Classical music has long been a male-dominated industry. One look at the Academy Awards shows the very small number of women composers who have been nominated and won awards in the scoring categories. To date, only 3 women have won a scoring Oscar since the Academy introduced the category in 1935. Scala Radio intends to help work towards readdressing the gender imbalance by launching a new partnership with a charitable foundation, Donne and amplifying women across the station.
Donne, which works to promote and support women in music, will highlight female composers who have never been played on the station before, with Scala Radio selecting ten pieces of music to premiere across the month. Initially a three-month partnership, the campaign aims to introduce a wider audience to these composers and ensure that their work can be enjoyed by all.
This March, female composers of the screen will take the lead in a new series ‘She Scores on Scala Radio’. Composers Pinar Toprak, Jessica Curry, Isobel Waller-Bridge and Nainita Desai will each guest host the programme every Sunday across March from 6-8pm, playing some of their favourite classical music, from their most loved women composers, the music that’s inspired them in their career and some of their own scores.
The 4 guest hosts have been given free rein to curate their show. For example, Pinar Toprak, the first female composer to score a feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is focusing on the music of superhero movies, including influential scores such as Superman, Batman and new releases like Wonder Woman 1984, along with her own work on Captain Marvel.
Jessica Curry is celebrating her varied musical influences, including Sinead O’Connor, Bette Midler, Rachel Portman and Enya. Jessica’s love of choral music will shine through in her selections by Errollyn Wallen and Hildegard von Bingen, and she’ll also select particularly significant tracks from her video game scores to Dear Esther, So Let Us Melt and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
Ahead of then, across Sunday evenings in February, Scala will be home to guest host Eddi Reader MBE who shall present a new series ‘Eddi Reader’s Scala Songbook’ on classical and folk music. The singer-songwriter, often celebrated as Scotland’s greatest living female voice, will be honouring the folk tradition and explore its many similarities with classical music.
Programme Manager for Scala Radio, Jenny Nelson said:
“We’re passionate about celebrating diversity within the classical music world. It’s an industry that boasts incredible works from a broad range of artists and composers, yet the perception of classical music is all too often of a musical world that is pale, male and stale.
“We know that there is still a lot of work to be done, but in shining a light on these brilliant female talents we hope that we can better level the playing field and begin to work towards a future where women are equally represented.”
Isobel Waller-Bridge added “I’m really happy to be invited onto the show to play some of my favourite works by female composers. I’ve put together a programme of music that unlocked a really important creative space for me in the early years, and music that continues to inspire me. I’m looking forward to spending an evening playing work from these amazing artists, and talking a bit about why they mean so much to me and my music.”
Music composed for the screen makes up a large part of the soundtrack that listeners can expect on Scala Radio, with programmes from the likes of film critic and broadcaster Mark Kermode playing much-loved movie music, Luci Holland’s weekly video game music show ‘The Console’ and ‘Screen Time’ with Charles Nove, which features music from TV, films and games every weekday between 9-10am.
To find out more about the programmes available and to listen live, you can head to scalaradio.co.uk
‘She Scores on Scala Radio’ Schedule
Sunday 7th March, 6-8pm: Pinar Toprak
Sunday 14th March, 6-8pm: Jessica Curry
Sunday 21st March, 6-8pm: Isobel Waller-Bridge
Sunday 28th March, 6-8pm: Nainita Desai
Episode 1 of Eddi Reader’s Scala Songbook is available on request.
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For further press information, please contact:
Cat Martin – Bauer Media Communications Director (Radio)
T: 0207 432 3317 M: 07932 746 363
Amelia O’Shea – Bauer Media Communications Manager (Radio)
T: 0207 432 3417 M: 07718 489342
Notes to Editors
About Scala Radio:
Scala Radio is a brand-new entertainment radio station that breaks the mould of classical music in the UK. Presenters include Simon Mayo, Angellica Bell, Alexis Ffrench and Mark Kermode. Alongside familiar masters such as Mozart, Beethoven and Bach, you can expect to hear contemporary works including film, TV and video game scores, showtunes from musicals and instrumental re-workings of pop and rock songs by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Led Zeppelin and Dua Lipa.
Isobel Waller-Bridge’s versatility as a composer is evident in her distinctive style, which seamlessly blends classical, orchestral and experimental music with electronics. She is also adept with choral music, as evidenced in her dramatic score for Fleabag, the hit stage play-turned TV phenomenon, which introduced her music to millions worldwide.
