Are we seeing more women concertmasters?

When the New York Philharmonic awarded its front seat to a guy there was a general shrug and a sigh: that’s how things are, right?

But during the interregnum since Glenn Dicterow’s retirement, the orchestra has been very capably led by Sheryl Staples and the Philharmonic has two further associate concertmasters in Michelle Kim and Carole Webb. These days, you are almost more likely to see New York Phil with a woman leading than a man.

 

nurit bar-yosef

Elsewhere, Nurit Bar-Josef (above, right) is concertmaster of the National Symphony Orchestra and four more women concertmasters have been appointed around the country since 1988 when Emmanuelle Boisvert became the first, in Detroit. In Minnesota, the concertmaster recently married the music director. Still, the situation is patchy and five concertmasters is not that many in a pack of 250 orchestras. (UPDATE: see below: there are more, many more).

In Europe, the distribution is northerly – more women concertmasters in Scandinavia, few in Austro-Germany.

Maybe we should start a list.

Send in details of concertmasters or acting concertmasters of symphony orchs, wherever you are.

We’ll exclude chamber orchs for the time being. Bear in mind, too, that many German orchs have three or four concertmasters, greatly increasing equal opportunities.

*

Here goes:

North America (from north to south):

Diana Cohen, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra

Gwen Hoebig, Winnipeg

Bénédicte Lauzière, recently appointed concertmaster of Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Ontario.

Yukari Cousineau, l’Orchestre metropolitain in Montreal

 

Yoonshin Song is the new concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Juliana Athayde, Rochester

Susie Park, Kalamazoo

Holly Mulcahy, Chattanooga Symphony and Opera

Robin Mayforth, Symphony Silicon Valley

Terrie Baune and Dawn Harms, co-concertmasters, Oakland East Bay Symphony (northern California)

Erin Keefe, Minnesota Orchestra

 

erin keefe

Nurit Bar-Josef, National Symphony Orchestra

Ruth Lenz, Reno Philharmonic

Stephanie Sant Ambrogio, Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jessica Mathaes, Austin Symphony.

Suzanne Jacobson, Temple (TX) Symphony

Carolyn Richards-Chacon, Austin Civic Orchestra

Annamaria Karacsony, Colorado Mahlerfest Orchestra.

Denise Tarrant, Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet

Jessica Tong, Evansville Philharmonic

Susanna Perry Gilmore, concertmaster of the Omaha, Nebraska Symphony

Jill Levy of the Albany (NY) Symphony Orchestra

Sarah Kwak at the Oregon Symphony.

Yumi Hwang-Williams, Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver

Dawn Gingrich, Orchestra Iowa

 

South America

Lucia Luque, Córdoba Symphony Orchestra (Argentina).

 

Europe

Anna Gebert is concertmaster in Trondheim, Norway.

 

anna gebert

 

Melina Mandozzi , Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Norway

Elise Båtnes at the Oslo Philharmonic

Camilla Kjøll and Catharina Chen, Oslo Opera orchestra

 

Maaria Leino, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Finland

 

Malin Broman, Swedish Radio SO, Stockholm

Jannica Gustafsson and Tale Olsson, Stockholm Opera orchestra

Øyvor Volle, Gøteborgs Opera

Sara Trobäck, Gøteborgs SO

Marika Fältskog, Malmö Symphony Orchestra

 

Yana Deshkova Aalborg Symphony

Christina Åstrand and Soo-Jin Hong Copenhagen Radio, Denmark

Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir, Iceland SO

 

Sabine Vivian-Höpker at Nordwestdeutche Philharmonie, Germany

Dora Bratchkova and Margarete Adorf, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken

Kathrin Rabus at NDR Hannover

Ursula Berg in the Gürzenich orchestra, Cologne

Natalie Kundirenko, Göttinger Symphonie Orchester

Anna Rezniak, Nürnberger Symphoniker

Mila Georgieva and Natalie Chee, co-concertmasters of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Yun-Jin Cho, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
Heike Janicke, Dalia Schmalenberg, Eva Dollfuß, Dresdner Philharmonie
Juliane Winkler, Staatskapelle Berlin
Odette Couch, Munich Philharmonic
Alexandra Psareva, Ruxandra Klein, Marietta Kratz & Brigitte Lang, NDR Sinfonieorchester

Friederike Starkloff, NDR Radiophilharmonie

Naoko Ogihara, Susanne Richard & Ye Wu; WDR Sinfonieorchester

Barbara Kink; hr-Sinfonieorchester, Frankfurt

Franziska Früh; Düsseldorfer Symphoniker / Deutsche Oper am Rhein

Barbara Burgdorf; Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Judith Eisenhofer, Annegret Knoop, Claudia Ander-Donath, co-leaders at Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg

 

Albena Danailova, one of four concertmasters at the Vienna Philharmonic, is presently in maternity leave with her second child.

Bettina Gradinger, Vesna Stankovic-Moffat, Anne Harvey-Nagel at Vienna Volksoper

Lieke te Winkel, Tonkünstler Orchester

Yukiko Imazato-Härtl and Fuyu Iwaki, Graz Philharmonic

Marianne Riehle, Monika Kammerlander, Mozarteum Salzburg
Monika Schuhmayer, Vorarlberg Sinfonieorchester

 

Geneviève Laurenceau Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse

Charlotte Juillard, Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg

Dorota Anderszewska Orchestre National de Montpellier

Sarah Nemtanu, Orchestre National de France (her sister, Deborah, leads a chamber orch)

sarah and deborah nemtanu

 

Jennifer Gilbert, sister of Alan Gilbert, is concertmaster of Orchestre National de Lyon.

Vera Novakova, first concertmaster of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice

Ann-Estelle Médouze of L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France

 

Carla Leurs, Nederlands Sinfonieorkest

Elisabeth Perry & Nadia Wijzenbeek, both Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra

Olga Martinova, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra

Cécile Huijnen, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra

Lisanne Soeterbroek, Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (Belgium)

 

Wioletta Zabek, Concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon in Valladolid since 1991.

 

 

 

Lisa Schatzman and Ina Dimitrova, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Switzerland

Anna Weinmeister, Zurich Opera

Julia Becker, Tonhalle Zurich

 

Lynn Fletcher, Halle orchestra, Manchester

Clio Gould, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London

Janice Graham, English National Orchestra

Lesley Hatfeild, BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Thelma Handy, joint leader Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

 

Helena Wood (with co-leader Elaine Clark) – RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra

Mia Cooper – RTÉ Concert Orchestra

 

Russia

Lyudmila Tchaikovskaya, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra
Tatiana Porshneva, Russian National Orchestra
Alexandra Zhavoronkova, Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Elena Reznichenko, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia
Olga Dzerzhinskaya, New Russia State Symphony Orchestra

 

Africa

 

Joanna Frankel serves as Concertmaster of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa.

 

Middle East

Jenny Hunigen and Geana Gandelman, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

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  • HE says:

    Off the top of my head: Juliana Athayde of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra. She was appointed when she was only 24 years old, the youngest violinist to hold that position in the orchestra’s history. She’s also on faculty at Eastman.

  • Harry Lane says:

    Bénédicte Lauzière, recently appointed Concertmaster of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Ontario, Canada.

  • patti with an i says:

    Robin Mayforth, Symphony Silicon Valley; Terrie Baune and Dawn Harms, co-concertmasters, Oakland East Bay Symphony (northern California)

  • Andreas Richter says:

    Lorenza Borrani at Chamber Orchestra of Eirope

  • Mariellen Jacobson says:

    The brilliant Erin Keefe at the Minnesota Orchestra

  • musicologyman says:

    Mila Georgieva and Natalie Chee, co-concert masters of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.

  • Theodore Kuchar says:

    Ruth Lenz at the Reno Chamber Orchestra and Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Stephanie Sant Ambrogio at the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Theodore Kuchar says:

    In Durban, South Africa the excellent American Joanna Frankel serves as Concertmaster of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Theodore Kuchar says:

    Ruth Lenz serves as the Concertmaster of the Reno Chamber Orchestra and Reno Philharmonic.

