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Women Make Music

Brass Bands wouldn't exist without women and yet barely any music is ever performed that has been written by a woman, very few female conductors exist, hardly any women adjudicate brass band competitions. It's a situation that is persists largely without question.

We've a proud tradition of regularly performing contemporary original music for brass so we're going to start to address this gender imbalance by increasing the amount of music we play composed and arranged by women. It's not much, but someone's got to start somewhere.

If you're a composer or student who wants to write original music for brass band and wants to hear your music performed or want to know more about this initiative, please contact
See: Women Make Music for more information, and the list of Women Composers & Arrangers for brass band, below.

Why do this?

A member of our Band commented: "I can't really see the problem, no one's stopping women writing music are they?". Reading the evidence from the Performing Right's Society (PRS) report into why female representation in music composition is so low gives us an insight:

"The perception of most interviewed artists is that the music industry is still very male dominated. This is particularly the case 'behind the scenes' in production, where women creators are often working in all male environments. This can mean needing to work and push much harder to get your voice heard. Linked to this, the lack of strong female role models and recognition of what women do and have achieved in music in the past, is a real issue in terms of shaping the ambitions and confidence of young women entering the industry." - PRS Women Make Music Evaluation Report 2011 - 2016
[click here for a copy of the report]

We don't actually know if the brass band movement mirrors the music industry as a whole but a cursory review of our own experience tells us it probably is. Until recently our committee was never led by a women, all our adjudicators for all our contests have been male, we've only ever performed one piece in competition written by a women, virtually all the panels that pick competition pieces are male, the two main media outlets for brass bands are run exclusively by men and there are hardly any women conductors. Look through our music pads and there'll be almost no music written by a woman and listen to brass band music programmes and women's voices are rarely heard. Conversations we've had with women composers have identified childcare and lack of confidence as issues. Conversely, when we performed 18 year old Ruth Mellor's composition at our Women Make Music launch she told us it gave her a massive confidence boost.

Women are well represented in brass banding but their contribution is rarely recognised, visible and celebrated. Most bands wouldn't function without the work of women committee members, brass band competitions are kept going by women nearly always tucked away out of the limelight behind the scenes doing vital administrative jobs, women are looking after children whilst their husbands play and 50% of the audiences are female.

But it's much more than trying to reduce a gender imbalance. The reason is that if we're wasting the talent of so many people who could be composing brilliant music for brass bands our audiences are losing out and so is the brass band movement.

Our initiative has two objectives:
  • to give women the confidence to compose brilliant music for brass band
  • to showcase compositions by female composers to our audiences
Please follow our progress by following us on Facebook and Twitter

Part of the mission of the International Women's Brass Conference is to encourage and promote the creation of new music by women composers. To further this goal, the organization regularly funds commissions projects and also strives to create performance opportunities for these new works, which has included music for brass band.

Some women composers and arrangers for brass band

If you have any additions to this list, or comments, please email them to Gavin Holman (

Elaine Agnew

Little Christmas
Katie Bell On the Move
arr: Simple Gifts (Lord Of The Dance)
arr: Christmas Compendium
Judith Bingham (1952-) Prague
Brazil - A Souvenir
Four Minute Mile
Stars Above: the Earth Below
These are our Footsteps
Evangeline Booth (1865-1950) Streams in the Desert, arr. Eric Ball
Love is All
Songs of the Evangel
Anne Boyd (1946-) Missa Pacifica : for soprano, large choir, brass band and organ (2008)
May H. Brahe (1884-1956) Down Here
I Passed by your Window
Bless This House, arr. Helen Taylor
Helen May Butler (1867-1957) Cosmopolitan America March
Cheryl Camm

Destination 6574 (1984)
Anita Cocker-Hunt I Do Believe
Barbara Croall

Zaagi 'idiwin Nagamon (Love Song) - A singing landscape for brass band and pipigwan soloist
Jessica Curry The Durham Hymns
Kirsty Devaney Fanfare for Gosport
Helen Douthwaite Celtic Lullaby
Song for Malik - Tenor Horn Solo
arr. Flow Gently Sweet Afton (A. Hume)
Alice G. Edwards (1878-1958) The Lord Will Be Gracious
Estelle Flood Somewhere in Time
arr: Karelia (Sibelius)
arr. Brown Bird Singing (H. Wood)
arr. Dies Irae (G. Verdi)
arr. Dream of Olwyn (Charles Williams)
arr. Just The Way You Are
Dorothy Freed
Aquarius March for Brass Band (1971)
Nancy Galbraith

with brightness round about it (2002)
Washington's Landing (2006)
Luminosity (2008)
Euphonic Blues for Brass (2013)
Dorothy Gates (1966-) Anointing
Cantad a Jehova
Feliz Navidad
Festive Preludium on Falcon Street
Give me Jesus
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Hallelujah Variations
I'm Pressing On
Jesus is my Lord
Jesus paid it all
Lord, Reign in Me
Sleep Little Jesus
Sweet Communion
Take the Name of Jesus with you
War Cry
Wexford Carol
arr. America the Beautiful (S.A. Ward)
arr. At the name of Jesus (J.M. Brierley)
arr. Find us Faithfull (John Mohr)
arr. Hallelujah (G.F. Handel)
arr. I'm in His Hands (Stanley Ditmer)
arr. Our God Reigns (Leonard Smith)
arr. Philippians 4:6 (Bobby McFerrin)
arr. See What a Morning (Keith Getty)
arr. Shepherd's Pipe Carol (J. Rutter)
arr. Silent Night (Franz Gruber)
arr. Ye Merry Gentlemen (Thomas Mack)
Evelyn Glennie

