The ultimate directory of active women conductors

The ultimate directory of active women conductors


norman lebrecht

November 14, 2013

A reader, Sinead Hayes, has directed us to a resource of which we were unaware: a German database for around 80 women conductors. It is run by an archive in Frankfurt and does not appears to be comprehensive. We’re sure they would welcome more submissions. Send details to:

simone young



  • Eric says:

    Lots of American conductors, or conductors in America, are not featured, including Kayoko Dan, Carolyn Kuan, Mei-Ann Chen, Joana Carneiro, Alondra de la Parra; also Emmanuel Haim of Le Concert d’Astree in Paris…..all just off the top of my head.

  • Henry Rosen says:

    Karina Canellakis has just been given the job of Assistant Conductor with the Dallas Symphony. I have seen her conduct in New York and she is as good as anyone (sadly have to state male or female) of her generation..a violinist who has played with the Berlin Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony she has music running through her veins. I look forward to how her career blossoms.

  • The Archive Frau und Musik (which I think is housed in Kassel, not Frankfurt) is affiliated with the Internationale Arbeitskreis Frau- und Musik, Germany’s largest organization for women in music. The Arbeitskreis has been having problems and is fearing for its existence. One of its major funders, the city of Frankfurt, has announced it is eliminating its funding. This list of conductors is only one of countless resources the Arbeitskreis provides.

    • Martin says:

      It should fear for its existence, because this list is far from being anything complete. Even “famous” female conductors are missing. Such a list has no right to receive public funding.

      • Musiker says:

        Geez… and out come all the Waldorfs and Statlers, who whinge and nit-pick and rant and rage.

        The list doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive and projects like this are by their very nature a work-in-progress anyhow.

        So instead of getting your knickers in a twist and fuming about public funding (which is likely to be very minimal and probably less than you spend on CDs of your favourite male maestros every year), get involved, contact them and let them know of conductors who you think should included.

        I’m sure they’d be thrilled.

        Is it better to have no list at all, or a database than still grow and develop and become a very useful and enlightening research tool?

        Criticism is fine, but it’s so much better if it’s constructive criticism. Your comments are anything but.

  • Hi Norman, Sinead Hayes is not just a reader but a hugly talented female conductor. I was at her RTE Concert Orchestra debut in Dublin over the summer and it was fantastic! Someone to watch out for, believe me ! :):)

  • Martin says:

    I see no need in funding a website, which lists European female conductors only. One simply can add such a list to Wikipedia. We don’t need to waste public funding money in something which can be done without server costs and so on.

    And the list is not only incomplete, it seems not to have been worked on properly for several years. I think my, what you might call, outrage is more than justified.

    And btw, I don’t care if the maestro is male or female, black or white, ….

    • Martin says:

      Here is a start on Wikipedia btw…

      So all who care, you know where to go, you can update that list yourself and for free.

    • Musiker says:

      You don’t know what the current state of funding is.

      Perhaps they’ve had their funding cut for some reason and that’s why the website hasn’t been updated or worked on for some time.

      Perhaps the public funding consisted merely of a one-off payment of a couple of hundred euros and stopped there.

      So until you’re fully informed, there are no grounds for “outrage”.

      You also have no idea what the work of the archive is beyond the website, which is admittedly somewhat lacking as it currently stands.

      Still, it’s always best to inform yourself before mouthing off about and dissing the project.

      And if you think that in-depth scientific research can be replaced by Wikipedia, then good luck to you.

      • Martin says:

        See Wiliam’s statement: “One of its major funders, the city of Frankfurt, has announced it is eliminating its funding.”

        My reply was formulated based on that.

        You don’t need an in-depth research by someone with a muscial diploma to create a list of female conductors. If they do more that that list, they did nothing which “jumped into my eyes” upon visiting the website. The only thing I saw was something a school child could probably do just as good and for free.

        Wikipedia is a very good resource for such lists, but if for some reason one wants to creat an own website, there are other possibilities to do this without paying a seperate URL. When it comes to paying with public money one should think how to save money or not to spend money before the public funding ends.

        • Musiker says:

          There was an article in today’s FAZ about the Archiv Frau und Musik.

          It is indeed housed in Frankfurt, NOT Kassel. (After all, why should the city of Frankfurt finance an institute of academic research in Kassel?)

          The city of Frankfurt has announced it will cut its subsidy of 54,000 euros for the coming year.

          The archive has more than 20,000 items and describes itself as the world’s largest research institute and archive of scores, literature and recordings by and about women. It also publishes a magazine called Viva Voce, the only specialist publication in Germany on wormen composers and musicians.

          It is funded by the city of Frankfurt and the regional authorities of the state of Hessen.

          The regional authorities have promised to maintain their share of the funding for 2014 and 2015.

          The archive currently has three employees who each work 2.5 days a week. Without Frankfurt’s share of the funding, it will only be able to keep on one person for 2.5 days per week.

          But one person will not be enough to keep the archive up and running, as well as answer the large number of enquiries and research requests.

          So, as you can see, the archive is more than just a list of women conductors. And the incompleteness of its Internet site is due to a chronic lack of funding, which — if you had your way — would be cut altogether.

          Like I said, its always better to inform yourself before making rash. ignorant, and ill-informed statements. You only show yourself up otherwise.

  • Janey says:

    I would be interested in a list of female conductors in the US. There appear to be many working with smaller companies, in particular, on the edge of “breaking in.”

  • Ella says:

    Visit this website: which is dedicated to mentoring young femail conductors through the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship – founded by Marin Alsop

    Ms. Canellakis is thecurrent Taki Fellow.