Lately the topic of female conductors have been in the news.
Unfortunately, it has not been for their achievements and gains in recent years, but because of the movie "Tár," in which the actress Cate Blanchett plays a female conductor who has professional success but is a sexual abuser.
Marin Alsop, arguably the most successful female conductor of our day, took issue with the movie:
"To have an opportunity to portray a woman in that role and to make her an abuser — for me that was heartbreaking," Alsop said in Variety magazine. "I think all women and all feminists should be bothered by that kind of depiction because it’s not really about women conductors, is it? It’s about women as leaders in our society. People ask, ‘Can we trust them? Can they function in that role?’ It’s the same questions whether it’s about a CEO or an NBA coach or the head of a police department."
I have not seen the movie myself, but I enjoyed a review by Ariane Todes, former editor of The Strad, in her blog Elbow Music. Aside from some great points she makes about the movie, Ariane also makes this very important point:
"Most egregiously of all, one of Tár’s diatribes in the film is about how women conductors of the previous generation – name checking Alsop and Nathalie Stutzmann – had it easy and stood on the shoulders of Nadia Boulanger. This is so patently false that it’s either supposed to convey Tár’s own skewed thinking or to justify the premise of the gender swap. Either way, it misrepresents a business that is only in this generation coming to terms with equality, and still has a long way to go."
Indeed. Is the conductor of your local orchestra male, or female? Let's just do a poll!
I will say that in recent years, I have seen many more women conductors on the podium, both as a player and as an audience member. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has brought in many female conductors as guests, and also as part of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel's Dudamel Fellows. After all, growing the roster of female conductors requires that female conductors have access to elite-level training and experience.
So I wanted to ask you what the situation looks like in your community. Does your local orchestra have a female music director, or assistant director on staff? Have they brought in female guest conductors? Please also share your thoughts on the female conductors you have seen on the podium, whether as a member of the orchestra or as an audience member.
* * *
Enjoying Violinist.com? Click here to sign up for our free, bi-weekly email newsletter. And if you've already signed up, please invite your friends! Thank you.Tweet
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.