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Project 19 Returns, Online

One hundred years ago this year women finally secured the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and many of their voices could finally be heard. To mark the centennial of that achievement, in February 2020 the New York Philharmonic launched Project 19, the initiative commissioning new works by 19 women composers, and partnering with other New York and national organizations.

With this season’s concerts cancelled and, therefore, many Project 19 premieres postponed, we invite you to join our suffrage celebration online, November 9–12, beginning with Philharmonic performance audio and culminating in a video broadcast, all shared free with audiences worldwide:

Melinda Wagner and Joan Tower, an audio broadcast of past Philharmonic performances of earlier works by two Project 19 composers: Melinda Wagner’s Trombone Concerto, with Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi as soloist, conducted by Lorin Maazel (performed in 2007, broadcast courtesy of Bridge Records, Inc.), and Joan Tower’s Sequoia, conducted by Zubin Mehta (1982) — Nov 9

Now Is the Moment: Women’s Advancement in the Arts, Business, and Beyond, a panel discussion, co-presented with Project 19 partner Catalyst, exploring women’s experiences across sectors and how current events have shaped the conversation. The participants are Philharmonic President & CEO Deborah Borda; Catalyst President & CEO Lorraine Hariton; National Board Chair and President of Women in Sports and Events Kathleen Francis; Project 19 composer Sarah Kirkland Snider; and, as moderator, Magalie Laguerre-Wilkinson, Vice President of News Programming at Nickelodeon and Executive Producer of Nick News — Nov 10

Women Pioneers of the NY Phil, an archival exhibit exploring some of the women who played pivotal roles in the New York Philharmonic’s history, presented in partnership with Google Arts & Culture — Nov 10

Poetry readings of some of the 19 poems co-commissioned by the Philharmonic and the Academy of American Poets as part of Project 19, received by the poets themselves — Mahogany L. Browne, Marilyn Chin, Natalie Diaz, and Linda Gregerson — Nov 11

Nina C. Young, Tania León, and Ellen Reid, a video broadcast of the three Project 19 World Premieres that Music Director Jaap van Zweden and the Orchestra performed in February 2020, complemented by brief profiles of each of the composers, as Facebook and YouTube Premieres  available beginning Nov 12

It’s an immersive exploration of the rising chorus of women’s voices. Join us!

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. 853), League of Women Voters of the City of New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New-York Historical Society.

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

Archives Exhibit on Phil’s First Woman Honors Project 19

New York Philharmonic Archives Exhibit 'The Special Case of Steffy Goldner'

If you find yourself in or near David Geffen Hall this week, do not miss The Special Case of Steffy Goldner, a media installation by artist Nives Widauer and the New York Philharmonic Archives.

This 20th century harp case, used in the Philharmonic's first tour to Europe in 1930, belonged to Stephanie "Steffy" Goldner, the first woman member of the New York Philharmonic. As part of Project 19, the Philharmonic’s celebration of the centennial of the 19th amendment, the Archives teamed up with Widauer to put Steffy in the spotlight, using the harp case as a platform to tell her story.

New York Philharmonic Director, Archives and Exhibitions Gabryel Smith, President and CEO Deborah Borda, Doris Balant (Steffy Goldner's niece), Composer Nina C. Young, and Nives Wildauer pose in front of 'The Special Case of Steffy Goldner'

In the above photo, taken during the February 5 concert, are Gabryel Smith, Director, Archives and Exhibitions; President and CEO Deborah Borda; Doris Balant, Steffy Goldner's niece; composer Nina C. Young, whose Project 19 commission was receiving its World Premiere; and Nives Widauer. (Photo: Chris Lee)

You can see The Special Case of Steffy Goldner at David Geffen Hall on the Grand Promenade during Philharmonic concerts, now through February 22. The case will then go on tour, starting at the Austrian Cultural Forum in Washington, D.C. in March and April 2020.

Discover Steffy's story

Project 19 Profile: Ellen Reid

Here is the third in a series of video profiles of Project 19 composers created by women filmmakers. Filmmaker Carole Ann Wright profiles Ellen Reid — the third composer whose work the Orchestra is premiering as part of Project 19, the Philharmonic’s celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment through 19 commissions by women composers.

Reid talks about the physicality of her writing process and the images — a golden arrow and momentum — she had in mind for her Philharmonic commission. “I’m a five-foot tall woman, so the fact that I think my emotions belong on that stage is a political statement,” she says. “I went very personal and wrote about my emotional landscape for the past year.”

The New York Philharmonic will premiere Ellen Reid’s When the World as You’ve Known It Doesn’t Exist, led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, February 20–22.

Watch the first two videos, profiling Nina C. Young and Tania León.

Project 19 Profile: Tania León

Here is the second in a series of video profiles of Project 19 composers created by women filmmakers.

In Carolina Méndez’s profile of Tania León — the second composer whose work the Orchestra is premiering as part of Project 19, the Philharmonic’s celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment through 19 commissions by women composers — León welcomes the viewer to her home on the Hudson (“I was born on an island, and my spirit needs water … to quiet my soul”) and inside the composition process of her new work, Stride, written in memory of Susan B. Anthony (“In my imagination I saw this woman from a century ago moving forward like nobody’s business.”)

The New York Philharmonic premieres Tania León’s Stride, led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, February 13, 15, and 18.

Watch the first video, profiling Nina C. Young.

Video Profile of Project 19 Composer Nina C. Young

The Philharmonic has launched a series of Project 19 composer portraits by women filmmakers. View the first video in the series: Veena Rao’s profile of Nina C. Young — the first composer whose work the New York Philharmonic premiered as part of Project 19, the Orchestra’s celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment through 19 commissions by women composers.

Young, whose piece just kicked off Project 19, takes the viewer inside the composition process of her new work, Tread softly, inspired by the advances and setbacks of the women’s suffrage movement and women composers today. The title comes from the Yeats poem The Cloths of Heaven, which concludes: “Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

The New York Philharmonic will reprise Nina C. Young’s Tread softly, led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, February 8 and 11.

New York Philharmonic’s Project 19 Toasted at Reception at New-York Historical Society

Women composers commissioned by the New York Philharmonic as part of Project 19

Pulitzer Prize–winning composers rubbed shoulders with journalists and sponsors at last night’s reception toasting Project 19 — the Philharmonic’s initiative to commission and premiere 19 new works by women composers in honor of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The reception took place at the New-York Historical Society, where guests met 12 Project 19 composers and explored the Society’s Women’s Voices digital instillation, revealing the hidden connections among exceptional and unknown women who left their mark on New York and the nation.

The photo above contains (left to right) Jessie Montgomery, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Joan Tower, Angélica Negrón, Joan La Barbara, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Tania León, Ellen Reid, Caroline Mallonee, and Paola Prestini. President and CEO Deborah Borda is at far right. (Not pictured: Project 19 composer Du Yun.)

The single largest women-only commissioning initiative in history, Project 19 launches in February 2020 with the premieres of the first six commissions. Visit for more information.

(Photo: Chris Lee)