Sian Edwards, head of the Advanced Conducting Course at Dartington International Summer School, is more than a little surprised that not a single woman has applied this summer.
Sian, a former music director at English National Opera and head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, was apparently expecting a surge after Marin Alsop’s challenging words at the 2013 Last Night of the Proms. But her words have not percolated down to Dartington level.
Nicholas Daniel, this summer’s artistic director, said: ‘In our Summer School this year, I just wanted the best people. As it turns out two of them (Holly Mattieson and Sian) are brilliant and talented women, and one of them, Sian Edwards, has the important job of training new conductors on our highly respected Advanced Conductors Course. Given the same opportunities and training there is no reason why, as in much of the rest of our profession and in all of the training schools, more than half of the great conductors should not be women. That they are not already is an appalling stain on the front of the white shirted reputation of our business, and it must as quickly as possible be corrected.’
So why have no women applied?