Celebrating Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a celebration and recognition of women’s invaluable impact on American history, culture, and society. Women’s History Month has been observed annually during March in the United States since 1987. This month, let us take the opportunity to celebrate women’s past and present contributions and be intentional about empowering the next generation of history-making women.

Increase your cultural awareness by learning more about the rich history of women in America:

  • Learn more about Women’s History Month here.
  • Explore 10 women who changed the classical music world forever here.
  • Discover ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month here.

Join the DSO Women’s History Month Celebration:

  • View the launch of the DSO’s virtual Women in Classical Music in Conversation series which provides a community forum and builds upon the relationships formed at the symposium. This conversation features leaders of the Dallas Symphony, including Ross Perot President & CEO Kim Noltemy; Dolores G. and Lawrence S. Barzune, M.D. Principal Guest Conductor Gemma New; Composer-in-Residence Angélica Negrón; and Wildenthal Families Vice President of Artistic Operations Katie McGuinness.  View the inaugural session here.
  • Support our newly formed Women Community group’s social impact initiative throughout the month to help women and mothers in our community! The Women Community group is accepting donations of diapers and feminine hygiene products to donate to Owenwood Farm + Neighbor Space (DSO’s 6th and newest Young Musicians site with classes starting March 28). From March 1 through March 29, you can leave donations by the lower-level security desk in the Owenwood Donations box.
    • Listen to a Spotify playlist curated by our Women Community group that pays homage to female composers, musicians, and artists in classical music here.


    Celebrating Women’s History Month

    Kim Noltemy

    Ross Perot President & CEO, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    Why is Women’s History Month important?

    It is a wonderful time to celebrate the importance of the achievements of today’s women, along with recognizing the female trailblazers who paved the way for today’s successes.

    Jenna Barghouti

    Violin, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    What modern-day female changemaker inspires you?

    The late Jorja Fleezanis was a trailblazing violinist and educator who broke barriers and paved the way for women in classical music. She was the second-ever female concertmaster of a major American orchestra and served in that role at the Minnesota Orchestra for two decades. I was lucky to have her as my professor of violin at Indiana University. Her enduring work and valuable lessons in both music and life have changed the lives of so many, including her students, colleagues, and friends.

    Dee Baker Amos

    Board of Governors, Dallas Symphony Association

    Who would you consider one of the most inspirational figures in Women’s history, and why?

    I consider prisoner #7053 – Rosa Parks, as one of the most inspirational figures in Women’s History. Her notoriety was birthed from the feeling of “I am tired, and something has to change.” Her actions reflected courage in the face of a system of hate. When faced with difficulties, I am reminded of her strength, as I can’t imagine what it took for her to take the seat and stay. Her actions remind me that I deserve a seat, and if change is needed – why not start with me.

    Ananya Desai

    Soprano, Dallas Symphony Chorus

    Why is Women’s History Month important? 

    With the historic marginalization and oppression of women being so extensive, a large amount of women’s history, art, music, and poetry has been lost, forgotten, or misattributed. Women’s History Month is an important time to bring light to this lost history, to empower those who were silenced, and to renew efforts to expand women’s rights on a national scale. 

    Jadzia James

    Guest Services, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    What modern-day female changemaker inspires you?

    Bozoma Saint John has had her hand in some of the most influential and well-known brands. What I love about her is that despite her notability, she is not a household name. I should like to call her a silent killer (epidemic) because she’s quick, she’s efficient and so very good at what she does. She’s the true definition of a boss. The black executive has been able to fight for the cause behind doors that were previously closed to her like-minded peers. She does and says what is uncomfortable but necessary to create change.

    Jacqueline Hernandez

    Soprano, Dallas Symphony Chorus

    Why is Women’s History Month important? 

    Women’s History Month is important because it highlights unique voices from the past to inspire and influence the present and future. Women’s voices have brought forth ideas and achievements that have impacted humanity, which continue to affect the world. The past must be remembered so it can be surpassed in the future. 

    Lydia Umlauf

    Violin, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    What modern-day female changemaker inspires you?

    Our Dallas Symphony CEO Kim Noltemy inspires me greatly. She has vision for music and the arts in Dallas through great leadership of the symphony and fostering a spirit of collaboration, community engagement, and education. Kim manages all of these things with a strength and grace that is truly awesome to behold. She takes time to get to know and speak to each musician personally. And she’s just really cool! A combination that is truly inspiring. 

    Martha McCarty Wells

    Board of Governors, Dallas Symphony Association

    Who would you consider one of the most inspirational figures in Women’s history, and why?

    One of the most inspirational figures in our time has been the brilliant Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Fighting discrimination in university, in law school, and in employment she persevered and became a voice for gender equality and women’s rights.

    Ayona Anderson

    DSO Young Professionals

    Who would you consider one of the most inspirational figures in Women’s history, and why?

