An evening celebrating the work of some of the most brilliant contemporary female composers for film, TV, and video games.
Organized by Manners McDade, ComposHER showcased work from composers Carly Paradis, Jessica Jones, Anne Nikitin, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Kate Simko, Jessica Curry, Jocelyn Pook, Nainita Desai, Imogen Heap, Alev Lenz, Claire M Singer, and Amelia Warner, most of the performances being either introduced or accompanied by the composers themselves. Their music was masterfully performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra conducted by Hugh Brunt and included performances by SHE Choir and EERA.
The event sought not only to showcase the work of these 12 incredible composers but also to inspire the next generation of female composers and ultimately make this area of the industry as inclusive as possible for future generations.
With staggering stats revealing that only 1% of the composers hired to work on the top 100 fiction films at the US box office between 2007 and 2017 were female, it is crucial now more than ever to break the glass ceiling in the industry once and for all.
The lovely EartH Theatre in London proved to be a most fitting venue for this occasion and boasted a full house of visual media music enthusiasts.
Unfortunately, Jessica Curry and Imogen Heap were not able to make it, although both of them sent short messages for the audience.
After a short introduction by Hugh Brunt (London Contemporary Orchestra) and Harriet Moss (Manners McDade), the concert commenced with a few pieces by Claire M Singer (Music from ‘Tell It To The Bees’, directed by Annabel Jankel and awarded BCN Festival Castell de Peralada Award For Best Music), Alev Lenz (‘Fall Into Me’ from the ‘Black Mirror’ episode ‘Hated In The Nation’) and Nainita Desai (Music from ‘Untamed Romania’, nominated for Best Film Score at the GOPO Romania Film Awards and music from the upcoming video game ‘Telling Lies’).
Having been a composer for over two decades, Nainita was excited to hear her music played live for the very first time. We hope that this is only the beginning and that we shall get to hear her exquisite and emotional music live more often.
Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch and Anne Nikitin were then introduced by Edith Bowman. Edith is the host of Soundtracking, a weekly podcast where she chats with directors, actors, writers, producers and composers. This week’s episode features Carly Paradis, Amelia Warner, and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, where you can find out more about the composers’ work.
Emilie and Anne both performed at the piano and the audience had a chance to listen to some of the music Emilie wrote for ‘Only You’ (Harry Wootliff’s debut feature, nominated for a Sutherland Award for First Feature Competition at the London Film Festival, 2018) and ‘Found God’, which Anne wrote for the BBC series ‘Mrs Wilson’ (starring and Executive Produced by Ruth Wilson).
Jessica Curry’s ‘I Have Begun My Ascent’ from the video game ‘Dear Esther’ was a hauntingly beautiful successor to Emilie’s soft piano pieces.
After the interval, the audience was greeted by SHE Choir (a collaborative women’s pop choir based in London), which performed Imogen Heap’s ethereal ‘Hide & Seek’.
Jenna Fentimen (Women Composers Forum) and Thomas Mikusz (Alliance for Women Film Composers) addressed their mission to increase inclusion and visibility of women composers in film music, TV, and video games, stressing that the organizations they represent are not strictly for women composers, but that men can get involved as well.
They then introduced the following three composers and their beautiful music: Jocelyn Pook (music from ‘The Wife’), Jessica Jones (playing music from an upcoming BBC production) and Kate Simko (‘Dark Delirium’ and ‘Moving Forward’ from ’20 Weeks’).
Chandler Poling of White Bear PR got up on stage and introduced the last two composers of the evening: Amelia Warner, whose elegant music from ‘Mary Shelly’ was nominated at the World Soundtrack Awards for ‘Discovery of the Year’, and Carly Paradis, who performed music from the Netflix Original ‘The Innocents’ (featuring EERA), which won a Hollywood Music in Media Award, as well as music from BBC hit drama ‘Line of Duty’ (the soundtrack was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award).
The programme ended quite appropriately with the familiar ‘Line of Duty Finale’, which some of the guests ended up humming on their way out of the theatre.
Through their sheer talent, skill and comprehensive range of stylistic voices, intertwining classical composition with electronic sounds, vocal performance and sound effects, these incredible women prove time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with.
It’s time to put the spotlight on women composers. It’s time to balance the gender equality scales. It’s time for change.
This event was organized with the support of Spitfire Audio, ASCAP, P&G, Manners McDade, Production Music Awards, WMP Studios, Alliance for Women Film Composers, Art Council England, Women Composers’ Forum, Free The Bid, NFTS, shesaid.so, SHE Choir and LCO.
Article by Stella Lungu