Slow pace for increase in numbers of female music directors

Posted on: December 23, 2013

In Sunday’s (12/22) New York Times, Zachary Woolfe writes that “the bizarrely retrograde comments a few respected male musicians had recently made about female conductors” has “rightfully drawn attention to the broader situation faced by women in the field.” Those comments, by Vasily Petrenko, Yuri Temirkanov, and Bruno Mantovani, were widely reported in the media earlier this year. “Last Monday, the British conductor Jane Glover made her Metropolitan Opera debut…. She is only the third female conductor in the company’s 133-year history…. Orchestras have … better numbers … but more than half of the 20 top ones I canvassed had no female guest leaders on their main series this season or last.” Among the conductors interviewed in Woolfe’s article are Marin Alsop, Gemma New, Anne Manson, Laura Jackson, Jane Glover, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, Sian Edwards, and Susanna Mälkki, as well as Los Angeles Philharmonic President and CEO Deborah Borda. Woolfe continues: “Nearly everyone I spoke to said that the problem was that the field of experienced women was not yet deep enough for it really to percolate into the top orchestras and opera companies, making the training grounds for young artists the next battleground…. How long will it take to achieve fairness? … ‘The processes are slow,’ Ms. Edwards said. ‘But they are there and they are moving.’ ”

Posted December 23, 2013