Four women out of 20 in LSO conducting finals

Four women out of 20 in LSO conducting finals


norman lebrecht

July 18, 2018

These are the contestants in the LSO Donatella Flick competition, taking place in November:

Maciej Kotarba, 27, Poland
Chloé van Soeterstède, 29, France
Jordan Gudefin, 29, France
Sándor Károlyi, 28, Austria
Pak Lok Alvin Ho, 25, UK
Anton Holmer, 27, Sweden
Felix Mildenberger, 28, Germany
Valentin Egel, 23, Germany
Hermes Helfricht, 26, Germany
Chloé Dufresne, 26, France

Thomas Goff, 25, UK
Jacob Joyce, 25, Germany
Johanna Malangré, 28, Germany
Katharina Wincor, 23, Austria
Teddy Poll, 29, Germany
Bertie Baigent, 23, UK
Alexander Colding Smith, 29, Denmark
Jack Sheen, 25, UK
William Le Sage, 28, France
Harry Ogg, 27, UK


  • Grüffalo says:

    Jesus. Give it a fucking rest.

    • Will Duffay says:

      And that attitude is exactly why people won’t/can’t give it a fucking rest.

      • Grüffalo says:

        Nope. It really isn’t the reason.

        • Will Duffay says:

          Well, yes it really is. Outright hostility to the principle of encouraging women into conducting just shows how much the issue needs to be aired and discussed.

          • Henry Rosen says:

            It’s a totally legit’s not like EVERYONE in the world has the potential to be a conductor.:very few people have the skill set, personality and desire to take on a job as demanding and exacting as being a conductor. Let the good people, be they men or women shine through, and there are some wonderful women conductors and that’s great, but really making a fuss like this, creating women only conducting jobs (see Dallas Symohony) does not help the situation. Let the great women shine through, if they can and want’s not like anyone is stopping’s a really hard job with exacting professional and authoritative skills and it should only be done by those completely able and willing.

          • Grüffalo says:

            Nobody is hostile to that principle. And there’s nothing wrong with pointing out the fact that this sort of beady-eyed tally-keeping is absolutely the worst way you could possibly go about it. Apart from the fact that it reduces these four artists to their gender, it also fosters resentment and suspicion where there would otherwise be none. Presumably these four conductors are in the competition because of their talent and hard work. If we could celebrate that without drawing attention to their gender, that would be just lovely.

        • Bruce says:

          Since you apparently know what the reason is, will you share it with those of us who don’t? Please/ thank you.

          • Grüffalo says:

            Since you ask: the reason certain people won’t give it as rest is simply that they are blinded by ideology and often lack the expertise necessary to view musicians as musicians without also placing undue emphasis on their immutable characteristics.

            Hope that’s cleared it up for you.

          • Bruce says:

            ^ Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • The View from America says:

    Tsk-Tsk. Not a single finalist from the United States, even though we are 4.3% of the world’s population.

    The USA deserves one slot out of the 20.

    What an outrage!! We expect better from the LSODFC — no question about it.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      The USA does have at least one slot. Teddy Poll was born and educated in the USA (Columbia U, Mannes, Curtis). He will join the staff of San Francisco Opera in the Fall of 2018.

      Not sure why his country is listed as Germany. This makes me doubt the validity of the list.

    • EUuuu says:

      The competition is open to citizens of EU countries. Quote from the website: “The competition is open to conductors aged 30 or under who are citizens of the 28 countries with full membership of the European Union, plus those in Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.”

      • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

        Mr Poll studied for a year in Germany according to his biography. Perhaps he has an EU passport in addition to his US citizenship. Americans with EU roots through parents or grand-parents can sometimes acquire an EU passport. I assume that this is the case here.

      • The View from America says:

        It is an outrage that the competition isn’t open to contestants from Africa, South America, Asia, North America, Oceania or Antarctica.

        What, are there no worthy contestants from these other continents? What makes Europeans so special?

        “Check your EU privilege.”

      • The View from America says:

        “The competition is open to citizens of EU countries. Quote from the website: ‘The competition is open to conductors aged 30 or under who are citizens of the 28 countries with full membership of the European Union, plus those in Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland.'”

        lol — I guess the LSODFC will have to make a special accommodation for UK contestants after Brexit is complete. Otherwise they’ll be holding the competition in a country where their own citizens can’t participate.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Actually, the may have wanted to restrict it to British citizens, but were forced by EU law to open it to the rest of the EU.

  • Rob says:

    What has this competition got to do with music ?

  • Hermann the German says:

    James Joyce is also American and was educated there.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Thanks for the clarification. I was always under the impression that James Joyce, the writer, was born and educated in Ireland and continued his studies in France.


      Robert the Hobbit

      • Mike Schachter says:

        He was born in Ireland which he then avoided, and lived in Trieste and Switzerland, not France. But I don’t see the relevance??

        • Bruce says:

          There is a contestant with last name Joyce, but his first name is Jacob. I think “Robert the Hobbit” is having fun with “Herman the German”‘s mistake.

          – Bruce the …. goose?

          • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

            Your analysis is correct Bruce the Goose. Thanks. Hermann the Germann meant to say Jacob Joyce, I’m sure. I beg forgiveness.

          • Ruth Santer says:

            No lie, Jacob Joyce’s dad is named James Joyce.

            Ruth the truth

  • boringfileclerk says:

    Time to ban all men for a generation in order to attain parity. Down with the Patriarchy!

  • Derek says:

    I was fortunate to sit in and see 4 of these contestants (in a final short list of 8) in a masterclass and auditions a few weeks ago and they had a lot of potential.

    Another excellent candidate was chosen for the position on that occasion (I thought that was the right decision even from my observer perspective), but I was very impressed with another one of the candidates who is listed above and it will be interesting to see the outcome of the contest.

    The Donatella Flick competition appears to attract some very good contestants through the years. Good luck to this group.

  • Bruce says:

    So what we can safely assume, then, is that the male candidates made this list because they are good, and the female candidates made the list because they are female.

    The fact that Norman calls attention to their gender (even if they, their managers if any, and/or the competition itself do not) in itself abolishes any possibility that they may have been chosen on merit.

    Duly noted.


  • PJA says:

    Now I hate to be pedantic, but I think the headline is not trying to say that 4 women out of 20 are in the LSO conducting finals. Rather it should be 4 out of 20 finalists are women. Rather important difference.