Women on the podium, in the orchestra, as composers: where we are now

Posted on: April 14, 2017

“For women entering the field of classical music, there’s some good news and some bad news,” writes Peter Alexander on Thursday (4/13) in his blog Sharps & Flatirons. “The good news: professional orchestras are filled with women today, a vast contrast to 40 or 50 years ago when orchestras were almost entirely male…. The bad news is that the picture is not nearly as rosy for women composers … and women conductors…. According to … the League of American Orchestras, the percentage of women instrumentalists has gone from 38.2% in 1978 … to nearly 50% today…. Statistics kept by the Baltimore Symphony … show that only 1.8% of all works performed by major orchestras in 2014–15 were by women…. The League of American Orchestras reports that among all conductors at league orchestras … 14.6% are women… At least the way is now open for women to learn the skills as conductors…. The Dallas Opera has made a 20-year commitment to its Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors. The League of American Orchestras has held special programs for women conductors.” Among those quoted are conductors JoAnn Falletta, Beverly Everett, Cynthia Katsarelis, and Laura Jackson; trumpeter Susan Slaughter, violinist Elizabeth Baker; and composers Jennifer Higdon, Missy Mazzoli, and Kristin Kuster.

Posted April 14, 2017

Photo of JoAnn Falletta by Mark Dellas