    Ida B. Wells is one of the most inspirational figures in women’s history, our history. She significantly impacted the field of public relations and advocacy by leveraging the press to challenge inequitable systems, expose wrongdoing and promote civil rights. By using her voice, her story, her skills as a journalist, and her ability to move people to act, she blazed a trail for women in public relations and her work influences my current practices. Advocacy work is where public relations experts find their most fulfilling and life-changing impact.

    Women’s Community Group Playlist

    Curated by the Women’s Community Group of the Dallas Symphony, enjoy this playlist that pays homage to composers, musicians, and artists in classical and choral music. The Women’s Community Group is dedicated to providing support, visibility and empowerment specifically to our female DSO family members and allies of this community.

    Celebrating Women throughout the Season

    During the 2022/2023 season, the DSO stands firm in its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion through inspired programming that gives voice and space to women representing various facets of the artistic landscape, including singers, musicians, conductors, and composers.

    Susanna Phillips: Mendelssohn’s “A Symphony Cantata”

    Susanna Phillips

    Alabama native soprano Susanna Phillips continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. Ms. Phillips is a recipient of the prestigious Met Opera 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award. She’s sung at the Met Opera for 12 consecutive seasons in roles including Musetta and most recently Countess Almaviva. Role highlights include Fiordigili, which The New York Times called a “breakthrough night”, and Clémence in the company’s premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin.

    Desired by the world’s most renown orchestras, Ms. Phillips most recently opened the Oregon Symphony’s 125th Anniversary season performing Mahler’s Second Symphony. She has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Philadelphia Orchestra. She is dedicated to oratorio works with credits including Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and the Fauré and Mozart Requiems. Other career highlights include Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare and the title role of Agrippina with Boston Baroque, Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Renée Fleming, and Birdie in Blitzstein’s Regina.

    Ms. Phillips co-founded Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival in her native Huntsville, Alabama with bassoonist and Huntsville native, Matthew McDonald. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.

    Mendelssohn’s “A Symphony Cantata” Tickets

    Sari Gruber: Mendelssohn’s “A Symphony Cantata”

    Hailed as “nothing short of sensational” by Opera magazine, Sari Gruber has appeared with Lyric Opera of Chicago, NYCO, Los Angeles Opera, Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale di Firenze, Saito Kinen Festival, Seiji Ozawa’s Ongaku-Juku, Opera Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Florida Grand, Opera Pacific, OTSL, Boston Lyric, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Portland Opera, Connecticut Opera, Austin Lyric, Arizona Opera, performing her signature roles of Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro, Despina/Così fan tutte, and Musetta/La Bohème, in addition to Pamina/Zauberflöte, Norina/Don Pasquale, Adina/L’elisir d’amore, Gretel/Hänsel und Gretel, Gilda/Rigoletto, Juliette/Roméo et Juliette, Anne/Rake’s Progress, Vixen/Cunning Little Vixen, Rose/Street Scene, Alexandra/Regina, Nannetta/Falstaff, Aricie/Hippolyte et Aricie, Poppea/Agrippina, Carolina/Matrimonio Segreto, Marzelline/Fidelio, Fiordiligi/Così fan tutte, Zerlina/Don Giovanni, Adele/Fledermaus, Beth/Little Women, Lisette/Rondine, Miss Hedgehog/Fantastic Mr. Fox(World Premiere), and Helena/Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    An acclaimed recitalist and 2005 Naumburg Competition winner, Ms. Gruber has sung numerous solo recitals at Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls, and many noted recital venues throughout the US, including BSO’s Shakespeare Festival and NY Philharmonic’s Copland Festival, and numerous appearances with NYFOS. Symphonic credits include Symphony Orchestras of Pittsburgh, Boston, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, North Carolina, Richmond, Savannah, Omaha, Winston-Salem, Jacksonville, and Columbus, the Philharmonics of Buffalo, Erie, and Florida, as well as Philharmonia Baroque, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Portland Baroque, ProMusica Chamber Ensemble, Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Berkshire Choral Festival, Skaneateles Festival, performing solo repertoire including B Minor MassMessiah, Silete Venti, The Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Egmontand Symphony No. 9, Bruckner’s Te Deum, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and 4, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1916, Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5Seven Deadly Sins, and Songfest.

    Recent performances include Messiah with Indianapolis Symphony, Four Last Songs with Symphoria, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Pittsburgh Symphony, and recitals with NYFOS, BluffSeries and CMU’s Chamber Music Series.

    Mendelssohn’s “A Symphony Cantata” Tickets

    Gemma New: The Rite of Spring

    Gemma New

    Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. She also holds the titles of Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hailed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as “a rising star in the musical firmament”, New is the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award.

