Feminism and gender equality have been cornerstones of my creative practice and research interests since 2015. Though ideas of female empowerment and feminist thought can be traced back to at least the late eighteenth century, the past few years have brought renewed attention to these issues. Movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up have leveraged the power of social media to put sexual harassment front and center. First brought to light by a few brave women in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, the cultural reckoning quickly spread to politics, the media, and all other levels of society. Of course, sexual harassment is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg—albeit a particularly deplorable one; other issues such as equal pay and discrimination are equally troubling and should have been remedied decades ago. In an attempt to continue the debate on gender equality, I have written a thesis and realized this project: an all-female orchestra, which will perform repertoire of female composers, conducted by a woman. In this project we will cover women in music whose voices should have been on the foreground a long time ago. We address the stereotyping of so called ‘masculine and feminine’ instruments and what it is like to be a minority—not only because of being a female musician, but also by choice of instrument.
But the steps taken before the founding of the orchestra, were not simple nor easy. It was a stressful, demanding, exciting and tiring journey. Structure, endurance and perseverance are keywords to succeed. Maybe one has to be just a tad crazy to take on a such a big project. It has been quite a challenge, but one well conquered by everyone involved. We are very excited and proud to show you that gender does not define musical capabilities.
-Eline Cote, founder