Above: Nicole Leone | Below: Randi Marrazzo
Together, Nicole Leone and Randi Marrazzo will share their collection of Italian songs and arias by women composers as well the important advocacy work they are doing with their website, “A Modern Reveal.”
The NATS Virtual Summer Workshop is July 8-10. If you sign up by May 1, you will receive $50 off of your registration fee. See schedule and details.
Tell us about your session for the NATS Virtual Summer Workshop.
In August 2020, we released a new collection titled “24 Italian Songs & Arias by Women Composers” to offer fresh repertoire for singers of all levels — entirely written by women. We’ll feature many of the songs and composers from this book in our session and will include musical examples to highlight technical aspects of the music and help teachers and students make the most out of each piece. We’ll also talk a bit about our project, “A Modern Reveal,” our website, resources, advocacy, and exciting global outreach work.
Attendees will come away from our session with greater knowledge about early Italian repertoire by women and the composers who wrote the songs in “24 Italian Songs & Arias by Women Composers,” practical musical examples, and guidance about how to approach this music in their teaching.
We want to share the importance of exposing young women-identifying singers and composers, to influential role models throughout history who defied the odds to create and perform.
When did you start working together on your website? Did you work on the web project or your collection first? Do you plan to include additional time periods/genres in the future?
In spring of 2017 we sat down and hashed out ideas for a website — the mission being to have women’s music and stories easily accessible in one place with the larger goal of getting music by women sung more regularly in both schools and performance settings.
We started really small, with a folder of women's music, mostly Italian songs from Sylvia Glickman, one of the editors of “Women Composers: Music Through the Ages,” which Randi often uses in her teaching. For more than a year we researched, built our website, wrote biographies, compiled music, links, and everything we could find about the composers, all the while knowing there was no collection of Italian songs written by women available in print.
We launched AModernReveal.com, featuring 27 composers of Italian song, in November 2018. Since then, we’ve connected AMR internationally through campaigns on our social media accounts, and we have hosted concerts and lectures featuring music by women.
The “24 Italian” songbook was a result of all our initial website work. We broached the idea of a book to Hildegard Publishing Company, who loved the idea, and off we went.
Our website has since added a number of women who wrote in Latin, and we’re working now on adding a page of music by Jewish women with the help of a young intern whose Jewish heritage has fueled her research with us. It’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to continue expanding and bringing more music and information to more people!
That is exciting! What kind of feedback have you received?
The initial response to the book was overwhelming and exceeded all of our expectations! According to our publisher, the initial print run was going to be 300 books, and within a few months, they had to re-print a few times because it kept selling out. Our initial Facebook post about the book reached 70,000 people within a few weeks.
The positive feedback we’ve received from students and teachers who have begun learning the pieces in this book has been tremendous. Many singers have used the pandemic time as an opportunity to learn the songs and post them to social media, and they tag us on our favorite day of the week, Women Composer Wednesday. We’ve received e-mails from so many people who want to record and perform the music and we are thrilled that people love these works and are working hard to share them on a greater scale — that’s why we did this project!
As you know, the theme of this year’s Summer Workshop is “Light the Spark: Inspiring Diverse Repertoire.” Why is it important for singing teachers to branch out and explore new repertoire — especially from diverse backgrounds and genres?
Bringing the stories and music of women composers and those who have had no voice in the past is so timely and important right now. We need to represent all genders, races, and the experiences of all people in our art, otherwise we’re missing out on a lot of the story.
We, as musicians, have the opportunity to change old narratives in a big way. Our students crave it, and as educators and advocates, we have to encourage their curiosities about social justice by providing resources and support when they need it. Teaching and exposing students to diverse repertoire by a broad array of composers is a great way to start that conversation.
Are you looking forward to attending any sessions yourself?
Oh yes, all of them! There’s so much that we still need to learn and it's our mission to honor and advocate for work done by others to diversify the musical landscape. We’re here for all of it.
Agreed! There are so many good sessions. Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are thrilled and honored to be a part of the NATS Virtual Summer Workshop. We are among an incredible field of musicians and educators presenting this year, and feel very lucky to be able to share our work and to learn from our colleagues.
Find presenters, a detailed schedule and more: 2021 Virtual Summer Workshop.