Iconic Australian pianist returns to Canberra with provocative concert series celebrating women composers.

“Over the nearly 20 years that I have worked in the classical music world, there has always been mumbling and grumbling about misogyny,” says pianist Sally Whitwell. “In recent times this has become more of a roar.”

The Sydney-based musician has become known as one of Australia’s preeminent concert pianists, composers and educators. In Her Shoes, her latest concert series which will head to Canberra next month, is a personal statement of feminine empowerment.

While it is a seemingly inclusive and diverse industry, the arts community is hardly immune from discrimination. Russian maestros Vasily Petrenko and Yuri Temirkanov sparked a maelstrom of criticism last year after their sexist comments about female conductors, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra is notorious for its gender bias, and women are rarely chosen for top arts management roles. Whitwell says it is time to buck this trend of male dominance, particularly in terms of musical repertoire.

“Women have written a great deal of wonderfully moving music over the centuries,” she says. “I feel disappointed when I turn on my radio and hear a second rate piece by a man instead of a first rate...