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“On the 22nd of February 2024, the Donne Foundation will embark on an extraordinary journey to set a Guinness World Record™ for the ‘Longest Acoustic Music Live-Streamed Concert’. But here’s the twist: We are going to do it by playing ONLY music by women and non-binary composers and songwriters.” - My fellow quartet members and I were so excited when we first read the email.

We had been long-term fans of Brazilian soprano and activist Gabriella di Laccio and her foundation Donne’s work in raising awareness for gender equality in the music industry. One of the primary goals of our string quartet Vulva Voce is to champion women and underrepresented composers, and this event aligned perfectly with that artistic mission. Vulva Voce was invited to perform in the final 30-minute slot of the 26-hour long concert ‘Let HER MUSIC Play’ which started at noon on Thursday 22 February and kept going until 2:00 pm on Friday 23 February.

Celebrating musical excellence, inclusivity and community

As a new-found consciousness for diversity has finally begun to permeate the arts in the last few years, many orchestras and music organisations have tried to address these imbalances. So much positive change has already been made, but it’s important to remember how much work there still is to be done in the music industry and beyond.

Donne’s mission for this event was to “showcase incredible talent while also championing gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the music industry through great music that resonates with a global audience”, and they succeeded.

‘Let HER MUSIC Play’ was a pure celebration of musical excellence, inclusivity, and community.

The event featured over 80 musicians, including singers, instrumentalists, ensembles, and, notably, three renowned Brazilian singer-songwriters flown into London the previous night. The fact that over 120 different composers and songwriters were included in this 26-hour event is a powerful reminder that music written by women and non-binary people is abundant and limitless. Countless genres, instrumentations, nationalities, and backgrounds were represented throughout and this made the concert such a joy to watch.

Vulva Voce standing in a dimly lit room holding their instruments.

The event was a mix of excitement, exhaustion, and emotions running high

Still in Manchester on the 22 February, my quartet and I were able to follow the live-stream online from the very beginning. Every half hour there was a different artist, and it was so fun to check in on all the performances throughout the day!

On my train to London the next morning, I saw numerous pictures on social media of high-spirited performers at the venue all through the night. A few people had been there non-stop since the start, so the atmosphere at the embassy when we arrived was a mix of excitement, exhaustion, and emotions running high.

As Vulva Voce was closing the entire concert, we wanted our performance to be as dynamic as possible. We always play standing up and without sheet music, which allows us greater freedom in connecting physically with each other and the audience.

Our set opened with Weaver’s Key, the first piece we composed together. The writing process began with an improvised jam session that we recorded and then created the structure from there. We love playing music with a strong rhythmic groove and a folky sound, and have brought those elements into our own compositions.

Connecting and coming together to learn from and inspire each other

The next piece was an arrangement of Maddalena Casulana’s madrigal Ahi Possanza d’Amor. Casulana was composing in Italy in the 1500s and was the first woman to have her music published ever! The song, with all its luscious harmonies, served as a moment of stillness in our set before transitioning into our latest composition Hysteria, which was written as a companion piece to the madrigal.

Stemming from my initial desire to write a track influenced by two of my favourite musical genres, Renaissance madrigals and industrial techno, Hysteria includes singing, percussive grooves, and fragments of Ahi Possanza d’Amor reconfigured in various ways. Our set ended with Strum by American composer Jessie Montgomery, one of the first pieces we learnt together. It’s a fantastic work and has definitely served as an inspiration for us in figuring out the kind of music we want to play – and write.

As we played our last chord, ‘Let HER MUSIC Play’ had finally reached its end – after 26 hours and 20 minutes. Gabriella joined us on stage for a beautiful speech, thanking all of “the people who believed in [her] crazy idea” and urging everyone to “keep connecting, keep listening, keep understanding that we have a lot more to learn”, which I think perfectly captures the spirit of the event. We all came together to learn from each other, to inspire each other, to feel connected, and we achieved just that.

Photo ofVulva Voce
Thanks to

Vulva Voce

Vulva Voce is a genre-defying string quartet that brings dynamic performances of music composed by women and underrepresented voices to spaces beyond the concert hall. Their mission is to break away from long held conventions of classical music and the string quartet, presenting audiences with radical and refreshing musical experiences. Vulva Voce are performing at the SXSW Festival 2024 in Austin, Texas and have just released their second single "Weaver's Key".

Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

The MU has a democratic structure and a community of over 34,000 members. We use this power to advocate for women and build a better music industry.


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Our Women Member Network is a dedicated space where women from across the country can connect, network and make positive change across the MU and the music industry. The Network ensures that the voices of women are heard, and that opportunities for activism and leadership are created.

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Representing and advocating on behalf of women in music

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