“Beyond the Grace Note,” new film chronicling road to podium for nine women conductors

Posted on: March 9, 2020

“Through a kaleidoscope of vocation, hopes, dreams, inspirations, and worries about stuff that their male counterparts do not have to consider, nine conductors who happen to be female share their stories in Beyond the Grace Note, an engaging and long-overdue film” airing this month on British TV network Sky Arts, writes Jessica Duchen in Monday’s (3/9) Arts Desk (U.K.). “Director Henrietta Foster has assembled interviewees from Marin Alsop, the one woman conductor who is possibly a household name, to Lithuanian shooting star Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Xian Zhang from China, Joana Carneiro from Portugal, the American Rebecca Miller and several familiar British musicians including Jane Glover, Sian Edwards, Andrea Brown and Alice Farnham. Sensibly, there’s no extraneous narration; their accounts are eloquent enough on their own…. Nobody actually hammers us over the head about the sexism of the music world. Instead the film quietly draws us into these musicians’ worlds and we admire their professionalism and forthright attitude, so that when the ugliness of prejudice rears up, it is all the more shocking…. ‘I hate the gender issue,’ says Glover, ‘because it’s not what’s important.’ And it isn’t. If only we had reached a point when documentaries like this were not necessary.”