More women are heading arts organizations, but change is slow

Posted on: September 3, 2019

Seattle Opera’s new general director, Christina Scheppelmann, is “one of only two women heading up a major opera company in the United States,” writes Christy Karras in Thursday’s (8/29) Seattle Times. “Why are there so few women at the top in classical music? … Arts managers work long hours but may not earn enough to afford a nanny or to have the other parent stay at home…. Women are quickly climbing the ranks at many of the nation’s small and mid-size companies…. One example: Symphony Tacoma, where both the music director, Sarah Ioannides, and general director, Karina Bharne, are women…. For the past few years, the League of American Orchestras’ Women Composers Readings and Commissions program has commissioned work from women composers, pieces later played by major orchestras. Its latest national conference was largely themed around increasing diversity and included a session on ‘Championing Women Composers.’… Anna Edwards [music director of the Saratoga Orchestra of Whidbey Island] founded the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra, which matches amateur musicians with professionals, partly with the aim of mentoring less experienced musicians…. In the conducting camps she holds … each year, she tries to keep the ratio of men to women roughly equal.”

Posted September 3, 2019

In photo: The Saratoga Orchestra on Whidbey Island and Music Director Anna Edwards in performance. The orchestra is based in Washington State. Photo by Bob Young