Few women conductors among Seattle Symphony candidates

Posted on: May 24, 2010

In Sunday’s (5/24) Seattle Times, Melinda Bargreen writes, “The parade of official and unofficial candidates for the Seattle Symphony music directorship has made Benaroya Hall an increasingly interesting place to visit. The guest conductors who seek to pick up the baton from Gerard Schwarz (when he steps down next year) are a highly diverse group in terms of experience, age and national origin. But not in terms of sex. … The only maestras among the maestros are the orchestra’s former associate conductor, Carolyn Kuan, and Lisbon native Joana Carneiro, now music director of the Berkeley Symphony. … It’s not that the Seattle Symphony is a sexist organization. The SSO was ahead of its time in the women music-director arena, with Mary Davenport-Engberg as music director way back in 1921-24. … So why are there so few ‘chicks with sticks’ in the current lineup? … One reason that women have risen to the top in the orchestras’ executive offices, but not as often on the podium, could be that business offices aren’t as resistant to change as the relatively conservative orchestra—where the male dress code still recalls the 18th-century origin of white tie and tails.”

Posted May 24, 2010