BACKGROUND & FAQs

Q: Why does the IAWM have a Congress every 3-5 years?

(1) Congresses fill a niche by displaying and advocating for some of the finest current products of women in music about women in music.  It is the only organization worldwide to do so.

(2) Congresses are part of the history of the Alliance, dating back more than 20 years to the International Congress on Women in Music, founded in 1979 by Jeannie Pool, which provided women-in music conferences and meetings.  When the ICWM and two other organizational foremothers of IAWM–American Women Composers, founded in 1976 by Tommie E. Carl to promote music by women composers, and the International League of Women Composers, founded in 1975 by Nancy Van de Vate to create and expand opportunities for women composers of serious music, including a journal, now the IAWM Journal–were blended in 1994-1995 to create the IAWM, the Congress became a primary project of the newly established IAWM.

Q: Where are IAWM Congresses held and who decides who will host?

The IAWM Board and Congress Committee help decide.  Past patterns have been to alternate a Congress site outside the United States with one inside, including Vienna, Austria (May 1995); Valencia, CA (Cal Arts, May 1997); London, England (July, 1999); Beijing, People’s Republic of China (2008); Flagstaff, AZ (NAU, 2011); and several Congresses under ICWM between 1980 and the founding of IAWM, twice in New York, NY; and in Mexico City; Los Angeles, CA; Atlanta, GA; Bremen/Heidelberg, GER; Bilboa, SPA; and Paris, FRA.

Q: Why is the 2015 Congress online?

(1) It is a natural outgrowth of the innovative nature of the IAWM.

(2) During the past few years of worldwide economic recession, no international host with the capacity to hold an IAWM Congress has come forward with a workable proposal.

(3) It is a special way to celebrate our first 20 years as IAWM.

Q: How does an online Congress differ from a site-based one?

A site-based Congress encourages participants, who must pay a registration fee and all personal and travel expenses, to submit a proposal of, for example, a musical score, and hope for selection so that an ensemble at the site will prepare and perform the work.  The audience for the performed score is on-site and limited in size to the venue.

An online Congress encourages participants, who pay no registration fee and have no travel expenses, to submit a proposal of, for example, a musical score; then, if it is selected, participants must prepare and generate a final video (or optional audio) recording and submit it several weeks before the dates of the Congress.  (Some of the money saved on registration fee and travel may be needed for the expense of recording; additionally, funds are available in the form of a number of small subsidies from Wake Forest University and IAWM to winners in a competitive application process.) The scope of those who hear the performance online are a worldwide audience of registrants.  In other words, an online Congress encourages participants to submit their best polished works in recorded form for a worldwide audience to experience and enjoy.

The online IAWM Congress 2015 offers a second way of participating, as well: a live performance, for example, during the Congress by the presenter providing a webinar-type event locally and streaming it to the Congress website, with or without an audience and questions-and-answers on-site.  It is hoped that the live performance will also be recorded by the submitter and provided to us for replay later in the Congress.

Q: Why can only IAWM members in good standing submit Congress proposals?

It is one of the benefits of IAWM membership.

Q: What about intellectual property rights?

Each submitter “owns” the materials submitted.  IAWM does not assume ownership and will make available to the public Congress events only during the Congress.  It will also archive all materials, as it has for previous Congresses.  Materials not in the public domain are submitted to the educational purposes of the Congress, which is allowed under U.S. Copyright.  Further information may be found under the rubric “Disclaimers.”

Q: If composers wanted to “submit works to be considered for performance,” does that mean there were performers available? Or did they provide video of a performer doing the work?

Composers, indeed everyone submitting unless they intended to stream live during the Congress, needed to provide video. For live streaming, as well, proposers needed to provide performers or other required presenters.

 Q: Any copyright issues in this worldwide Congress?

If a country blocks copyrighted material to be streamed within its national borders, neither the IAWM nor individuals will be able to override the block.  We anticipate that this possibly may happen.  If it does, then we will be able to gather firsthand information about online music-blocking, as advocates for women in music.