The Los Angeles Times recently printed a substantial article on recent appointments of several women conductors to prestigious orchestras. The piece opens with the recent news surrounding Xian Zhang and her appointment to The Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra in Milan, and the way that some in the media have highlighted her gender in a way that would never be acceptable for a comparable male conductor.
Other recently appointed women include: Joana Carneiro at the Berkeley Symphony, Laura Jackson at the Reno Philharmonic, Anne Manson at the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Teresa Cheung at the Altooa Symphony, Elizabeth Schulze at the Flagstaff Symphony and Antonia Joy Wilson at the Midland Symphony.
The article also mentions some of the most prestigious and groundbreaking women conductors to date, including JoAnn Falletta, Marin Alsop and Victoria Bond. With a few brief quotes from interviews with various women holding positions throughout the country (including some of those mentioned above) the article help paints a better picture of the accomplishments that have been made and opportunities that are now available, as well as the gap that still exists. Data from the League of American Orchestras states that women lead only 11.9% of the country’s orchestras, with only Falletta and Alsop at “big-league institutions.”
We work, whic can hope that this article, directed for a general audience, will raise awareness, and also start conversations among music enthusiasts and performers. The final quote of the work leaves the reader cautiously optimistic for the future:
“I think we’ll see a woman at the top within a decade,” says Alsop, who hopes that there will be enough professional female conductors working in the world some day to open the Taki Concordia fellowship up to male applicants. “Then again, I might have said the same thing 25 years ago and would have been proved wrong. Hope springs eternal for me.”