March 10, 2021

Women Musicians Perform on Often Overlooked Instruments

BAGPIPES AND MORE: Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato is among the “leading ladies” of classical music to be celebrated in a free concert stream by Princeton University Concerts on March 28.

Princeton University Concerts pays tribute to Women’s History Month by spotlighting four “leading ladies” of classical music who are pioneers of instruments often overlooked in the mainstream. Accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, bagpiper Cristina Pato, harpist Bridget Kibbey, and saxophonist Jess Gillam with pianist James Baillieu will present an international virtual concert streaming from London, Barcelona, and New York City on Sunday, March 28, at 3 p.m.

This free “Watch Party,” a continuation of Princeton University Concerts’ commitment to presenting world-class artistry at no charge to the public during the course of the pandemic, will showcase a varied program. The four musicians will follow their individual performances with a group discussion and live Q&A, in a discussion both amongst themselves and directly with viewers. These women all share the distinction of being pioneers in their field, being the first of their gender or instrument to accomplish milestones within the music industry — the first saxophonist to be signed to the Decca Classics record label; the first female Galician bagpipe player to ever release a solo album; the “Yo-Yo Ma of the harp” who has pushed the instrument into unchartered genres; and an accordionist who is as comfortable appearing at the Mostly Mozart Festival as she is performing alongside Sting.

“All four of our leading ladies have either appeared, or were scheduled to appear, in separate events on Princeton University Concerts’ Performances Up Close series — a format allowing audience members to sit onstage right alongside the musicians in informal, hour-long concerts,” said series director Marna Seltzer. “The intimacy allowed by this series has been especially missed during a time of pandemic. Yet the ability to present all four together in a virtual concert provides an incredible opportunity to tap into the trailblazing energy that they all share, and to celebrate that spirit in the uniquely up-close manner allowed by technology. I can think of no better way to mark Women’s History Month then with these remarkable pioneers.”    

Continuing the initiative of partnering with local food vendors for Watch Party events, Princeton University Concerts has joined forces with the Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville, owned by James Beard Foundation fellow Joanne Canady-Brown. The bakery has designed a $20 “O.G. Leading Ladies of the Gingered Peach” feast incorporating Cuban and Puerto Rican savory items and a pineapple upside down cake, in honor of the matriarchs of their family. The Gingered Peach will donate $5 from every purchased box to the Trenton Youth Orchestra, part of Princeton University’s Trenton Arts at Princeton program bringing together Princeton and Trenton students through the performing arts. Boxes can be ordered by email ( or by phone (609-896-5848) through Thursday, March 25, and can be picked up on Sunday, March 28, between 12-2 p.m. at the Gingered Peach, 2 Gordon Avenue, Lawrenceville.

The concert stream will remain available for on-demand viewing until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 24. While this free virtual event is non-ticketed, attendees are highly encouraged to RSVP in advance at