A campaign for more diverse and equitable programming.

Break The Sound Barrier is a campaign to combat the gender gap in classical music.

In the 2016-2017 seasons of the 85 major and regional American orchestras, only 1.3% of works programmed were by women. You might think that’s because there have historically been so few female composers — but even among works by living composers, these works still only accounted for 10.3%.

Things won’t change unless women’s music is heard, and heard consistently. If music by women is played more often, people will come to love and champion it the same way they do Brahms and Beethoven. 

The charge is on ensembles and audiences alike — we must demand better for the future of music.

Why Break The Sound Barrier?

Despite myriad articles in high-profile publications (The New Yorker, NPR, the New York Times), pipeline initiatives like the Kaufmann Center’s Luna Lab, the Young Women’s Composers Camp, National Sawdusts's Hildegard Competition, and top-down support from the League of American Orchestra’s own Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program — to name just a few — orchestral and operatic programming remains overwhelmingly male. From 2014-2017, the Baltimore Symphony tracked the seasons of major and regional US orchestras, and works by women consistently made up less than 2% of pieces performed, and remained around 10% when accounting for living composers only. This must change. We cannot go another several centuries ignoring the meaningful contributions women are making in music.

Why Now?

We’re living in a time of unprecedented digital and feminist activism. Last year saw the surge of the #HearAllComposers hashtag on twitter. Break The Sound Barrier is here to provide much-needed and timely resources to continue this work. Download a letter template and send it to your orchestra, or one across the country. Call your opera up on the phone and follow a script if you’re not sure what to say. Tweet. Retweet. Share. Demand better for the future of music!