    2022 marks Gemma New’s inaugural season as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, where she leads the 2022 Winter Festival with Hilary Hahn and Paul Lewis, Mozart Requiem with Voices New Zealand, and contemporary works by New Zealand composers John Psathas, John Rimmer, Tabea Squire and Anthony Ritchie in the orchestra’s 75th anniversary season. The 2022/23 season will mark New’s eighth season as Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and her fourth season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

    In the 2022/23 season, New leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and Royal Northern Sinfonia. Increasingly in demand in Europe, she leads the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Berner Symphonieorchester, Gävle Symphony, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestra della Toscana and the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg in the final concert of Mozartwoche 2023. New makes her debuts with the Houston Symphony and Melbourne Symphony in Australia and returns to lead the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony and the New World Symphony. In June 2023, she returns to St. Louis to lead Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s production of Susannah.

    The Rite of Spring Tickets

    Angélica Negrón: Beethoven and Brahms

    Angélica Negrón, DSO Composer-In-Residence

    Brooklyn-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1981. Creating intricately simple narratives—as evocative as they are intangible—she writes music for accordions, toys, and electronics as well as for chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been described as “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR/Q2) and “mesmerizing and affecting” (Feast of Music), while The New York Times noted her “capacity to surprise” and her “quirky approach to scoring”.  She was selected by Q2 and NPR listeners as part of “The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40”, by Flavorpill as one of the “10 Young Female Composers You Should Know,” and by Paste Magazine as one of the “20 Most Innovative Musicians Working Today.”

    Beethoven and Brahms Tickets

    Lido Pimienta: Beethoven and Brahms

    Lido Pimienta

    Afro/Indigenous/Colombian/Canadian/punk/folklorist/traditionalist/transgressive/diva/angel. There are so many layers to Canadian-Colombian singer Lido Pimienta’s identity that you might get lost in them. But if you did, you’d be missing the point.

    Her multi-textural, mind-bending voice and music project what Canada’s The Globe and Mail called her “bold, brash, polarizing” persona, which constantly confronts the powers that be. But it also reveals an embrace of the Afro- and Indigenous traditions that is at once defiant, delicate and sweetly nostalgic.

    Pimienta’s new album Miss Colombia takes her ecstatic hybridity to a new level, building on the “nu” intersection of electronica and cumbia established by her first two albums, Color, released in 2010, and the 2016 Polaris Prize-winning La Papessa as Canadian album of the year. The latter was the first 100% independently released, non- English or French album to win the $50,000 prize. Produced with Matt Smith, a/k/a Prince Nifty, Miss Colombia overflows with the kind of understated genius that promises yet another breakthrough.

    Beethoven and Brahms Tickets

    Audrey Luna: Carmina Burana

    Audrey Luna

    Grammy award-winning soprano Audrey Luna’s future engagements include her debut at Teatro alla Scala as ARIEL Thomas Adès’ The Tempest, her Teatro Real, Madrid debut as MADAME MAO Nixon in China, Orff’s Catulli Carmina and Carmina Burana Dallas Symphony Orchestra with Mo. Luisi conducting, OPHELIA cover in Brett Dean’s Hamlet Metropolitan Opera and KÖNIGIN DER NACHT Die Zauberflöte (Barrie Kosky production) Des Moines Metro Opera.

    Ms. Luna recently set the record for singing the highest written note on the Metropolitan Opera stage, A6, as LETICIA in Thomas Adès’ The Exterminating Angel, which she also performed in the world premiere at the Salzburg Festival and at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Previous productions at the Metropolitan Opera include KÖNIGIN DER NACHT in Julie Taymor’s production of Die Zauberflöte, NAJADE Ariadne auf Naxos, FIAKERMILLI Arabella, OLYMPIA Les contes d’Hoffmann and ARIEL Thomas Adès’ The Tempest. Her performance as ARIEL was released on DVD with Deutsche Grammophon; the DVD was awarded a French Diapason d’Or, and the 2013 Grammy Award for “Best Opera Recording.”

    Carmina Burana Tickets

    Shayna Steele: Nothin’ But the Blues

    Shayna Steele

    There’s no need to sugar coat it, since her impressive credits speak for themselves. Her colleagues praise her ability, her dedication and drive to perfecting her craft as a professional singer and knockout performer. On stage and in the studio, New York City based vocalist and songwriter Shayna Steele proves she is a vocal force to be reckoned with.

    After appearing on Broadway in Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar and the original cast of Hairspray, Steele started writing music with partner David Cook in 2002. The two quickly developed a creative synergy, collaborating on Steele’s eponymous debut EP in 2004. Though self-released, the album’s breakout soul-funk single “High Yella” achieved the attention she needed to raise her solo profile. She and/or her band have since shared the stage with luminaries Ledisi, opening for George Clinton and the Sugar Hill Gang, a featured singer with Bjorkestra and GRAMMY® winning conductor/composer/trumpeter Dave Douglas, featured with two time GRAMMY® winner Snarky Puppy in 2014 at the Nice Jazz Festival, the Estival Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival, Java Jazz Festival and the Singapore Jazz Festival.  Steele is a vocalist with the GRAMMY®-nominated Broadway Inspirational Voices and has worked as a sideman with Lizz Wright, Bette Midler, Natasha Bedingfield, John Legend, Matthew Morrison, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson.

    Nothin’ But the Blue Tickets