  • Theodore Kuchar says:

    Stephanie Sant Ambrogio serves as Concertmaster of the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • harold braun says:

    Lyn Fletcher,Halle;and Laura Samuel.BBC Scottish SO

  • Peggy Sweeney says:

    Or maybe fewer???

  • Anonne says:

    The word is “fewer,” not “less.”

  • Tommy Nielsen says:

    Helena Wood, RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Ireland

  • Andrew Condon says:

    Clio Gould (RPO), Janice Graham (ENO), Lesley Hatfeild (BBC Nat Orch of Wales)

  • itsjtime says:

    Seriously, though.

    Does anyone know who the BLACK CONCERTMASTERS are?

    Please commence compiling a proper list….

    It seems music schools may not be doing their part to engender a marginalized demographic that would surely enrich our orchestras. And perhaps more importantly, bridge the gap to bring that community into the concert halls. MOS DEF.

    • Pacer1 says:

      The excellent Ann-Estelle Médouze of L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France.

      Many years ago, Darwyn Apple was concertmaster of the Toledo (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra.

  • Orchestraplayer says:

    Janice Graham ENO
    Marieke Bankenstijn Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Rotterdam Philharmonic
    Hélène Collerette Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
    Lisa Kerob Monte Carlo Philharmonic
    Sarah Nemtanu Orchestre National de France
    Deborah Nemtanu Ensemble Orchestral de Paris

  • Orchestraplayer says:

    Anna Weinmeister Zurich Opera

  • Orchestraplayer says:

    Stephanie Gonley English Chamber Orchestra

  • kuoirad says:

    Jessica Mathaes is the concertmaster of the Austin Symphony.

    I play under female concertmasters in the following orchestras:

    Suzanne Jacobson is the concertmaster of the Temple (TX) Symphony.

    Carolyn Richards-Chacon is the concertmaster of the Austin Civic Orchestra. (The ACO also has a female music director.)

    Annamaria Karacsony is the concertmaster of the Colorado Mahlerfest Orchestra.

  • BB says:

    Denise Tarrant, Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet;
    Jessica Tong, Evansville Philharmonic;
    Holly Mulcahy, Chattanooga Symphony

  • Christoph-Mathias Mueller says:

    Natalie Kundirenko, Göttinger Symphonie Orchester;
    Anna Rezniak, Nürnberger Symphoniker

  • Malcolm james says:

    Lesley Hatfield – BBCNOW

  • Geoffry Wharton says:

    Of course Julia Becker, concertmaster in the Tonhalle in Zürich

  • Geoffry Wharton says:

    Julia Becker, Tonhalle Zurich

  • L.F. says:

    Candida Thompson has been Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s concertmaster since 1995 and its Artistic Director and Leader since 2003.

    Julia Schröder has been for the Basler Kammerorchester concert master and leader since 2004.

    Ada Pesch is concertmaster of the orchestra of the Opernhaus Zürich (Philharmonia Zürich) since 1990.

  • Michael Lee says:

    Helena Wood (with co-leader Elaine Clark) – RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
    Mia Cooper – RTÉ Concert Orchestra
    … and your headline should read ‘fewer’ rather than ‘less’, surely?

  • Stefán Jón says:

    Iceland Symphony Orch. has Sigrún Eðvaldsdóttir and Gothenburg SO have Sara Trobäck.
    Just two examples that spring to mind!

  • Peter Phillips says:

    Back in the dark ages before WW2 the BBCSO used to split into two sections. One of them was led by Marie Wilson who later played in the Philharmonia (LPO possibly?) for some years after the war.

  • VDR says:

    Julia SCHRÖDER & Yuki KASAI, Kammerorchester Basel

    Yuki KASAI, Kammerakademie Potsdam

  • william osborne says:

    I notice from the list above that only two of the top 20 US orchestras have women concertmasters. Since some of the orchestras have more than one, the percentage is below 10%.

  • Michael Keelan says:

    Susanna Perry Gilmore, concertmaster of the Omaha, Nebraska Symphony

  • V.Lind says:

    At the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Jessica Linnebach, Associate Concertmaster, is the permanent concertmaster when they do a Pops series, and occasionally of course does the main series concerts.

  • kuoirad says:

    Jessica Matheas – Austin Symphony

  • Max Grimm says:

    – Yun-Jin Cho; Gewandhausorchester Leipzig
    – Heike Janicke, Dalia Schmalenberg, Eva Dollfuß; Dresdner Philharmonie
    – Juliane Winkler; Staatskapelle Berlin
    – Odette Couch; Münchner Philharmoniker
    – Alexandra Psareva, Ruxandra Klein, Marietta Kratz &
    Brigitte Lang; NDR Sinfonieorchester
    – Naoko Ogihara, Susanne Richard & Ye Wu; WDR Sinfonieorchester
    – Barbara Kink; hr-Sinfonieorchester
    – Franziska Früh; Düsseldorfer Symphoniker / Deutsche Oper am Rhein
    – Barbara Burgdorf; Bayerisches Staatsorchester

  • Jean Haas says:

    Geneviève Laurenceau Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse (coordinate)
    Charlotte Juillard, Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg
    Dorota Anderszewska Orchestre National de Montpellier
    Sarah Nemtanu, Orchestre National de France (coordinate)
    Deborah Nemtanu, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris

  • Andrew Condon says:

    Clio Gould: RPO and Janice Graham: ENO

  • she says:

    Some dutch results:

    Marieke Blankesteijn, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    Candida Thompson, Amsterdam Sinfonietta
    Elisabeth Perry & Nadia Wijzenbeek, both Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
    Olga Martinova, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
    Cécile Huijnen, Arnhem Philharmonic Orchestra
    Lisanne Soeterbroek, Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra (Belgium)

  • Andrew Condon says:

    One of the very finest violinists in my experience (male or female) was the late Iona Brown, long-time concertmaster/director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and elsewhere.

  • Arabella says:

    In Spain, Wioletta Zabek, Concertmaster of the Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon in Valladolid since 1991.

  • Fiddleman says:

    Should be mentioned that Erin Keefe took over for Jorja Fleezanis, long-time CM in Minnesota. Frank Huang took over for Angela Fuller in Houston Symphony.

  • Fiddleman says:

    Forgot Julia Becker from Tonhalle Zurich

  • another musician says:

    Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra
    Jenny Hunigen and Geana Gandelman

    Jerusalem Camerata
    Carmela Leiman

    Israel chamber orchestra (Tel Aviv)
    Alina Gurevich

  • Takao Kanayama says:

    Jennifer Gilbert, sister of Alan Gilbert is the concertmaster of Orchestre National de Lyon.

  • suzanne says:

    Jennifer Gilbert at the Orchestre national de Lyon

    Jennifer Gilbert at the Orchestre national de Lyon

  • Opéra de Nice says:

    Vera Novakova, first concertmaster of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice. She played as a soloist under Krysztof Penderecki (french premiere of “Metamorphosen”), John Nelson, Michaël Schonwandt, Christof Perick, among many others. She played the greatest solos of the repertoire under Wolfgang Sawallisch (“Ein Heldenleben”), Michel Plasson (“Bacchus et Ariane, suite n° 2”), Guennadi Rojdestvenski, Yutakav Sado, Neeme Järvi… along the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice. Before Nice, she was concertmaster in Lucerne.

  • harold braun says:

    Dora Bratchkova and Mechthild Adorf,Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbruecken.

  • Mike says:

    How could you, NL, have forgotten Lyn Fletcher, long-time leader of the Halle*, from your list?….. Thank goodness for other Brits rectifying your omission.
    *For your information, the Halle is in Manchester – oop int’ North.

