Canada names woman music director, (not) only its second

Canada names woman music director, (not) only its second


norman lebrecht

July 05, 2015

Gemma New has been appointed music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra.

She is only the second woman to take charge of a Canadian orch, the other being Tania Miller at the Victoria Symphony Orchestra*.

Gemma, 28, a New Zealander who studied at Peabody, is presently associate conductor with the New Jersey SO. ‘She’s everything we want in a music director,’ says the Hamilton board chairman.

gemma new

UPDATE: Apparently not; there are more.


  • Susan Weiss says:

    Not so, Canada has three women Music Directors: “I’m Rosemary Thomson, I am in my sixth season as Music Director at the OSO”

  • Mikey says:

    There are a ton of women music directors of orchestras in Canada.
    The Orchestre Metropolitain had Agnes Grossman as its MD for years, and this almost two decades ago.

  • skeptic says:

    Susan Haig led the Windsor Symphony Orchestra for almost a decade.

  • windsorguy says:

    And the Windsor Symphony Orchestra had Susan Haig from 1992-2001….so far that makes Gemma New the 4th in Canada….

  • C Lee says:

    Anne Manson – Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      True. Anne really seems to have scaled down her commitments these last few years, though. She got off to a blinding start after graduating from the RCM – Vienna Phil in Salzburg, LA Phil etc.

  • Max Grimm says:

    You are incorrect Norman, in stating “She is only the second woman to take charge of a Canadian orch[estra]”.
    As quick search reveals that there are/were Agnès Grossmann (MD of the Orchestre Métropolitain 1986-1995), Susan Haig (MD of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra 1991-2000), Rosemary Thomson (MD of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra since 2011) and Anne Manson (MD of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra since 2008).

  • Mikey says:

    In Montréal alone, there are at least 5-6 orchestras (from professional chamber groups to professional symphonies) that have until recently had women as M.D.

    And the Orchestre Metropolitain, Yannik Nézet-Séguin’s permanent position at this time, is certainly as good an orchestra as the Hamilton group.

  • RW2013 says:

    The video looks like it’s her first time in front of her student orchestra.

  • Paul Wells says:

    Jeanne Lamon was music director of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto for 33 years.

  • Brian Garner says:

    Judith Yan is Director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra.