Half of this orchestra’s guest conductors are women

January 10, 2018 by norman lebrecht


Joshua Weilerstein is pressing for gender equality at Switzerland’s Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne.

Simone Young is principal guest conductor and half the people chosen to lead the new-talent Dominicale series are women – Joanna Mallwitz (pic), Marzena Diakun, and Gemma New.

More here.

Comments (35)

  1. Theodore McGuiver says:

    How wonderfully correct.

    1. Edgar says:

      Admit it: you are really thinking “how wonderfully politically correct” – why not man up and write what you think.

      1. Theodore McGuiver says:

        It’s up to you to interpret my post as you see fit. By the way, your sentence needs a question mark at the end.

        1. Max Grimm says:

          By the way, some sentences are statements – or demands – in the form of a question, generally called rhetorical questions and in many cases may be written without question marks.

  2. db says:

    Cue the “why are they getting women when they should be getting the best people for the job” comments NOW.

    1. Pianofortissimo says:

      When the bourgeois does not react as the avant-gardist expects, the avant-gardist does it on its own accord. Now go on, you have the opportunity to develop further your prejudices.

    2. Edgar says:

      See McGuiver

  3. Derek says:

    This is a very good sign of changing times and it is encouraging to see talented women getting opportunities.

    I am looking forward to seeing Joanna Mallwitz in concert at the end of February.

    1. Edgar says:

      Thank you for your very goor comment. I add my support to both you and the invited maestras. Let the Beckmessers here beckmesser.

  4. Bruce says:

    I’d just like to say: my orchestra (not a very big one) is in the process of a music director search. I’m on the search committee so I have access to all the resumes, and I am really impressed with the quality of many of the candidates. If we had decided on a gender or ethnic group in advance, we would not have to make any compromise on quality whatsoever — or even be limited to just one or two qualified people.

    (P.S. candidates are required to submit videos of their conducting, so if someone looks good on paper, that’s nice, but it’s not enough to get them past the first round.)

    1. RW2013 says:

      Would this one make it past your first round?

      1. Sue says:

        Oh God: I do miss Carlos Kleiber!!!!

        1. RW2013 says:

          I’m sure he doesn’t miss you.

  5. Minacciosa says:

    This has gotten beyond tiresome.

    1. AnnaT says:

      If you’re already beyond tired of women conductors, you should probably bow out of concert life now, lest you perish of fatigue. They’re here to stay and their ranks, happily, are growing, and plenty of orchestras will be eager to engage them. It’s going to be great.

      1. harold braun says:

        Let´s hope far,it isn´t.

  6. Implied Violins says:

    The one on the left in the photo in the link looks rather like Angela Merkill.

  7. Urania says:

    Johanna Malwitz is taking over Nürnberg. The topic remains two sided. Brillant conductors stay behind since they just cant cope with this PR attitude of the business. All those youngsters who are so at ease with show elements move into important jobs. What about the truely spiritual element of classical music? Fortunately I did hear today in the car two brillant interviews on BR with Mischa Maisky and Florian Sonnleitner. I have nothing against women but I am against this terrible influence of the marketing branch and people who just look for headlines.

    1. Urania says:

      Of course both musicians are from an older generation. I do think that it is absolutely necessary to tell young artists about the great value of music for society and that there is another ‘room’ behind the notes.

    2. Bruce says:

      Please explain how Maisky has tried not to attract public attention throughout his career 😀

      But seriously, you have probably noticed how NL injects his opinions into the headlines, and sometimes deviates from the nature of the story. (A recent example: the Berlin Philharmonic’s project of putting together an orchestra of amateurs is billed as a chance to playi “in” the Berlin Philharmonic:

      Female conductors are a topic near & dear to NL’s heart, and he often draws attention to a female conductor’s gender even when the actual news story does not. If you’re tired of that, please keep in mind that it’s not treated this way everywhere.

    3. harold braun says:

      It should be about Quality,not Equality.Have both seen Mallwitz and,Weilerstein(for equality´s sake).Both,well……to use a quote by Walter Legge,tried to keep in touch with the music.The same goes for the other ladies mentioned here.

  8. Una says:

    A load of tiresome comments from a load of tiresome men!

    1. Sue says:

      You exhibit your own bias here; what part of the comments from “Implied Violins” demonstrates that he/she is a man?

      We have our excellent Simone Young who never needed affirmative action!

      1. RW2013 says:

        “We have our excellent Simone Young who never needed affirmative action!“

        Your ironic comment at Ms.Young’s expense is most unkind.

      2. harold braun says:

        No comment!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Derek says:


      A sweeping generalisation! Not like you. It is disappointing.

  9. Greg Tiwidichitch says:

    I agree that there has been bias against female conductors (and still continues) but why is that the only story? I know of conductors who are older who have never gotten the opportunities to show what they can do who have and are laboring in obscurity. Unless you made it as a youngster and grown older, there is bigger block against older conductors than there is against women. Besides Klaus Tennstedt, how many conductor have made it in there 50’s??

  10. harold braun says:

    So what?

  11. Soy Boy says:

    Great idea for overrated conductors like Mr. Weilerstein who wants less competition – bring in mediocre women, they’ll make you shine both as a conductor and as a gutmensch. Splendid!

    1. harold braun says:

      Spot on!!!!!!Weilerstein´s success i can´t understand.But of course he didn´t invite Ben Gernon or lahav Shani,to mention just two remarkable youngsters….

  12. Derek says:

    For information –

    Les Dominicales is a specific series of concerts which last 1 hour, without an interval, for promising young conductors. It is not part of the Grande Concert series.

    Lahav Shani, for example, may not have been available for this series.

  13. John Borstlap says:

    ‘Half of the conductors are women’- the question is, which half.

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