New Festival to Honor Daphne Oram and Other Women Who Pioneered Electronic Music

Rarely do you hear of festivals or ceremonies honoring women in music. Hell, it’s not often you hear of festivals even featuring very many women. So news of London’s new festival, Deep Minimalism, is especially heartening, and doubly so because it’s one that is honoring some of the women who pioneered the electronic/synth movement in the 20th century, specifically Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Eliane Radigue, and Pauline Oliveros.

The festival will feature the first ever performance of Daphne Oram’s “Still Point,” a 30-minute orchestral composition featuring both prerecorded and live instruments, which were treated with recording equipment as they were performed — something that had almost never been done before. Her whole technique was absolutely new, and was named, fittingly, Oramics. (This was in 1950.) It’ll be performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra and composer Shiva Feshareki. There’ll be a performance of a John Cage piece, too, and one from Pauline Oliveros, which will, as the website states, be “performed with rocks specially sourced from the Suffolk coastlines.”

The festival will be held at London’s Southbank Centre from June 24 thru June 26. Check out the website for the full schedule.

Watch this news clip of Daphne Oram from a few decades back. This stuff would be damn interesting today; it was groundbreaking back then. For more info on Oram and other female pioneers of electronic sounds, go here.

Listen to one of her songs here: