Inaugurated in 2018, the Minerva Festival aims to elevate the voices of female composers who have been overlooked by the eye of history. Previously known as the Cambridge Female Composers Festival, we adopted our new name (after the Roman goddess of wisdom and art) to better reflect our commitment to supporting the musical endeavours of women and non-binary people, who have both previously been marginalised and continue to face discrimination in the musical world today. To read more about our reasons for starting this festival, check out this blog post from our 2019-2020 chairs, Hannah and Leia.
Find out more about the various aspects of the festival by tapping each of the headings below...
Each year we run a series of free recitals, hosted at various locations around Cambridge, including college chapels, churches and other music venues. These are generally free to attend, with a collection for charity at the end. Aside from these recitals, we also run two larger concerts at the beginning and end of each festival, allowing us to perform larger ensemble pieces, in larger venues. In previous years these have been in Trinity Chapel, Selwyn Chapel, and St Giles Church, and have consisted of repertoire such as Lili Boulanger's Psalm 130, Amy Beach's Gaelic Symphony, and Alice Smith's Symphony in A minor.
As part of our mission to promote research and education around the topic of women composers, we organise a series of talks with a variety of speakers throughout the festival. Previous speakers have included Susan Rutherford, Suzanne Cusick and Anna Beer.
The festival coordinates a series of evensongs throughout Lent Term, encouraging all Cambridge choirs to consider programming a service of works by all women composers in Lent Term, in order to increase the representation of these composers in chapel choirs.
Each year, we run a composition competition for students and alumni of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin, with a small cash prize, and the winning competition being performed in our International Women's Day Concert.
Our blog features articles written by students, music directors, researchers, lecturers and more, on topics ranging from music and motherhood to the gendering of musical instruments throughout history! We welcome guest posts all year round, so please feel free to get in touch at with your blog ideas and proposals.
In order to help people programme more works by women and non-binary composers, we have compiled spreadsheets of repertoire suggested by our committees past and present, for you to browse and use as inspiration for your own concert programming. If you have suggestions that you would like to submit, please fill out the google form and we will add it to the spreadsheet for you!