A Little Prayer
Sally Greenaway

Cirque du Brasse'air (2011)
Irena Grieg (1962-) Lux Aeterna
Emily Hall Inframundo - A manuscript copy exists in the library of the Bedford Town Band
Judith Hayes

arr. Gesu Bambino (Pietro Yon)
arr. Forres Cradle Song (James Scott Skinner)
arr. Meditation from Thais (horn solo)
Mongolian Folk Tune
arr, Gabriella's Song from "As it is in Heaven" (Stefan Nilsson)
Brazilian Festival
Irish Lament and Jig
arr. How Far is it to Bethlehem?
arr. I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In
Up on the House Top
Agnes Heathcote (1862-?) Jesus come with Peace
Jesus is near, burdens to bear
I'll Follow Thee
Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-47) Gartenlieder op.3
Imogen Holst (1907-1984) The Unfortunate Traveller (1930)
Emily Howard

Pimpanit Karoonyavanich

A Journey to The Bermuda Triangle
Liz Lane

Surtaal Symphony (2017) - for brass band, bhangra band and soprano
Innovation 216 (2016)
Slate, Sea and Sky (2016)
Their Songs of Freedom (2015)
Silver Rose (2014)
Antiphonary (2013)
Diamond Fanfare (2012)
arr. The Lord's Prayer from African Sanctus, by David Fanshawe (2006)
Libby Larsen

Fanfare for a Learned Man (arr. Judson Scott)
Rebecca Lundberg Pater Noster (Our Father) - cornet/flugel solo
Anne McGinty (1945-)

Arlington Overture
American Folk Songs Suite
Eileen Mehegan Dream Waltz: Lovely Lucerne (c.1920)
Ruth Mellor
arr. Hymn of Acxiom (by Vienna Teng)
Katie Moss
The Floral Dance, arr: Derek Broadbent
Kelly Marie Murphy

Drumming the Plain, the Horseman is Coming (1992)
Hartford Accident and Indemnity (2004)
The Reanimation of Forsters Corpse
Thea Musgrave (1928-)

Variations for Brass Band
Lynda Nicholson
arr. Christmas Lullaby (French traditional)
arr. The Sleigh Race (Alfred Caldicott)
Celestine Oliphant (1863-1941) O Far Whiter than the Snow
All the Waters of the Sea
Lucy Pankhurst

Abrazo - cornet solo
Alchemists' Fire
Aria - His Depth, part of "Diversions After Benjamin Britten: Four Centenary Tributes for Brass Band"
Broken Mantra
Concerto for Tenor Horn
Dance, Dance
Heed The Word!
In Pitch Black
Journey Home
Midnight (euph solo)
Mr Sonneman's Unusual Solution
Once in Never
Resplendence - cornet solo
Shining Stars
Th'owfen Raconteurs
3 Minute Warning
Voices in Memoriam
+ various arrangements
Chelsea Pascoe Light Song
The Living Water!
Prayer Gently Lifts Me
arr. Spirit Song (John Wimber)
arr. Through the Fair (flugel solo)
Lynsey Paterson A Caledonian Fanfare
Emily Peasgood

Collective Spirit - The Boat Project
Helen Perkin
Cordell Suite
Island Heritage
Three Pieces
Laura Pettigrew

Tranquilllitas Amini
A Terra
Andrea Price
March - Spirit of Victory
Eire Time (euphonium solo)
Enter The Dance (tenor horn solo)
Out of Shadows (euphonium solo)
Scarborough Fair (marimba/xylophone solo)
Fling (xylophone solo)
A New Day (baritone solo)
Lauren Redhead

Dalton, Retold (2013)
Teresa del Riego
O Dry Those Tears, arr: William Moore
Rhian Samuel

Elena Ruehr

The Voyage Out (1995) (arr. Judson Scott)
Amanda Sandberg
Fronten Kallar!
Alex Shapiro

Papercut (arr. Judson Scott)
Liz Sharma

Dance of the Blessed Spirits (Gluck)
Dance of the Groovy Spirits
Fanfare for a Celebration
Finale of Concerto Grosso
Memories and Myths
Night Spirits
Stormy Weather
Summer Journey
The Oak and the Ash
Water Birds
Naomi Styles

Dance of the Troglodytes
Pachamama (Mother Earth)
arr. Libertango (by Piazzolla)
arr. Christmas Jig
arr. Infant King
arr. Merry Christmas Everyone (Shakin' Stevens)
arr. Sing Lullaby (by Herbert Howells)
arr. Let it Snow (cornet solo)
arr. For those in Peril on the Sea
arr, Have I told you Lately (by Van Morrison)
arr. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
arr. Ol' Man River (by Jerome Kern)
arr. If I were a rich man
arr. One for my Baby (and one more for the Road)
arr. God Save the Queen
arr. What's This? (by Danny Elfman)
arr. When Santa Got Stuck Up the Chimney
arr. The Lamb (by John Taverner)
arr. "Tum-te-tum" Cameron
Hilary Tann

All the Moon Long
Phyllis Tate
Illustrations for Brass Band
Louisa Trewartha

You Stood and Watched Me Trembling
Bass Tuba Concerto
Heuristic Brassing
Joan Trimble
Erin Go Bragh (1943)
Joy Webb
Share My Yoke (arr. Bosanko)
Maude Valerie White
To Mary (cornet solo)
Margaret Lucy Wilkins

Epistola da San Marco (1987)
Amanda Wilkinson
Elements of Fire
Amy Woodforde-Finden
Four Indian Love Lyrics
Pagoda Of Flowers - arr. Sydney Herbert
Temple Bells - arr. M. Williams

Some male composers have used female pseudonyms for some of their works. E.g. "Heather Dene" was William Rimmer, and "Lilian Raymond" was James Ord Hume