Project 19: Celebrating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment

a project partially sponsored by the lwv of new york

100 years ago, American women gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 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,” says President and CEO Deborah Borda, 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. The Orchestra will premiere the remaining commissions in future seasons.

With previously scheduled events cancelled until June 13, 2021, the New York Philharmonic continues Project 19November 9–12, 2020, with online activities culminating with the broadcast of three orchestral works premiered by Jaap van Zweden and the Orchestra in February 2020.

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.

Women poets of Project 19
Women Poets of Project 19

Project 19 is the New York Philharmonic’s multi-season initiative to commission and premiere new works by 19 women composers, from Pulitzer Prize winners to emerging talents, to mark the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Launched in February 2020, Project 19 is the single largest women-only commissioning initiative in history. As part of the project, the Academy of American Poets has partnered with the Philharmonic to commission nineteen new poems by award-winning poets Elizabeth AlexanderEllen BassKimberly BlaeserMahogany L. BrowneClaudia Castro LunaTina ChangMarilyn ChinNatalie DiazRita DoveBrenda HillmanLinda GregersonJoy LadinAda LimónAimee NezhukumatathilAlicia OstrikerPaisley RekdalEvie ShockleyMaggie Smith, and Mai Der Vang.

Read their work HERE.

In February, 2020, NPR featured a story on Project 19 and some of the women artists involved. Listen to and watch some of their work.

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