Are we at a tipping point with female conductors?

Posted on: July 28, 2016

“Once considered a protected male preserve, symphony orchestras are becoming the most gender-blind employers in the U.S. The St. Louis Symphony had 18 women out of 88 musicians in 1964. In 2016, more than half of its musicians were women,” writes Melvyn Krauss on Wednesday (7/27) at “Today, over 50 percent of the chairs in the top 250 U.S. orchestras are filled by women…. Most experts credit blind auditions.… The same hasn’t held true for highly visible orchestral leadership posts, such as conductors and other principal jobs…. But that redoubt of male chauvinism too seems to be disappearing. When Andris Nelsons left the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO), he was replaced by the very talented 29-year-old Lithuanian, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla. Susanna Malkki’s recent appointment as principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic is another sign things are changing…. The floodgates are about to open for female conductors in the next decade…. The Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, starting Aug.12, is making female conductors and musicians [its] central focus.… Twelve top female conductors … are scheduled to perform. Those lucky enough to attend can judge for themselves the depth of the current pool of top female conductors.”

Posted July 28, 2016

In photos, from left: Marin Alsop, Susanna Mälkki, Anu Tali, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and Mei-Ann Chen