Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fanfare for the uncommon woman conductor

Following that rather daft public row about Vassily Petrenko's alleged remarks re women conductors, I thought we'd do something constructive. I spent some of yesterday afternoon tweeting the names and websites of as many women conductors as I could think of. You all wrote in with suggestions and we ended up with a very fine list indeed. Special thanks to my doughty colleague Toby Deller, who also had the good sense to introduce a hashtag. [NB I am still updating the list below - plenty more of them! So please keep tweeting the missing links and keep checking back for our additions...]

A few of the conclusions to draw here are as follows.

1. There are more women conductors than you think. People believe our dear Marin Alsop is the only one. She ain't.

2. They don't often get the important dates that will be reviewed. Some people want to blame us journalists for their lack of recognition, but with concert review space tighter than it has ever been in history, it is usually the "big gigs" that get the attention, and the women conductors - with the exception of Marin and the Last Night of the Proms - are not being given the big gigs.

3. The women conductors I know are heartily sick of being asked why there aren't more women conductors - mostly because there are.They would like, please, recognition first and foremost and, ideally, only for their work as musicians, regardless of gender...

4. [Update, 5 Sept, 13:49] I think that's what's emerging here, as the list steams on with well over 50 names and rising, is that there are plenty of women who are conductors, but one heck of a glass ceiling regarding where they work. [Update, 7 October, 18:49 - the list is now NEARLY 100 strong! Thank you to everybody who has written in to contribute!]

In no particular order, here's the march of the women.

Zoi Tsokanou.
Was in Gustav Mahler Bamberg competition this year & Haitink masterclasses in Lucerne.

Monica Buckland Hofstetter
British-Swiss, currently in charge of conducting chorus & orchestra at the University of Dresden.

Jessica Cottis
Young Australian-British conductor whose name came up more often in suggestions on Twitter yesterday than anyone else's.

Anu Tali
Estonian suprema, music director of Sarasota Orchestra & Nordic Symphony Orchestra.

Julia Jones:
Admired Brit, extremely well recognised in Germany, did Cosi at Covent Garden not so long ago.

Xian Zhang.
I have loved the performances of hers that I've heard at ENO.

Simone Young
Extremely well-established, has been chief conductor at the Hamburg Opera (just leaving now).

Eve Queler
New York-based operatic expert.

JoAnn Falletta
Music director of the Ulster Orchestra.

Suzi Digby
That ultimate mover and shaker of choirs and galvaniser of community and youth music.

Nia Llewellyn Jones @niallewellynj
Young conductor fresh out of Cambridge, being nurtured by CBSO.

Jane Glover:
Arch-Mozartian and author.

Sian Edwards
She is head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.

Susanna Mälkki  
Much-admired principal conductor of the Gulbenkian Orchestra, Portugal. 

Alondra de la Parra  
Among much else, an official cultural ambassador for Mexican tourism.

Emmanuelle Haim  
Extraordinary Baroque specialist from France.

Kelly Lovelady
From Australia, with an unforgettable name.

Odaline de la Martinez
Founder of Lontano.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla  
Conducting 'fellow' at the LA Phil.

Kristiina Poska
Prizewinning Estonian who's been rising fast, not least via the Komische Oper, Berlin

Ewa Strusinska  
Spent some time with the Halle and now works internationally from Poland 

Jeanne Lamon  
Baroque marvel, head of Tafelmusik

Sarah Ioannides  
Born in Australia, grew up in the UK, now based in the US.

Tania Miller
 Music director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Canada

Claire Gibault
Both conductor and MEP!

Barbara Hannigan
This extraordinary soprano, star of Benjamin's Written on Skin, is also a conductor.