With Hollywood’s awards season approaching, Waller-Bridge is earning plaudits for her score to Autumn de Wilde’s directorial debut Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role. The soundtrack is inspired by the music of Mozart and Haydn, as well as the lively wit of Jane Austen’s eponymous matchmaker. She is currently writing the music to the forthcoming Netflix spy thriller Munich, starring Jeremy Irons and George MacKay, based on the book by best-selling author Robert Harris as well as an "untitled project" for HBO Max.
Isobel Waller-Bridge has also penned scores for a number of other film and TV projects. She has written the music for the film Vita & Virginia, as well as Vanity Fair (ITV & Amazon), The ABC Murders (BBC One), The Split (BBC One) and a feature-length episode of Black Mirror (Netflix), starring Miley Cyrus.
Waller-Bridge is equally at home writing for theatre and fashion shows. She has written original music for productions in the West End to New York, in addition to the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, The Old Vic, The Young Vic, Donmar Warehouse and more. She was also commissioned by Sarah Burton to score Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection for Paris Fashion Week.
Despite her innovative approach to composition, Waller-Bridge took a traditional route into the industry. She studied Music at Edinburgh University, before moving to King’s College London for her Masters and then the Royal Academy of Music, where she was awarded a scholarship and received her diploma in piano. While at the Academy, she began the transition to film and TV music after meeting other young musicians who were composing atonal music, breaking away from the classical tradition.
Jessica Curry is a BAFTA-winning composer of contemporary classical and video game music. Her music has had extensive exposure on radio and concert halls around the world and her work has been performed in diverse and high-profile venues such as The Barbican, Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall, Durham Cathedral and MOMI in New York. The Washington Post described her music as “stupendous” and The Guardian praised her “gorgeous orchestral score” for Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
Jessica was a presenter on Classic FM, presenting High Score, a Saturday night show about video game music. Her music was sung at The Royal Albert hall in May 2018 as part of an evening of Sony PlayStation soundtracks and she also hosted the evening. She then went on to present Sound of Gaming, a new show for BBC Radio 3.
In late 2018 she was commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company and Magic Leap to work on The Seven Ages of Man, a mind-bending, beautiful AR experience which has been selected for Sundance Film Festival 2019 as part of their New Frontier programme. She has written the music for Apple Arcade game Little Orpheus which has been described as “a serious contender for best orchestral game score of 2020…masterful.”
Jessica was London Oriana Choir’s composer in residence in 2018 and she was selected for PRSF’s New Music Biennial which took place in London’s Southbank and Hull in July 2019. She has been commissioned by Crouch End Festival Chorus to write a large scale choral work for premiere in 2021.
Jessica is regularly interviewed on radio and television. She even dared to face Jeremy Paxman on Christmas University Challenge and was delighted to have survived the experience.
Pinar Toprak is one of the most refreshing voices in music composition today with a diverse body of work spanning across film, television, and video games. She has composed for major superhero sagas like Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel, DC’s Stargirl on The CW, and SY-FY’s Superman prequel series Krypton. She also scored HBO’s six-part docuseries McMillions, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, as well as Epic Game’s massively popular online video game Fortnite. Away from the big screen, Toprak crafted the new main theme for Walt Disney World’s iconic EPCOT theme park and wrote music for Christina Aguilera’s 2019 Xperience show in Las Vegas.
Toprak was the recipient of the 2019 ASCAP Shirley Walker Award and also won the 2019 IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association) Award for “Best Original Score for a Documentary Film” for her score to The Tides of Fate. She had previously won two other IFMCA Awards for her work on The Wind Gods and The Lightkeepers which was on the Academy Award shortlist for “Best Original Score” in 2011.
Toprak was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey where she began her classical music education at the age of five. After studying composition and multiple instruments at the conservatory she moved to Chicago to study jazz, before continuing on to Boston for a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music. She then moved to Los Angeles, earned a master’s degree at CSUN in composition at age 22, and has quickly become an active and reinvigorating composer in Hollywood.
She resides in Los Angeles and when not composing loves to sail the Pacific Coast.
Nainita Desai is a BIFA, Cinema Eye Honors, and Ivor Novello 2020 nominee, a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and the IFMCA Breakthrough Composer of 2020.
Amongst various BAFTA, Oscar, Emmy acclaimed productions, Nainita’s recent projects include critically acclaimed Oscar 2020 nominated film For Sama, Sundance 2020 winning feature The Reason I jump, American Murder Netflix’s most watched documentary feature to data, Annapurna Interactive Film-Game Telling Lies and BBC drama series Unprecedented.
Film4 labelled her as one of the top 5 ‘composers of 2020 who should be on your radar’ and her projects have been in the Top 5 Film Scores and Video Games scores lists of 2019 by Scala Radio.