Female music directors breaking the glass ceiling, one “Messiah” at a time

Posted on: December 1, 2017

“When the Seattle Symphony presents its annual ‘Messiah’ Dec. 15-17, there will be a woman on the podium,” writes Melinda Bargreen in Thursday’s (11/30) Seattle Times. “You might not think this fact is worthy of a ‘Hallelujah,’ until you consider that Ruth Reinhardt will be the first woman in the orchestra’s history to conduct this annual and beloved holiday fixture. This is a milestone worth considering. … Female conductors are a comparative rarity … around the world, at a point in history when women instrumentalists are commonplace.… Female orchestra musicians make up 36 percent of the Seattle Symphony…. The Seattle Symphony … has had an unbroken succession of male music directors. But women have also made their mark, as guest conductors, and assistant and associate conductors. Former SSO associate conductor Carolyn Kuan is now music director of the Hartford Symphony (in Connecticut); former Seattle Symphony conducting fellow Ruth Reinhardt … is assistant conductor of the Dallas Symphony.” The article includes comments from conductors with Northwest connections: Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma; Frances Walton, the 89-year-old conductor and pianist who founded the Olympic Youth Symphony and Philharmonia Northwest; and Kuan and Reinhardt.

Posted December 1, 2017

Pictured: Ruth Reinhardt will conduct the Seattle Symphony’s in Handel’s “Messiah” in December. Photo courtesy of Seattle Symphony