Women’s Works members consist of: music educator Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum; musicologist Jennifer DeLapp-Birkett; vocalist Karen Dumont; flutist Beth Kelly; and vocalist Kristen Park. Our mission is to promote the awareness of women composers, past and present, through musical performances. Our main objective is to provide concerts composed of music solely by women. We provide an eclectic mix of music ranging from the Middle Ages to the present, and our concerts contain readings by and about the composers illustrating the composers' lives, musical challenges, and triumphs in their own words and the words of their contemporaries. The concerts are accessible to a wide community audience and are intended to make audiences aware of the breadth of the musical accomplishments by women.
In addition Women’s Works awards a Young Composer Competition and frequently commissions and premiers works by local women composers with the purpose of providing role models and inspiration to young women.
The group has successfully produced concerts of works by women composers since 2000 and has produced 2 full-length staged works. They were invited performers for the first annual Light in Winter celebration and have performed concerts celebrating women for Wells College, Festival for Women in the Arts, and the First Presbyterian spring concert series.
Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum is a music teacher, choral director, performer and concert coordinator with music degrees from Ithaca College and Columbia University. She is currently on the faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts and the Namaste Montessori School and is the choir director at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca. She has extensive experience in managing performances from concerts to opera and has held positions on the boards of the Kodaly Organization of New York, the Cornell Savoyards and the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble.
Jennifer DeLapp Birkett has a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology (University of Michigan, 1997) and nine years of experience as full‐time faculty at state universities in the Midwest and the Washington D.C. area. Presently, she is an independent scholar living in Ithaca who is involved with the Ithaca City School District’s Fine Arts Booster Group, and does consulting for a music foundation in New York City. She also has training and experience in Music Together classes for young children and in the Robert Pace Piano Method, and enjoys teaching music to people of all ages.
Karen Dumont has performed frequently in the Ithaca area, most recently as a member and soloist with the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble. She has performed many lead roles in operetta and musical theater, most notably with the Cornell Savoyards, and has also appeared in the Kitchen Sink series, at the Firehouse and with Gateway Theatre. When she's not singing, Karen spends much of her time taking care of her three young boys. In her spare time, Dr. Dumont works part-time as a veterinarian.
Beth Kelly has been performing and teaching flute in the Ithaca area for over 20 years. She received her formal training on flute with Eleanor Lawrence and Carol Wincenc and holds a Bachelors Degree in Flute Performance and Masters in Early Music Performance on baroque flute from Indiana University. She is a member of Women’s Works and Fingerlakes Flutes and has performed with NYS Baroque and numerous other chamber /orchestral ensembles throughout the region. In addition to performing on flute, baroque flute, recorders and voice, Beth has worked at the Cornell Music Library for over 10 years where she is a music cataloger.
Kristen Park is frequently seen performing in operetta and musical theater in the area. In addition, she has produced shows and concerts for over 25 years for such organizations as Savoyards Musical Theatre (formerly Cornell Savoyards), Women’s Works, and Dryden Footlighters. She has also sung with the Ithaca Community Chorus and Chamber Singers, the Delaware Valley Opera, the Renaissance Singers, and the choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Dryden and collaborated with Ithaca Shakespeare as performer and costume assistant. She conducts market research at Cornell.
William Cowdery pianist, harpsichordist and organist, serves as a teaching associate at Cornell University, and musical director and organist of the First Congregational Church. He has taught on the faculties of Ithaca College, Colgate University and Keuka College as performer, musicologist and theorist. He performs widely in the upstate New York area as organist, harpsichordist, pianist and conductor. He has appeared frequently as soloist, accompanist and lecturer at Bach festivals in the northeast. He has been a three-year fellow of the Bach Aria Festival at Stony Brook, New York, and has held a Fulbright Fellowship in England. Mr. Cowdery holds a Ph.D. from Cornell for a dissertation on the cantatas of J. S. Bach. He authored numerous articles in the New Harvard Dictionary of Music and the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Musicians (1996). Recently he co-edited The Compleat Mozart with Neal Zaslaw, published by W. W. Norton.