raising the profile of music by women


the Ambache del Gesu violin

A brief history of the Ambache Charitable Trust

The Trust was endowed from the sale of a Guarnerius del Gesu violin discovered by Nachman Ambache. The violin was restored by Peter Biddulph and loaned to the Vienna Phiharmonic Orchestra. It was sold in 2013, and Diana Ambache donated part of her share to the Trust, in order to further her pioneering work promoting music by women composers.

The next applications deadline is midnight on 30th June 2019 (UK time)
(both postal and as a pdf e-mail attachment; they should reach the Trust by this deadline).

March 2019 grants will be announced shortly.

December 2018 grants included supporting:

  • Concertos by Dora Bright and Ruth Gipps: new CD for SOMM Records.

  • Illuminate touring concert series, including music by Strozzi, Clarke, Crawford-Seeger and Maconchy.

  • Stround Green Festival, local festival, reaching a wider audience.

  • September 2018 grants included supporting:

  • From her Pen, videos of Walpurgis & Amalia, the Academy of Ancient Music.

  • Errollyn Wallen's new opera The Powder Monkey, on slave ship stories, presented at Greenwich and Liverpool maritime venues.

  • Vote 100, a Brighton concert for the centenary of women's enfranchisement.

  • June 2018 grants included supporting:

  • Venus Unwrapped - a year long celebration of music by women, at Kings Place.

  • Finding Home, a new CD by Kate Williams's band Four Plus Three.

  • Roman River Music's 10 day Festival on how the WW1 affected women's work for equality.

  • Echoes -A UK tour of 18th-20th century women composers, by electric voice theatre.

  • March 2018 grants included supporting:

  • Ethel Smyth first major recording of her Mass, for Chandos Records.

  • Empowered Women: 17-date tour of concert/plays about Hildegard and Beatriz de Dia by The Telling ensemble.

  • First CD recording of chamber music by Erika Fox, for NMC.

  • Retrospect Opera: first complete recording of Smyth's Fete Galante.

  • December 2017 grants included supporting:

  • Multi-Story commission of substantial work by Dani Howard, for London & Ipswich concerts.

  • Rhondda Rips It Up! Elena Langer new opera for WNO (several performances around the UK) about the suffragette Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda).

  • Chamber concert at Three Choirs Festival 2018, with Schumann, Boulanger & Clarke.

  • Agnew Zimmermann project, including a new CD recording of her 3 violin sonatas (with Jack Liebeck) and an academic paper.

  • September 2017 grants included supporting:

  • A Nottingham concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of women gaining the vote, by NYCGB.

  • The Barrington Hippo (at Sedgewick Museum), by Kate Whitley, commissioned by Cambridge City Opera.

  • Documentary film of Barbara Pentland's opera The Lake, by Astrolabe Musik Theatre (Canada).

  • The first recording of Grace Williams' Violin Sonata, by Madeleine Mitchell and Konstantin Lapshin.

  • June 2017 grants supported:

  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra: Lili Boulanger centenary concerts, including a 2018 Prom.

  • New Music South West: music to mark the 50th anniversary of M L King's assassination (Moore, Price, etc).

  • March 2017 grants supported:

  • Roman River Festival: a local festival featuring many women, with a good outreach programme.

  • A portait (debut) CD of composer Alissa Firsova.

  • A commission for a new Carnival of the Animals by Judith Bingham from the Willshire Piano Duo.

  • A recording project by the Galos Piano Trio, including Romantic women.

  • An innovative programme linking science and music at the Edinburgh Fringe called Scottish Superwomen of Science.

  • A dozen Electronic Pioneers at a Tate Late concert by the London Contemporary Orchestra.

  • The December 2016 grants included supporting:

  • The enhancement of an online catalogue of works by women composers.

  • An International Conference on women's works, focussed around the 40th anniversary of the death of Grace Williams.

  • A London performance of an opera by Pauline Viardot, and the commission of a new work by Roxanna Panufnik.

  • A concert with 100% of the works by women, and a concert series programmed with 50% of the music by women.

  • The production of 3 CDs, including the music of Poldowski, Sadie Harrison, Hannah Kendall and Dobrinka Tabakova.

  • The September 2016 grants included supporting:

  • Drawing attention to the music of Erica Fox, with an 80th birthday concert and the digitisation of her catalogue.

  • New CD of brass Fanfares, recorded by Onyx Brass for Chandos Records, including works by Imogen Holst.

  • 2 commissions: 1) Hommage, a new clarinet/viola/piano Trio by Charlotte Bray; 2) a new piano duet by Fumiko Miyachi, for a new album and tour.

  • The June 2016 grants included supporting:

  • Luton Music Music on Mondays: historical and living women composers are half of this 2016-17 chamber music series.

  • New CD of engaging music by Janet Owen Thomas, including a valuable string quartet, for Prima Facie Records.

  • Diana Burrell commission from Brentwood Cathedral for a new Mass: an important contribution to a predominantly male arena.

  • The March 2016 grants were supporting:

  • Cendrillon UK première of Pauline Viardot's chamber operetta, by Northern Opera Group.

  • Recording of Motets by Suor Leonora d'Este (daughter of Lucrezia Borgia), by Musica Secreta for Obsidian Records.

  • The December 2015 grants were supporting:

  • Three Plus Four a new CD by Kate Williams jazz Trio.

  • Alissa Firsova commission from Tippett Quartet.

