Boulanger Initiative Launches Database for BIPOC, Women, & Gender Marginalized Composers

By Afton Wooten

The Boulanger Initiative (BI) launched its BIPOC, Women, and Gender Marginalized Composers Repertoire Database on March 13.

Boulanger Initiative’s Database aids those who wish to diversify classical music programming by providing information on underrepresented composers. BI spent years researching archives, compiling data, and testing beta versions of the database to create this much-needed resource. Each entry includes the composer name(s), country and/or state of origin, and birth-to-death date ranges, as well as composition types, instruments, voice types, and languages.

Currently, the database has over 8,000 available works by 1,200 women and gender marginalized (“non-cis-male, including trans and/or non-binary”) composers available for free. As of now, the focus is on historical works with expansion to come for performance repertoire from multiple time periods.

Also to come are recordings of affiliated musicians and composers. Other features will be filters for difficulty levels, themes, and other descriptive tags.

BID director Emily Morin said in a press release, “building this database is about breaking down barriers. As a musician, I’ve enjoyed looking for piano music and chamber music composed by women, but always wished it could be a less time-consuming process. I’m proud to have contributed to Boulanger Initiative’s Database because it will expand access to information about gender marginalized composers and their music.”