Amazing Women Composers!

Composers Now – A Platform For Contemporary Composers

Tania León
Tania León, Composer and Conductor

Women composers are creating amazing, cutting-edge work these days, and one of the best places to learn about them is Composers Now.

Composers Now was founded by Tania León, a powerhouse conductor and composer, whose works have been performed by major orchestras in the U.S. and internationally.  Born in Havana and now based in New York,  León is a great champion of women composers and composers of color.

In 2010 she founded Composers Now, a non-profit organization which is dedicated to empowering all living composers, celebrating the diversity of their voices, and honoring their work. Composers Now currently offers a variety of programs including a month-long festival of contemporary works every February, commissions for young composers, residency programs, innovative partnerships with music presenters, and online interviews with composers. 

León started the Impact series in December 2020 to give composers a platform to share their work with new audiences, and she has placed a strong emphasis on including women composers – especially women composers of color. Each composer speaks and presents examples of her work for 30 – 60 minutes. 

Angélica Negrón, composes with plants.

If you visit the Digital Library section of the Composers Now website, you can see all of the past interviews – including ones with Filipina-American percussionist-composer-sound artist, Susie Ibarra; Puerto Rican-born composer, Angélica Negrón, who demonstrates how she captures the electrical impulses of plants to create music; Israeli film score composer Tamar Muskal; and flutist-composer, Allison Loggins-Hull.

Laura Kaminsky, whose opera about the coming of age of a transgender woman, As One, is the most produced contemporary opera in North America, devotes her Impact session to a discussion of collaboration and trust in music-making. Phyllis Chen provides samples of her works for toy pianos, music boxes, and other found objects. 

Check the Streaming Now page on the Composers Now website to learn about and watch upcoming Impact interviews. This Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time/12 noon Eastern Time, African-American composer Mary D. Watkins will be featured, and she will play songs from her civil rights operas about Fannie Lou Hamer and Emmett Till, as well as excerpts from her instrumental and symphonic works.

Watch the Next Composers Now – Impact Video Podcast  

  • Featured Composer:  Mary D. Watkins
  • Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 9 am Pacific Time/12 noon Eastern Time 
  • Price: Free  
  • Watch the Live Stream on the “Streaming Now” page of the Composers Now website:

To Watch Previous Impact Interviews: Visit theDigital Library section of the Composers Now website, where you can also find recordings of previous Composers Now Festivals, and other composer interviews. 

Paula Kimper’s Walt Whitman Songs

Paula Kimper's "Evening of Song of Myself"

Composer Paula M. Kimper is currently creating musical settings of all 52 sections of Walt Whitman’s epic 1892 poem, Song of Myself. In honor of Walt Whitman’s birthday this month, the Walt Whitman Initiative has invited Kimper to do a special free presentation on Tuesday, May 18 at 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT on their YouTube channel. 

Kimper will discuss her love of Walt Whitman, her journey as a composer, and her work with Greg Trupiano and the Walt Whitman Project in Brooklyn.  She will also play recordings of some of her favorite settings from her Melody Book for ‘Song of Myself, and discuss them with Karen Karbiener, the President of the Walt Whitman Initiative and a professor at New York University. 

Kimper has previously composed several operas, including Patience and Sarah (based on Isabel Miller’s novel); The Captivation of Eunice Williams, (about a girl who was captured from colonial Massachusetts by Mohawks in 1704 and refused to go home); The Bridge of San Luis Rey (based on Thornton Wilder’s novel); and TRUTH, An American Opera about Sojourner Truth. You can play excerpts from her Melody Book for “Song of Myself” on her website

Watch Paula M. Kimper Discuss her Melody Book for “Song of Myself”