  • The September 2015 grants were:

  • Historical revival: Modern première of Kate Loder Piano Trio (1863).

  • Hannah Kendall's opera The Knife of Dawn, at the Roundhouse.

  • Kerry Andrews & Vikki Stone commissions for NYCGB International tour, including the Far East.

  • Judith Bingham Piano Trio No 2, commission by Albany Trio.

  • Multimedia Ritual in Transfigured Time, including commissions by Arlene Sierra and Kathy Hinde.

  • Peterborough Cathedral 900th Anniversary celebration: Evensong, Cheryl Frances-Hoad commission.

  • The June 2015 grants were:

  • Electric Voice Theatre: music-theatre compositions highlighting the lives and works of seven female scientists.

  • Aurora Orchestra: commissions, with workshops and recording, in collaboration with the Science Museum: Objects at an Exhibition.

  • Commission for Cambridge Science Festival, on poetry about Charles Darwin, evolution and ecology.

  • Commission of Percussion Concerto by Amoret Abis, for Lewes chamber orchestra.

  • NMC debut disc by Emily Howard.

  • The March 2015 grants included:

  • Brighton Early Music Festival: a large scale festival Celebrating Women.

  • First complete recording of Smyth's Boatswain's Mate, by Retrospect Opera: a valuable new CD.

  • Other projects were supported for their wide reach, including a Canadian women composers' tour.

  • The December 2014 grants included:

  • London Festival of Baroque Music: a mainstream festival raising awareness of historical women.

  • Late Music York: 2015 concert series: several works by women, including a Weir première.

  • Ballet Rambert/Frances-Hoad new CD: with associated workshops.

  • Sadie Harrison commission: international collaboration with Kabul Girls Orphanage.

  • Ethel Smyth Serenade performing materials: production of score and part.

  • The September 2014 grants were:

  • Addressing a gap in education: 6 workshops for GCSE & A-level students in the South East, based on early women composers.

  • Concerts with 4 short, commissioned harp works by women, 4 Girls 4 Harps, the theme linked by a historical woman harpist.

  • Classical Guitar Works concerts: with 2 commissions, in a scene lacking female activity and acknowledgement.

  • The June 2014 grants were:

  • Claudia Moliter commission and performances at Spitalfields Winter Festival 2014.

  • Gloucester Music Society 85th Anniversary concert series, including two premières.

  • Clare Hammond CD for BIS: Études, including works by Unsuk Chin.

  • The March 2014 grants were:

  • Dobrinka Tabakova commission and multifaceted residency, Orchestra of the Swan Spring Sounds.

  • Kate Whitley commission and good outreach plan by Multi-storey.

  • Benyounes Quartet: series of concerts in the WoW Festival, featuring works by several women.

  • Late Music: York concert series, with 4 works by women, including 2 commissions.

  • "York has a strong and vibrant Arts culture. Late Music contributes to this with a series of eight classical music concerts with the focus very much on the variety and vitality of contemporary music. In 2014 we commissioned works from a number of composers including Gavin Bryars, Valerie Pearson and Eve Harrison. We embrace diversity and the programmes varied from electro acoustic music to the Delta Saxophone Quartet. The 2014 audiences were up by 15%, 12% of our featured composers were women, as were 38% of our performers. It is thanks to the generous support of various funding bodies including the Ambache Trust, and we are very grateful." Late Music, York

    The December 2013 grants were:

  • The Lake, by Barbara Pentland, being presented in collaboration with the Westbank First Nation: an opera being widely promoted, featuring Canadian history and including indigenous people.

  • Elena Firsova CD by Marsyas Trio: including 9 previously unrecorded chamber works, brings new attention to a previously unrecognised composer.

  • Kate Williams Septet tour: focusing on one of the few female leaders of a jazz ensemble. Listen to Made Up by Williams.

  • New Psallite Women's Choir CD, including Judith Cloud's Three Spells: widening appreciation of choral music by women.

  • Fifth London Festival of American Music, November 2014: including eight female composers and some premières.

  • The September 2013 grants were:

  • Cheltenham Festival 2014: towards a programme highlighting the role of women in classical music, and featuring 8 females, almost half the number of living composers.

  • Ina Boyle's Glencree Symphony: support for typesetting the score, in order to re-introduce her music into the repertoire.

  • City of London Sinfonia: assistance for live streaming a Village Underground event including new songs by Mara Carlyle.

  • The June 2013 grants were:

  • Hyperion records, towards a recording of Romantic Piano Concertos by Amy Beach and Helen Hopekirk: a demonstration that women do not just write chamber works.

  • The Corbridge Chamber Music Festival, towards the costs of composer-in-residence Sally Beamish: this is the first time the festival is providing a composer-in-residence, with constant access for audiences.
    She commented: "It's a fabulous festival, and so impressive that it runs on good will and commitment from friends and supporters of the Gould Trio, alongside their exceptional vision. It had a real sense of a music-loving community who take a great pride in their festival. It combined superb performances, a wonderful response to all the music, an excellent turn-out for all concerts and talks, with lots of interest and follow up conversations with audiences members. Several people said they were surprised at how they enjoyed the unfamiliar pieces, and that it helped to have the music introduced by the composer.

  • Ealing Youth Orchestra, towards a commission by Nina Whiteman: a way of providing a natural female role model to a new generation of budding musicians, plus a particularly collaborative approach.

  • The South Bank/LPO, towards Sofia Gubaidulina, Politics and Spirituality: a weekend focusing on a female composer in a major festival.

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