Barbara Harbach

I played for my first church service when I was nine years old. I was sufficiently tall to be able to reach the pedals. The first hymn I played was Bringing in the Sheaves, and to this day I can play it in any key. I graduated to a Hammond organ a few years later when we went to another church, and then in high school came one of the loves of my life, the pipe organ. The sound of the pipe organ still gives me a thrill, whether soft strings or drowning out the orchestra as in Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.

“I played for my first church service when I was nine … Read More

Thankfully, it is getting better for women composers. We now have five women Pulitzer Prize winners in music since 1983: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Shulamit Ran, Melinda Wagner, Jennifer Higdon, and Caroline Shaw. When Marin Alsop was asked what it felt like to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, she said, “I am exceedingly proud to be ‘the first’ but I am also a bit shocked that there can still be firsts for women in 2013!”

“Thankfully, it is getting better for women composers. We now have … Read More

Is there a gender gap in the music industry? It is true that there are more professional male music creators than female. For some reason, it’s taking a lot longer in music than in literature and the visual arts to reach equilibrium. It was almost acceptable by the 19th century for female writers to be published, yet it’s only in the last couple of decades, since about 1980, that historical female composers have really emerged.

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As all nocturnal creatures, I have a tendency to wander about during the night, embracing and relishing in its mysteriousness, unexplained sounds, and thick aura of darkness. As a pianist I was drawn to compositions with the titles of Nocturne and Notturno – from Maria Szymanowska’s Nocturne in B-flat to John Field and Frederic Chopin’s Nocturnes. The night offers a myriad array of emotions from solace to absolute horror. I tried to infuse some of these terrifying thoughts, as well as solace that only night can bring into Night Soundings.

“As all nocturnal creatures, I have a tendency to wander about … Read More