Alison Balsom hit the headlines ahead of her Royal Albert Hall show on 12 March 2017, as an example of an acclaimed performer bucking gender bias in the music industry.
Research commissioned by the Hall showed that just two per cent of the public associate the trumpet with women, making Alison’s rise to the pinnacle of her profession even more astounding.
Lucy Noble, Director of Events at the Royal Albert Hall, believes gender bias toward instrument choice needs to be less Trump and more in tune with Balsom’s style – a style that has led the artist to three Classical BRIT awards.
‘I see it all the time. Brass sections within orchestras are always heavily male, equally the strings are generally women and that is because we, consciously or not, guide our children toward a ‘type’ of instrument… and it’s wrong.
‘In a time when the ‘leader’ of the free-world is Donald Trump and it seems gender equality is teetering on the edge, we must do what little we can to ensure music and the arts more generally, is seen as accessible to all and without gender stereotyping.’
The story has been featured in the Evening Standard, the iPaper and the Mirror, as well as on Yahoo, BT.com, the Irish News and Classical Music, while Barbara Speed penned a memorable piece in the iPaper about her own experiences as a female trumpet player.
‘I have always hated the idea that “playing male” is the best way for women to get ahead – in my view, as a society should value qualities that aren’t brash confidence and arrogance without skill. But having, against all my instincts, played loud brass music for all that time, I have to admit that there is some value in forcing confidence on yourself.’
Here’s Alison Balsom blowing away those preconceptions with an indelible performance of Vivaldi’s Violin Concert in A Minor.