Concert to highlight women in music

West Islip Symphony Orchestra continues exploratory concerts


The West Islip Symphony Orchestra, comprising some of the area’s finest musicians, is known for creatively themed concerts that explore the talents of underrepresented musicians and composers. Last year, the group held a concert exclusively featuring all Black composers—including compositions from local composer Reynard Burns—followed by a concert featuring all Latin American composers.

The upcoming “No Ceilings: Women in Music” concert is no exception to the exploratory concerts, as it will highlight music from female composers.

“It is a continuation of a musical journey that we have been on with the orchestra where we have been exploring musicians and music of different cultures, so this one is the next step in that journey,” explained music director and conductor of the orchestra, Paul Little.

The concert will be held at Beach Street Middle School in West Islip on Friday, March 1, at 8 p.m., and will present featured soloist Eliana Kirkup playing the harp. With the exception of a concerto by Handel performed by Kirkup, every note played at the concert will be composed by a woman.

Kirkup, of Sayville, was inspired by her father, George Kirkup, a fellow member of the West Islip  Symphony, to pursue music and join the orchestra.

“Ever since I was little, I remember my dad would always play the trombone for me and my siblings, so that definitely had an influence on me,” she shared. “I always knew that I wanted to play the harp, so I started playing six and a half years ago.”

Despite only being 16 years old, the talented young harpist and featured soloist of the “No Ceilings: Women in Music” concert is already a member of the Manhattan School of Music precollege.

Little’s passion for conducting the West Islip Symphony’s Orchestra, and his pride and respect for each orchestra member, shines through each of the orchestra’s performances.

“Whenever I am onstage, and whenever I am in front of them, that is when I feel most myself, and that is when I feel most alive as a person. And the group allows me to be that,” shared Little. “We have fun when we are making all this music, and when it comes together onstage, it is definitely a labor of love.”

See the “labor of love” performance for yourself by attending the “No Ceilings: Women in Music” on March 1! Tickets for adults will cost $10 at the door, while student tickets are free. 


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