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"He has been tempered in the crucible but he is still molten and he glows with a fierce inner light. He is many things: musician, administrator, executive, minister, psychologist, technician, philosopher and dispenser … Above all he is a leader of men … a father … The Teacher who knows all."

Above is a famous 1967 quote by the revered New York Times writer Harold Schonberg in an article named ‘The Great Conductors’ where he summed up his ideal of a first-class conductor. Nowadays this outrageously misogynistic outburst would only make it to print as an example of the authors misguided and somewhat Dickensian outlook, but let’s not forget Vasily Petrenko’s perfectly timed outburst too.

Petrenko, conductor of The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and The National Youth Orchestra, increased his notoriety by famously claiming that, ‘women on the podium are a distraction’, and as if that weren’t enough, he then clarified his comment with, ‘a cute girl on a podium means that musicians think about other things.’

The fact that Petrenko is himself rather cute does somewhat rule out the fact that the women in the orchestras he leads might find him ‘distracting’, and let’s not rule out here a healthy dose of male adulation from the gay orchestral ranks Vasily.

Just as Vasily disappeared down the gaping hole in the floor beneath him, Marin Alsop took to the podium of the 2013 Last Night of the Proms performance, a first for a woman in the festival’s 118-year history, a pioneering event for women in music, but by no means an end to the controversy.

With women still under-represented in the music industry, as journalists, photographers, producers and programmers as well as performers, the girls are and The Forge have come together to produce a weekend dedicated to supporting female musicians, and women in the music industry. Click the images right for performance details.

the girls are is a UK based online magazine championing women in music, posting daily content from a global team of writers and photographers. Feeling that the machinations of the music industry are largely based on antiquated, irrelevant, inherently sexist values, and as a result women working within music are often under – or misrepresented, their coverage aims to redress this imbalance.

Founded as a blog in 2009, www.thegirlsare.com has rapidly grown a network of loyal followers with over 100 contributors and an editorial team of ten. Without the collaboration and support of this team of creatives and music-lovers, the site simply would not exist.

Friday 17th October
Namvula, 7.30pm
Free before 9pm / £ after 9pm

Fusing the folk and urban traditions of her Zambian homeland and her Scottish roots with London’s eclectic music scene, Namvula blends African sounds and rhythms with Latin, jazz and folk into uplifting and emotive songs, transporting listeners into different worlds, whilst staying firmly rooted in African soil.

Her forthcoming album Shiwezwa, due for release on November 3rd, has been tipped to be 'one of the major roots releases of the coming months' by fRoots magazine.

Saturday 18th October
Live Music Review Workshop, 12pm - 1pm Free

Editor and founder of the girls are, Annette Barlow, Deputy Editor Cheri Amour and Jazz & Classical Editor Rosie Hanley offer advice and tips on how to write an engaging live music review. The 60min workshop will cover best practice, things to include and avoid as well as time for questions and a chance to meet the editorial team.

Also - Live Music Photography Workshop, 2pm - 3pm Free

Emily Barker, Picture editor at the girls are guides you through her top tips to taking an excellent live music shot. Emily will be joined by the rest of the girls are editorial team as well as some of our regular photographers who will be on hand to answer any questions and offer their own personal advice on obtaining a publishable live music shot.

Also - Esther Dee, 7.30pm Free before 9pm / £6 after 9pm

Esther Dee is a singer-songwriter concerned with all things dark and beautiful. Haunting fairgrounds and magical, blood hungry wolves dominate the stories of her musical collective. She has lent her stunning soft silky tones to projects as diverse as chart topping classical act Mediaevel Baebes, gypsy swing jazz favourites Trio Manouche and Grammy award winning spectacle Riverdance The Show. Her unlikely collective of top flight musicians create a futuristic fairground backdrop to Esther's captivating songs.

Sunday 19th October Albany Piano Trio, 11am £12/£10

The Albany Piano Trio performs three exciting works by contrasting female British composers. Written within a century of one another, the works offer a rich variety in instrumental colours and musical styles.

The Albany Piano Trio is a thriving, dynamic ensemble whose repertoire focuses on works by female composers - both current and historic - alongside the traditional canon of pieces that make the more established body of piano trio repertoire. The Albany Trio recently won the Gwyneth George Award from the Piano Trio Society and were finalists at the 2014 St Martin's Chamber Competition.

New Music by Female Composers, 7pm £12/£10

Contemporary music ensemble rarescale presents a selection of chamber works by female composers. Renowned classic works by Kajia Saariaho, Thea Musgrave and Pauline Oliveros are heard alongside works by a younger generation of composers, demonstrating the breadth of female compositional talent working today.