International Womens Day project

Oakleigh Brass is very keen to perform music by Australian women. 

Our International Women’s Day project is to research an Australian composer, rescue the music by creating up-to-date arrangements, and then record them to share. These are informal recordings, made during rehearsals.

We then perform the IWD work at every opportunity around Melbourne, taking the opportunity to share the composer’s story. We’ve set ourselves the goal of including at least 25% of our music by women at every performance throughout the year, including one from our IWD projects.

Please contact Oakleigh Brass for parts and scores if you would like to perform any of these pieces.

Re-introducing these amazing women:

Emmeline Mary Woolley 2024

Esther Kahn

Annie May Summerbelle

Caroline Martyr

Florence Donaldson-Ewart

Our 2024 IWD project rediscovered New South Wales composer Emmeline Mary Woolley with her chorus “Hush the Spindles” from her cantata The Captive Soul, published in 1896. Emmeline was well-known in her time for her musical work, especially working with her partner, poet Ethel Pedley, to introduce music examinations to New South Wales.


Our 2023 IWD project is another New South Wales composer Esther Kahn, with her “Coronation Waltz, first published in 1911. Esther was a well respected composer of her time, but is now perhaps best remembered for introducing music therapy into hospitals.


Our 2022 IWD project rediscovered the prolific New South Wales composer  Annie May Summerbelle, with her opus 6 “Valkyrie March


“Mrs Martyr’s waltz” is a wonderful example of her time. Caroline Martyr published this waltz as a fund-raiser to purchase a piano so that she could give music lessons to provide her family with income. Recorded March 2021, in Oakleigh Hall, during COVID restrictions.

Florence Donaldson-Ewart was an accomplished violinist when she arrived in Melbourne in 1907. Florence performed in Melbourne, and taught violin at Melbourne University. Her compositions are now mostly forgotten but were popular in her time. We found this music in the Florence Ewart collection in the Grainger museum. It was first performed on the weekend of the International Women’s Day in 1940. Recorded March 2020, in Oakleigh Hall.