Gemma New
Assistant conductor at New Jersey SO

Rebecca Miller
London-based US conductor

Alice Farnham
Music director of Welsh National Youth Opera for Paul Bunyan this year

Akiko Ohtomo
Director of the Hokusai Orchestra (formed in 2010)

Anne Manson
Among much else, she was the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival

Yip Wing-Sie
Music director of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Sybille Werner
Mahler authority

Alicja Mounk
A long and distinguished career

Holly Mathieson
Young New Zealander, based in Berlin

Monique Krus
Dutch conductor, composer and soprano (site above doesn't mention the conducting, but she is recommended by a friend who saw her conduct last week)

Laurence Equilbey
Fine French maestra, especially noted for opera. Another one for the appropriate-names department.

Jennifer Condon
Music director of the wonderfully-titled Owl's Nest Opera in Austalia

Karen Kamensek
Music director of Staatstheater Hannover

Carolyn Watson
Orchestra director, Interlochen Arts Academy

Han-Na Chang
She's the most fabulous cellist and now she's become a conductor!

Mei-Anne Chen
Music director of Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony

Joana Carneiro
Music director, Berkeley Symphony

Amy Bebbington
Choral specialist

Laura Jackson
Music director, Reno Philharmonic

Catherine Winnes Trevino
Norwegian maestra - sites in Norwegian

Halldis Rønning
Assistant conductor, Bergen Philharmonic

Carolyn Kuan
Music director, Hartford Symphony

Matilda Hofman
Music director, Diablo Symphony, California

Nicolette Fraillon
Music director & chief conductor of Australian Ballet

Sarah Grace Williams
Chief conductor & artistic director, The Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney

Speranza Scappucci
Is opening the forthcoming Scottish Opera season with Don Giovanni

Susan Hollingworth
Conductor of Sine Nomine Choir and much more

Sarah Baldock
Master of the choristers & organist at Chichester Cathedral. One of the first women ever to be appointed at one.

Katherine Dienes-Williams
Master of the choristers & organist at Guildford Cathedral (see above)

Sarah Macdonald
Director of Music in Chapel, Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Kim Diehnelt
Music director & chief conductor, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, US

Jeri Lynne Johnson
Founder & conductor, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, US

Isabelle Ruf-Weber
German conductor based in Baden-Wurttemberg

Sinead Hayes
Young Irish conductor who opened the RTE Concert Orchestra's summer lunchtime concert series.

Roberta Peroni 
Conductor & chorus manager in Bari, Italy.

Talia Ilan
Music director of the Israel Stage Orchestra & guest conductor with many Israeli orchestras.

Ewa Michnik
Director, Opera Wroclaw, Poland.

Eun Sun Kim
Is conducting Die Fledermaus at ENO this season.

Maja Matelska
Polish conductor, has scooped quite a few competition prizes.

Marzena Diakun
Polish, winner of 2nd prize in last year's Fitelberg Competition, and highly recommended by one of my colleagues who's in the know.

Gisele Ben-Dor
Israeli conductor laureate of Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra

Victoria Bond
American composer and conductor. Her website says she has been staying in the guest flat at Brahms's house near Baden-Baden (this has long been my own aspiration!) and writing an opera about Clara Schumann.

Rei Hotada
Has been assistant conductor at the Dallas Symphony and has been making important debuts around the US & Canada this season.

Sarah Hicks
Staff conductor at the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, among much else.

Anna Skryleva
Russian, has been working in some fine German opera houses including Karlsruhe & Hamburg

Tara Simoncic
Young American conductor, has been featured in the Guardian

Amelia LeClair
Scholar and early music choral conductor, based at Brandeis University

Nicole Paiement
Director of Ensembles, University of California Santa Cruz.

Rosemary Thomson
Music director, Okanagan Symphony.

Dalia Atlas
From Haifa. Has recorded a lot of Bloch.

Graziella Contratto
Swiss conductor with a fine track record.

Jessica Gethin
Principal conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Australia

Carolin Nordmeyer
Theater Augsburg, Germany

Alissa Firsova
Multi-talented composer, conductor and pianist. Daughter of the composers Dimitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova.