    • Graeme Hall says:

      Mr Lebrecht is a London-based critic and is therefore contractually obliged to ignore all musical activity outside of the capital. He would be thrown out the Critics Union were he to even hint at the existence of orchestras beyond the M25.

    • Salvador says:

      Hallé is the name of the orchester in Manchetser, if you don´t mind
      Halle is in Germany

  • yet another musician says:

    Marika Fältskog
    Malmö Symphony Orchestra

  • PTN says:

    Jannica Gustafsson and Tale Olsson in the Royal Swedish Opera

  • Ursula Wagner says:

    Judith Eisenhofer, leader/ concertmaster of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg
    Annegret Knoop, co-leader of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg
    Claudia Ander-Donath, co-leader of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg

  • Hadrian Avila Arzuza says:

    Lucia Luque, Córdoba Symphony Orchestra (Argentina).

  • Larry Loh says:

    Yumi Hwang-Williams is the CM of the excellent Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver!

  • Jeff says:

    Jeanyi Kim, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.

  • Michael Wilkinson says:

    Maighread McCrann. ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra

  • Archaeopteryx says:

    In addition to Kathrin Rabus, there is another woman concertmaster at the NDR Hannover: Friederike Starkloff.

    With chamber orchestras added to the line up, there are even more women:

    – Yuki Kasai and Meesun Hong-Coleman, Kammerakademie Potsdam
    – Susanne von Gutzeit, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
    – Midori Seiler, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
    – Petra Müllejans, Freiburger Barockorchester
    – Lorenza Borrani, Chamber Orchestra of Europe

  • Elaine Calder says:

    Yukari Cousineau, l’Orchestre metropolitain in Montreal
    Sarah Kwak, Oregon Symphony in Portland

  • cornbear says:

    Sarah Kwak at the Oregon Symphony.

  • Stephen A says:

    HollyMulcahy is the Concert master of the Chattanooga Symphony (Tennessee)

    Also, Norman, in your title it should be ‘or fewer,’ not ‘or less.’ This is not the first time I’ve seen you misuse this.

  • Emma McGrath says:

    Interestingly, every one of the ‘Top 5’ American orchestras (Cleveland, Philly, Boston, NY, and Chicago) have a man as their Concertmaster and a woman as the Associate Concertmaster. Same is also true for San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Utah, St. Louis, and I’m sure some others that I don’t know about. Not making any massive conclusions from this – just an observation!

  • H.C says:

    Annedore Oberborbeck, Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck

  • Andrew Haveron says:

    Maya Iwabuchi RSNO.

    Personally I think the emphasis is wrong here. In my decade of orchestral leadership I have yet to award any violin job to a man. The women applying outnumber the men considerably, and seem to be better players.

  • MacroV says:

    Interesting to note, though, that all of the Big 5 (and several other big) U.S. orchestras have women in the #2 position:

    – New York: Sheryl Staples
    – Boston: Tamara Smirnova
    – Chicago: Stephanie Jeong
    – Cleveland: Yoko Moore
    – Philadelphia: Juliette Kang
    – San Francisco: Nadia Tichman
    – Los Angeles: Bing Wang
    – Seattle: Emma McGrath

  • Nicola Bell says:

    we have a wonderful new female concertmaster here in the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra: Triin Ruubel

  • Ursula Wagner says:

    Sorry, for correcting again, but Judith Eisenhofer is leader (1st concertmaster) of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg –

    Annegret Knoop and Claudia Ander-Donath are co-leaders of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Theater & Philharmonie Thüringen, Gera/Altenburg

  • Dee says:

    Orchestra Iowa in Cedar Rapids, IA just appointed Dawn Gingrich as concertmaster.
    http://artsiowa.com/news-and-blogs/2015/june/orchestra-iowa-announces-concertmaster/

  • S Harb says:

    Madeline Adkins has been appointed Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony (formerly Associate Concertmaster of Baltimore Symphony)

  • Anon says:

    The excellent Lauren Roth is currently concertmaster of the Tucson Symphony.

  • alan says:

    The recently deceased Katia Popov of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

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