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Women beyond the barriers

The Sound Barrier for Sunday 11 March 2018

As I write this, it is International Women's Day and, as I do, I am listening to sensational piece of music that I heard premiered at the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music a couple of year's ago: How Forests Think, for sheng and ensemble by Liza Lim, who was the winner of this year's Australia Council Don Banks Award. It is an astonishingly rich and fertile piece that tells the stories of the community and humanity of forests, challenging our own concepts of what it means to be a person and to be part of the world.

This is one of the roles that women have played time and again throughout history – through strength, challenge, and creativity, enabling new views of the world, and of ourselves, to emerge and flourish and thrive, even against the strictures and boundaries of patriarchy that, after all, ultimately imprison everyone.

How Forests Think is just one of seven works that I will be presenting on the next edition of The Sound Barrier, all of them in recognition of some of the great women composers in Australia who, even with their huge talent and creativity, still struggle for recognition in an industry that, like so many, continues to be dominated by men.

Liza's work will open the programme, which will also include music by Moya Henderson, Susan Frykberg, Cat Hope, Hannah Reardon-Smith, Ros Bandt, and Mary Finsterer: music that all, separately and together, shows us how important it is that we never stop working, and working, and working, at building a world that continues to be more and more enriched by inclusivity and diversity. There is so much more for us to discover, beyond the boundaries, beyond the barriers.

I hope you can join me for this very important edition of The Sound Barrier, this Sunday night at 10 PM (AEDT) on PBS FM, 106.7 on the Victorian FM dial, or on PBS Digital, or from anywhere in the world, live online or via the PBS app. The show is also available to listen back to, here on the website, shortly after it has gone live to air.

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