The next five most powerful women in US music

The next five most powerful women in US music


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2013

We gave you the first five…. now at number

6. Jane Moss, artistic director at Lincoln Center

jane moss lincoln center

7. Alison Vulgamore, president, Philadelphia Orchestra

8. Sarah Billinghurst, outgoing artistic director at the Met


9. Francesca Zambello, director Washington National Opera and Glimmerglass Opera

10. Joyce DiDonato, the all-American mezzo the whole world wants to hear.


Watch this space tomorrow for the most powerful women in Europe.


  • DrewX says:

    Allison Vulgamore may be powerful but she’s an excellent example of an executive who keeps failing upward. The rest of your list is wonderful and it’s necessary to see these inspiring examples, I just wish you had left her off!

  • Joyce is a good singer, but forget the rest. Leave that to the others on the Top Ten list. Stil, if Europe’s up next, will I get my Pamela Rosenberg moment?

  • Still, with two ‘l’s. I wish there were an edit facility on this site…

  • By the way: speaking of women, where’s our, er, friend…?

  • Janey says:

    Looking forward to the Europe list. Should we begin guessing? I am afraid I don’t have enough knowledge….I imagine Cecilia will be one.

  • Bryan says:

    Right on, Drew X !

  • Andrew says:

    Mitsuko Uchida? One of the world’s greatest pianists and director of the Marlboro Music Festival the most prestigious chamber music festival in the world… not bad!

  • Alison Ames says:

    With Sarah Billinghurst retiring from the Met next spring, will Joyce DiDonato move up to number nine? I’m surely not the only person who hopes so! Meaning no offense to Sarah B!

  • Marguerite Foxon says:

    With all Joyce does quietly to promote the love of music among young people especially, she is way higher in my top 10, that is for sure. She has switched huge numbers of adults onto opera too. Viva La Joyce!

  • Mary says:

    Wondering why most of these women, and those in the European lists, are all fairly young and attractive? Would it be the same with the most powerful MEN in music? No, I don’t think so. . .

    • m2n2k says:

      Attractiveness is subjective, but age is easy to establish. Among these top ten American ladies, the youngest is Hahn (34) followed by DiDonato (44). The rest are all over 54 years old. Why would you call people in their late 50s “fairly young”? The European top ten list is slightly younger but not by much. And what if some of the most powerful women in classical music world are in fact younger than their male counterparts? Wouldn’t this mean that the path to acquiring such power is shorter and faster for the ladies than it is for men? Or are you trying to say that those women who reach these summits of power at a “fairly young” age somehow have that power taken away from them when they are, say, in their 60s? Any examples? No, the only reasonable conclusion that can be made, in case the top women are indeed younger than men in similar positions, is that the balance of power that was clearly advantageous for males just a few decades ago has been changing steadily in the direction of true equality. By the way, judging powerful people’s attractiveness by the way they appear in their publicity pictures is rather naive.