This year’s She Speaks festival, an event celebrating the cornucopia of music by female composers, should be the final nail in the coffin for any arguments about the merits of programming music by women.

In its second year, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s She Speaks has grown into a two-day event encompassing music from the past 400 years, as well as a screening of the film Women Composers and a symposium on pathways to gender equity in concert programs. This year, She Speaks’ inaugural curator Anne Cawrse was joined in the role by Anna Goldsworthy. Together they have produced a festival of exceptional quality, with remarkable musical diversity and thoughtful curation across the five concert programs.

Elder Music Lab. Photo supplied

The concert on Friday evening, performed by the emerging performers of the Elder Music Lab, featured recent music by Australian women. Titled Home-Grown, it opened with Mungala by Yuin composer Brenda Gifford – a recent addition to the alto flute repertoire and a favourite work of this reviewer. Mungala is the word for clouds in the Dhurga language, and Gifford paints a vivid image through ethereal timbres that gradually shift throughout the...