American women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. In 2020, the New York Philharmonic introduced Project 19 — a multi-season initiative to commission and premiere 19 new works by 19 women composers — the largest women-only commissioning initiative in history.



Project 19 was born of the conviction that an orchestra can participate in conversations about social imperatives and even change the status quo. Through Project 19, the Philharmonic can mark a “tectonic shift in American culture,” said Deborah Borda — the NY Phil’s President and CEO when the project was announced — by giving women composers a platform and catalyzing representation in classical music and beyond. Project 19 launched in February 2020 with the first six World Premieres, with more works premiered throughout the 2021–22 and 2022–23 seasons. In 2023–24, works by Olga Neuwirth, Melinda Wagner, and Mary Kouyoumdjian will be unveiled.



Upcoming Events

April 18–20, 2024

Olga Neuwirth and Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony

Thomas Søndergård conducts Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony, Lili Boulanger, and Olga Neuwirth.

May 10, 2024

Sound ON

In this exciting series of contemporary music, we dive into a World Premiere by Mary Kouyoumdjian.

The Composers

Won Philharmonic’s Kravis Prize for New Music

Unsuk Chin

Writes music as documentary to explore conflict

Mary Kouyoumdjian

Pushes vocal boundaries

Joan La Barbara

Named Dance Theatre of Harlem’s first music director

Tania León

The Composers

Won Philharmonic’s Kravis Prize for New Music

Unsuk Chin

Writes music as documentary to explore conflict

Mary Kouyoumdjian

Pushes vocal boundaries

Joan La Barbara

Named Dance Theatre of Harlem’s first music director

Tania León

Writes for video games, vintage games, karaoke tapes

Nicole Lizée

Inspired by scientific phenomena, visual art, languages

Caroline Mallonee

Influenced by Lower East Side activist upbringing

Jessie Montgomery

Writes for accordions, robots, toys, electronics

Angélica Negrón

Writes for video games, vintage games, karaoke tapes

Nicole Lizée

Inspired by scientific phenomena, visual art, languages

Caroline Mallonee

Influenced by Lower East Side activist upbringing

Jessie Montgomery

Writes for accordions, robots, toys, electronics

Angélica Negrón

First woman commissioned by Vienna Staatsoper

Olga Neuwirth

Empowers female, trans, and non-binary composers

Paola Prestini

Won 2019 Pulitzer Prize / co-founded Luna Lab

Ellen Reid

Has won Grammy Awards in multiple genres

Maria Schneider

First woman commissioned by Vienna Staatsoper

Olga Neuwirth

Empowers female, trans, and non-binary composers

Paola Prestini

Won 2019 Pulitzer Prize / co-founded Luna Lab

Ellen Reid

Has won Grammy Awards in multiple genres

Maria Schneider

Youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music

Caroline Shaw

Writing an opera about Hildegard von Bingen

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Listens to landscapes and nature

Anna Thorvaldsdottir

First woman to win the Grawemeyer Award

Joan Tower

Youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music

Caroline Shaw

Writing an opera about Hildegard von Bingen

Sarah Kirkland Snider

Listens to landscapes and nature

Anna Thorvaldsdottir

First woman to win the Grawemeyer Award

Joan Tower

Third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music

Melinda Wagner

Writes music that appeals and challenges

Nina C. Young

Won Pulitzer Prize for human trafficking allegory

Du Yun

Third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music

Melinda Wagner

Writes music that appeals and challenges

Nina C. Young

Won Pulitzer Prize for human trafficking allegory

Du Yun

Watch & Listen

Videos

“It makes me absolutely joyful and very honored.” Hear from the composers themselves.

WATCH

Playlist

Get to know the music of the Project 19 composers by checking out this Spotify playlist.

LISTEN

The Project 19 Poetry Book

Readings of some of the poetry co-commissioned with the Academy of American Poets.

READ

Lead support for Project 19 is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, and Oscar L. Tang and H.M. Agnes Hsu-Tang.

Generous support is also provided by Sheree A. and Gerald L. Friedman; Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts; The Hauser Foundation; Daniel M. Healy; The Gerald L. Lennard Foundation; Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa; Kimberly V. Strauss, The Strauss Foundation; the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation; and an anonymous donor.

Project 19 is supported in part by a generous grant from the American Orchestras’ Futures Fund, a program of the League of American Orchestras made possible by funding from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

Programs are made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Project 19 partners include The 19th, the Academy of American Poets, Catalyst, Google Arts & Culture, The Juilliard School, Kaufman Music Center’s Special Music School High School (M. 859), League of Women Voters of the City of New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New-York Historical Society.

The New York Philharmonic is a founding member of the Women’s Suffrage NYC Centennial Consortium, a collaboration of cultural organizations citywide that foregrounds exhibitions and programs that, together, offer a multi-dimensional picture of the history of women’s suffrage and its lasting, ongoing impact.