Nathalie Stutzmann
The noted French mezzo-soprano is conducting as well. 

Andrea Quinn
British conductor, now based in the US. Was chief conductor at New York City Ballet, then at Norrlands Operan, Sweden.

Anne Marie Granau
Chorus master at Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

Silvia Sanz Torre
Spanish conductor - intrigued to see she has conducted rare Albeniz opera The Magic Opal.

Kate Tamarkin
Music director, Charlottesville and Univesity Symphony Orchestra, Charlottesville, US

Natalia Luis-Bassa
Venezuelan conductor in the UK. Hit headlines a few years ago by walking out on the Huddersfield Philharmonic due to interpersonal problems with players being "disrespectful". Was a mentor in BBC's Maestro series. Teaches at RCM.

Sarah Tenant-Flowers
Choral conductor, UK, teacher, animateur - and also a mentor on Maestro.

Elizabeth Schulze
Music director, Flagstaff and Maryland Symphony Orchestras, US

Sandra Horst
Chorus master of Canadian Opera

Grete Pedersen
Artistic leader, Norwegian Soloists Choir

Mary Chun
In demand in contemporary music and opera, US. Premiered Adams's I was looking at the ceiling...

Sara Jobin
Artistic director, Centre for Contemporary Opera, New York.

Renee Baker
Music director, Chicaco Modern Orchestra Project

Beatrice Jona Affron
Music director and conductor, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Natalia Salinas
Conductor based in her native Argentina

Ann Krinitsky
Director, Marin Symphony Youth Performance Programmes, etc - based in the Bay Area.

Karina Canellakis
Winner, 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship (founded by Marin Alsop)

Sebrina Maria Alfonso
Music director, South Florida Symphony

Diane Wittry
Music director, Allentown Symphony  

Denise Ham
Sought-after teacher of conducting in the UK

Sharon Choa
Artistic director & principal conductor, Chamber Orchestra Anglia, which she founded in 2001

Rachael Young
Has been assistant conductor to Paavo Jarvi & Leonid Grin, will Russian Virtuosi of Europe at Cadogan Hall in June 14.

Kayoko Dan
Music director, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera 

Apo Hsu
Assistant conductor of Oregon Symphony under James de Priest

Joana Mallwitz
Is conducting Das Rheingold in Macau in October 2013 and has been doing more Wagner in Riga.

Yuri Nitta
Tokyo-born Nordic music specialist

Keiko Mitsuhashi
2nd prize & audience prize in 2010 International Conducting Competition 'Arturo Toscanini'; 1st prize in 2008 Antonio Pedrotti Conducting Competition. 

Kanako Abe
Born in Osaka, now based in Paris. Co-founder & music director of Ensemble Multilatérale

Yoko Matsuo *Link needed, please send if you have one!*
Pioneer of women conductors in Japan and first woman to win the Besançon competition in 1982. 

Lindsay Ryan
London-based conductor, founder in 2009 of Harmony Sinfonia  

Heather MacLaughlin Garbes
Lives in Seattle, works with Baltic Studies Department/Baltic Choral Library at the University of Washington
Zheng Xiaoying
Principal conductor of the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director of her own Opera Centre.

Shi-Yeon Sung
Winner of 2006 Sir Georg Solti International Conductors Competition.

Keri-Lynn Wilson
Canadian-born conductor, currently music director of Slovenian Philharmonic. Triumphant London debut at ENO for The Girl of the Golden West.

Susanne Riddell
Cellist, teacher and conductor of the Wessex Youth Orchestra, Poole, with further plans in the offing.

Didn't think so. Ask instead why we do not hear them more often. 

(Oh, and please, please, please stop throwing mud at Petrenko. Enough, already. Let's get some sense of proportion into this - many worse things are going on around us than that, and the chances are that he was joking/misquoted/manipulated for sensationalisation purposes, probably all three.)