A good day for women conductors

A good day for women conductors


norman lebrecht

April 06, 2016

Susanna Mälkki was named principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She’s an outstanding interpreter of contemporary music. New York, eat your hearts out.

Speranza Scappucci, it was announced, will make her debut at the Vienna Opera, the first Italian woman to enter that bearpit. Speranza, a former assistant of Riccardo Muti, will be fine.

The glass ceiling is well and truly cracked.




  • Ross says:

    Malkki is good.
    Her media hype exceeds her abilities, but she has a lot to offer and will keep getting better.
    This is a great chance for her to learn the ropes.

    • cherrera says:

      I dare say the media hype exceeds everyone’s abilities. That’s not a knock on the talent, it’s a knock on the media. Rare is the artist who can manage the hype, neither be consumed by it nor withdrawn from it. I think, believe it or not, Dudamel handles it pretty well –he certainly plays along with it, he exploits it for sure — but I don’t think he lets it get to him.

      • Halldor says:

        “Learn the ropes”? She’s been working at an international level for nearly 2 decades now. She’s held three music directorships, including Ensemble Intercontemporain.

        A little patronising, maybe?

  • Varda Ullman Novick says:

    But a bad season for women composers: Of the 78 composers on the 2016-17 season, 0 are women
    See: http://brianlauritzen.com/2016/02/24/la-phil-2016-17-by-the-numbers/

  • Pedro says:

    Mälkki is a very good conductor. Brava!

  • Alain Louy says:

    Avez-vous vu le programme du Festival de Luzern?

  • Oracle says:

    These are such fantastic times for female conductors. Seems like almost 50% of any new chief conductor posts go for women nowadays. This if anything is true equality – just as the member of the audience, I’m hoping all this won’t be happening at the cost of quality just because we want more women in the business (which I also do, if they just have their musical merits). I don’t say most of the ladies at the top posts were not decent or even excellent. However, having heard and seen Mälkki conduct, I can’t say there’s anything particularly special about her shaping of music or her artistry. An elegant waver of hands, I would say. Huge troubles finding deeper content from major works. Can’t really understand at all what is it that LA Phil thinks is so special about her, but this is just my humble opinion.

    • Carmen says:

      Replay to Oracle : well, think of how many “elegant wavers of hands ” and even less elegant ones among the thousands of men conductors there are today and have been in the past and also have important posts as music directors. But no one points that out about them . Malkki is as good as many other men out there, so why even bring this up? of course quality should always be the meter of judgment in hiring a Md or principal guest conductor , but also for men .

      • Ross says:

        So your assumption is that Oracle has never criticized a male conductor for being no more than “an elegant waiver of hands” before?