Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned

by Heather Fetrow

DC

Soprano Heather Fetrow and pianist Mila Henry embark on Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned, an aural tribute to both female and male composers who illuminated the voices of women through song. Conceived as a full-length album and concert series, our project supports the notion that men and women deserve to receive equal billing. Despite years of progress, the voices of women are still marginalized in social, economic and cultural platforms. Voices of Women unlocks the door to female composers past and present, featuring songs that reflect the female psyche in genres ranging from pre-classical to contemporary.

In his article "There's a good reason why there are no great female composers", Damian Thompson cites that musical genius is very rare to begin with, so without encouragement (or expectation) of any genius at all, women of potential have simply been left behind; therefore, there have been female composers of great genius unable to break the glass ceiling that their male counterparts far exceeded. While there were women who came close (Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, the Boulanger sisters), unfair comparisons often prevented them from being fully discovered. In Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned, the music of female composers and their male cohorts emerges from the parlor walls and into the larger conversation.

Heather and Mila first met as colleagues (music director and pianist) at New York's Christ Church United Methodist, and their kindred spirits led to a recital collaboration for the Mallery Concert Series at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Heather's voice "sparkles like a fine wine" (Angels Vocal Art Festival) with "clear, confident singing" (NJ Classical), whether portraying Mozart heroines or showcasing her musicianship in more modern compositions. Lauded for her "sublime" playing (Feast of Music) and heralding orchestral scores of "incredible range and color" (OperaPulse), Mila is an integral member of New York's contemporary opera community, specializing in music theater projects and vocal chamber music.

Voices of Women will be recorded in two phases over the course of 2017-18 at the Strathmore Mansion, located at the exquisite Strathmore Music Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The album will be released on the Affetto label (and recorded by a NAXOS-affiliated engineer), with hopes to produce the program in concert settings, recital series, women's groups and universities. The album will be considered for release on the NAXOS label in 2018.

In order to facilitate the creation of Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned, we need to achieve a target goal of $10,000. This amount would cover the full fee for our sound engineer and the fees associated with our space rental at the Strathmore Mansion.

Our stretch goal is $15,000, which would cover both costs previously mentioned as well as artist fees, basic marketing, and complimentary access to our album through digital downloads and/or donated CDs targeted at groups that advance and protect women's voices (i.e. shelters, women's studies departments, women's rights groups, female-specific arts organizations, etc.).

If we exceed our stretch goal, ALL of the above would be covered, and all additional funds would go towards the commission of a new song by a female composer.

THANK YOU for your interest in our project, and for helping the Voices of Women be heard!

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