A nne Boyd smashed through the glass ceiling as the first woman and first Australian appointed as professor of music at the University of Sydney in 1991. Yet Boyd (b 1946) says she was always made to feel like a second class citizen because she was a woman. In her 1996 composition Meditations on a Chinese character, she quotes a poem by medieval Buddhist Lady Sarashina:

“Here they grow in mountain depths
Far from any dwelling place
And no one comes to view their blooms.”

“It felt to me like it was the voice of all the women composers that had ever composed in the world before,” Boyd explained. “They create great beauty but no one listens, no one hears, they don’t have a permanent place. And I felt one of them.”

Anne Boyd, Women Composers Anne Boyd. Photo courtesy of Anne Boyd