In 2024 Music, She Wrote contemplates memory.

The Ancient Greek goddess Mnemosyne was the mother of all the muses and was worshipped not only in her role as mother but in her own right—in oral traditions, without memory, there is nothing. Even now that written literature is the norm, memory is still crucial to knowing who we are, both individually and as a society. Memory gives us the power to see the past and consciously make change. This is what we aspire to do with Music, She Wrote.

While women may not be a minority in terms of numbers in our society, our music is seriously under-represented, especially in Western classical and jazz concerts. Music, She Wrote will continue to champion the stories we tell and the music we make, until a festival celebrating women in music seems as ridiculous as one celebrating men—until it is only a distant memory.

Katie Yap (MSW Artistic Director)

Concert 1: Moirai
Wednesday 20 March, 8pm
Mother Lines

Women are the origin of song. A mother’s communication with her baby is musical, it is our instinct, it is in our DNA. Our song is soothing and healing, a voice before language, an intimate lullaby. We hold these songs in us, the vibrations of our ancestral mothers echoing through generations since the beginning of humankind. They are documented in our systems, not in our textbooks. We are the archive, the melodies of our inheritance. 

Moirai presents a journey back through the mother lines, starting in the present day exploring cultural perceptions of the self and the daughter. From here, we step deeper back through time, traversing folk music from the British Isles and ancient Western art forms, from the 17th through to the 9th century, until we arrive at the powerful simplicity of the lullaby. 

Program includes works by Leilehua Lanzilotti, Alice Chance, Mary Dering, Vittoria Alleotti, Madalena Casulana, Beatriz de Dia, Kassia, and traditional women’s songs.

Concert 2: Mindy Meng Wang, Helen Svoboda & Katie Yap
Thursday 21 March, 8pm

The Wave in the Mind

Her work
is with letters,
with secret letters.
Letters that were not written
for generations.
She must write them
over, and over, and over.
(Ursula Le Guin, The Writer On, And At, Her Work)

The Wave in the Mind brings three of Melbourne’s most exciting musicians together in an evening of improvisation and musical storytelling. Helen Svoboda (jazz/contemporary double bass & voice), Mindy Meng Wang (traditional Chinese/contemporary guzheng) and Katie Yap (baroque/contemporary viola & voice) are each known for their genre-bending practice and their compelling performances. Improvisation is often defined as live creation, but it leans on memory, shaped and woven in the moment. Through solo, duo, and trio works and improvisations, Helen, Mindy, and Katie bring their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds together to remember something beautiful, astounding, and new.

Concert 3: Latitude 37
Friday 22 March, 8pm
The Phoenix and the Queen

Baroque music mavens Latitude 37 delve into memories of music from the past by a doomed queen, a brilliant nun and a child prodigy who blossomed as a gifted composer. Complemented by new music created through a 17th-century filter by Brooke Green, The Phoenix and the Queen shares music by Ann Boleyn, Isabella Leonarda and Elisabeth Jaquet de la Guerre with the dulcet and delicate sounds of the baroque violin (Simone Slattery), viola da gamba (Laura Vaughan) and harpsichord (Donald Nicolson).