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Women Composers Orchestra records

Identifier: PIMS-0050

Scope and Contents

The Women Composers Orchestra records (1985-1995) primarily contain administrative papers of the organization. These include the historical outlines of the WCO, lists of members, correspondence, tax documents, and grant applications. Also included are concert programs, newspaper clippings, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1985-1995


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Peabody Archives. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

The Women Composers Orchestra was formed in 1985 under the name of the Maryland Women’s Symphony. The purpose of the WCO was to perform compositions of women composers both past and present, and to make women’s compositions a part of the musical mainstream. The WCO was based in Baltimore and gave two to five concerts per year, mostly within the city. The WCO performed at the Peabody Conservatory, the Johns Hopkins University, and other local and regional colleges and museums. It was conducted exclusively by women but included both men and women, and for this reason the name was changed from the Maryland Women’s Symphony to the Women Composers Orchestra in 1988.

The WCO was managed by an all-volunteer board of directors with a variety of professional and managerial backgrounds. Financial support came from admissions, memberships, grants, and fundraising events. To operate within its financial resources, the board kept a high quality of performances by reducing the number of musicians but paying them union wages. However, this was not enough to keep the orchestra afloat, and the last concert of the Women Composers Orchestra was held on May 20, 1995.


1.14 Cubic Feet (3 full-size letter boxes)

Language of Materials



The Women Composers Orchestra operated in Baltimore from 1985 to 1995 with the mission to perform compositions of women composers both past and present. The collection primarily consists of the organization's administrative documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Millie Tyssowski in 2003.

Processing Information

Processed by Grace Minghsuan Tsai in 2016.


Guide to the Women Composers Orchestra records
Kerri Sheehan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA