Classical 91.5

women conductors

The Metropolitan Opera announced today (Sep 23, 2020) that the ongoing health crisis has resulted in the cancellation of the entire 2020–21 season, but the company also announced ambitious artistic plans for its 2021–22 season, which will open with the Met premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Blanchard’s opera is the first by an African American composer to be performed at the Met.

Editor's note: As soon as I read this essay by conductor Ramona Wis, I wanted to share it with you.  Dr. Wis's ideas offer comfort for everyone, not just musicians.  We can all face an uncertain future with grace and courage.  We're all in this together. ~  Brenda Tremblay

The Conductor as Yogi: From Holding Space to Making Space

By Ramona M. Wis

The first time I heard the phrase “holding space” was from a colleague describing her experience with someone going through a tough time.  “I just held space for her,” she said.  It was a phrase I was not familiar with but soon started seeing everywhere (or maybe it was just “blue car syndrome,” where my increased awareness led to noticing what was always there).

Musical Women of the Suffrage Movement

Feb 28, 2020
Portrait of Dame Ethyl Smyth by John Singer Sargent (1901)

As we prepare to celebrate Women's History Month, our minds are on trailblazing women of the past and present. Last month we celebrated Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday and our own Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra presented concerts on the music of suffrage and Susan B. Anthony herself. As I explored this music, I was drawn to suffrage songs and the women who created and inspired them. Many of these composers changed the game for women in music, but they are not often remembered today.

The BBC News has announced that Irish conductor and composer Eimear Noone will make history this weekend as the first woman to conduct the Oscar ceremony orchestra.  Best known for conducting the scores for video games such as World of Warcraft, Zelda and Diablo, Noone says that conducting cinematic scores and video games is really very similar.

12/7      At the Helm, Part 2  Women at the conductor’s podium

12/14    Words and Music, Part 2 Pairing women’s poetry with music

12/21    Patchwork Quilt, Part XVI  Another Patchwork quilt episode

12/28    Winter Music Music honoring the season

Global Dimension

On International Women's Day (March 8th), WQXR, one of the largest classical radio stations in the U.S. presented a challenge to classical stations across the country.  To present a full day of classical music composed, conducted and performed by women and to make a conscious decision to increase the percentage of music being played by women over the next 12 months.

Jessica Bejarano

You can count them on one hand.  Just hold up one finger.  Among more than 20 of the major U.S. symphony orchestras, only one woman has the top job of principal conductor. But women are making better gains in the nation’s smaller ensembles. Jessica Bejarano is leading the San Francisco Civic Symphony, as well as the path for other women like her trying to shatter gender stereotypes. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Joanne Elgart Jennings reports:

The Dallas Opera

At The Dallas Opera, there is a unique program designed to further the careers of distinctively talented female conductors. Women conductors from all over the world apply to participate in the  Linda and Mitch Hart Institute of Women Conductors (IWC).  The PBS NewsHour spoke with Dallas Opera Kern Wildenthal General Director & CEO Keith Cerny.