What women conductors say

What women conductors say


norman lebrecht

June 06, 2016

Keith Cerny, founder of the Hart Institute for Women Conductors at Dallas Opera, has published a sampling of the hopes, fears and prejudices he receives from candidates all over the world.


– In Europe as a woman, you very seldom get the chance to show your proper abilities and talents in conducting. (Germany)

– In the Czech Republic, has not been professionally involved any female conductor so far.

– I have only been subject to discrimination at two particular moments in my career, and this was more likely due to my pregnancies. (US)

– I was the only female conductor in my country for ten years.(Israel)

More here.

women dallas opera


  • Bennie says:

    Fair != Equal

    So, in this context, what is considered ‘fair’? 50% woman conductors to be fair? 35%? 75%?

    I ain’t racist nor sexist. Couldn’t care less about the gender of the conductor — except, naturally, I would _avoid_ sitting in the front row right below the podium if there is woman conducting: I’d feel very awkward if I have to watch a standing woman’s back for 2 hours at such close distance.

    Nevertheless, after reading this article, I could imagine someone at the track meet and screamed to his/her right, “Hey! It’s not fair! You have longer legs than me!!!”

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Oh, yes, you’re not sexist. And yet you would feel uncomfortable watching a standing woman’s back at a close proximity. (Why? Such weirdness.)

      Fairness isn’t about quotas, it’s about giving these existing and rising women conductors more opportunities. Every statement that you see up in the post, fair would be the opposite, or at least something different, from what’s stated.

      Sometimes I think people are purposely obtuse.

      • Bennie the Accused Sexist says:

        If you – a male – talk to a woman who doesn’t know you, and say you have no problem watching her back a three foot down and under for 2 hours straight, guess how she would think of you?


        I guess, I am a sexist if I feel awkward, while you are a real man who appreciates woman respectfully, and shall be considered Saint-hood in the Political Correctness Hall of Fame.


    • Conducting Feminista says:

      Fair is when all conductors are women! Fair is when there are no more men becoming conductors. Conducting is meant to be an all women profession. Women are genetically and inherently superior over men in becoming conductors. Conducting will truly be a great profession when it is entirely done by women and women only. The era of the male conductor is coming to its inevitable end.

  • JW says:

    Quit whining, and start shining. One could replace “women” with several ethnicities or nationalities, and the gist of the article would remain relatively true. Remember: all conductors’ lives matter.

    Identity politics is inexorably choking American culture to death.

    • Cyril Blair says:

      The women interviewed are from all over the world.

      Quit whining and start shining? You can only shine when you’re given opportunities to do so. Apparently there are NO opportunities to shine in Czechoslovakia, and only one in Israel.

    • Emil Archambault says:

      Exactly. Which is why structural inequalities need to be removed. You’re suggesting that it’s a cyclist’s fault that he can’t bike as fast up the Alps as a sprinter on the Champs-Élysées. Of course there are fewer women conductors, given the multiple barriers they have to overcome – which is why those hurdles need to be cleared.

  • DESR says:

    Too many of the few (prominent) female conductors are (through no fault of theirs, I may add) pretty and slim.

    Equality will only be anywhere near, when we have ones who look nearly as ghastly as most of the men do.

    In other words, how they look will not enter in to it as such, except insofar as how their actions on the podium help or hinder their efforts to achieve their ends.