Reflecting on forward progress for women at orchestras

Posted on: October 30, 2019

In a Tuesday (10/29) blog post at the Minnesota Orchestra’s website, Wendy Williams, a longtime flutist in the orchestra, writes that orchestra’s upcoming concerts guest conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann and featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe have prompted her to “reflect on the progress and success of women in the world of orchestral music, particularly in the Minnesota Orchestra…. Women are quickly approaching 50 percent of our ranks, including a significant number in key principal roles. This mirrors a trend … in orchestras all over the country, but opportunities for women have not always been so abundant. During [the Minnesota Orchestra’s] first four decades … only one woman was a full-time musician: violinist Jenny Cullen, who joined in 1923…. Our President and CEO, Michelle Miller Burns … was preceded nearly a century earlier by Verna Golden Scott, who served as manager of the Orchestra from 1924 to 1938…. Though progress has been slow for women in the world of conducting, our current Orchestra season features three women guest conductors along with many offerings led by our staff conductors, Akiko Fujimoto and Sarah Hicks…. I see an empowering and supportive atmosphere for the work of women here, and it is progress to celebrate.”

Posted October 30, 2019

In photo: The Minnesota Orchestra’s first-violin section, with Concertmaster Erin Keefe at left