On 2 November, Douglas Lilburn’s birthday, 130 people gathered in the National Library’s brand new auditorium to hear acclaimed composer Eve de Castro-Robinson deliver the 2018 Lilburn Lecture. Her talk, entitled ‘Wide Blows Our Banner: How far have women composers in New Zealand come since Suffrage?’, drew on musical examples from Willow Macky, Victoria Kelly, Lorde, and de Castro-Robinson herself, as she reflected on her journey as a composer since the 1980s. Listen to a recording and read a transcript of Eve de Castro-Robinson’s Lilburn Lecture courtesy of RNZ Concert.
“Is this whiff of old boys' network, toxic masculinity before its time? Is it still around?”, de Castro-Robinson asked. “Yes it sure is, certainly in business, in politics, definitely in the law, and in institutions - universities oh yes, but, much less so I think in composerly circles themselves. We tend to stick together, and support each other, knowing that we're all in the same position. We're competitive of course, it's a creatively perilous business, and we're up for the same commissions and jobs from the same musicians and organisations. It's a tough living, and we all know it. But is it tougher for women composers?”