Making her mark at the Michigan Phil

Posted on: March 15, 2017

“An older man with gray, thinning hair is likely how many people imagine an orchestral conductor,” writes Joanne Maliszewski in Thursday’s (3/9) Hometown Life (Wayne and Oakland counties, Michigan). “The Michigan Philharmonic and its conductor, however, knocks that stereotype off the charts. Nan Washburn, the award-winning conductor of the Michigan Phil—as it is affectionately known … was among the early ones in what has become a growing cadre of female conductors leaving their mark on the orchestral world. ‘I fought it—being a conductor,’ said Washburn, who has been with the Michigan Phil for 18 years.… ‘What I wanted to do was play in orchestras and teach.’ But when Washburn began seeing other women conduct, she reconsidered her plans….Today, the Plymouth resident is known not only for conducting the Michigan Philharmonic—formerly the Plymouth Symphony—but serving as its concert master and leading the organization’s youth orchestra.… She has added a strong and different dimension…. Beth Stewart, Michigan Phil executive director, can’t say enough about Washburn’s dedication and role in the evolving orchestra and the music for which it is becoming known.… What sets Washburn apart … is that she seeks out new composers, including women, who are collectively expanding the symphonic genre.”

Posted March 15, 2017