Last year conductor Rachael Worby left her position at the Pasadena Pops after 11 seasons with the ensemble. The announcement was in the LA Times last August. Though she never completely receded into the background, fans have been waiting for word of a new project for the conductor. Lucky for us, she just announced a new concert series called Muse/ique, which will have a debut concert in July before a full concert season that will begin in early 2012.
More information about the ensemble and future programming can be found through the Muse/ique website.
Worby’s diverse background, which includes being a former First Lady of West Virginia (1990-1997), has always promoted the Arts and a diverse approach to programming, and I have no doubt that this will continue in her future endeavors. You can read a New York Times interview with Worby from 1994 here. Also available via Worby’s FaceBook page is a conversation that Worby had with Christina Hamlett about music and conducting. The below quote is taken from the article when Worby was asked whether there is a proverbial glass ceiling in conducting:
“Let me tell you something about that ceiling,” she reveals. “It’s actually ferro-cement and I’ve hit it a couple of times.” In a recent op-ed piece she penned following the Baltimore Symphony’s appointment of Marin Alsop, Worby commented, “One would think that in the business of conducting music, a female would be one of the least offensive intrusions into the perceived order of society. But no. The world of classical music is steeped in tradition and, like so many Tevyes, we cling to it with faces reddened and knuckles white. In Baltimore, the selection of Marin Alsop represents opportunity and a willingness to change, but fear not. Those of us in the microscopic world of ‘chicks with sticks’ didn’t get this far without having to be better and better and still better.
She prophecies that time—and lots of it—is what it will take for more of her gender to be handed the baton of world class orchestras. “Twenty-five years ago, there weren’t any women as music directors. Today there are about 10. Maybe in the next 25 years that number will multiply, then multiply again in the following quarter century as more females step into traditionally male venues. In our lifetime,” she muses, “a woman will be president of the United States. Maybe in my daughter’s lifetime, the entire Supreme Court will be all female. One can only hope.”
Slow progress is still progress. But we can do more than hope. We all must be diligent in working towards change. And Worby is doing this though her strong advocacy for diverse programming. Here Worby tells viewers about what to expect from this new project: