The next wave of women conductors

The next wave of women conductors


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2018

Dallas Opera, the leader in training women conductors, has chosen six more candidates for this winter’s intitute.
They are:

Sonia Ben-Santamaria (France)


· Priscila Bomfim (Brazil)

· Sarah Penicka-Smith (Australia)

· Audrey Saint-Gil (France/USA)

· Maria Sensi Sellner (USA)

· Emily Senturia (USA)


  • Graeme says:

    I’ve played under Sarah. A worthy candidate I would say.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The final examination will include conducting ‘The Ride of the Valkyries.’

  • Harpsi says:

    Was this sexist remark supposed to be funny?

  • luigi nonono says:

    Favoritism toward women is as much gender discrimination as is favoritism to men, which is almost non-existent. When men are hired it is because they are best, not because they are male. And in fields where women dominate, they make no attempt to hire men to balance the field. They are only too happy to exclude men. NO SPECIAL TREATMENT. If they want to be as good as men, they have to compete with men.

    • Sue says:

      Wash your mouth out with soap!!

    • Conducting feminista says:

      Bullshit! Women are superior to men! God favors women because God is a woman and created women first! Conducting is becoming an all women field.

    • Bruce says:

      Keep in mind that the “special treatment” will stop soon. After getting into these “special” programs (which, just so we’re clear, do not by their existence cause there to be fewer programs for which men are eligible) and out again, they will still have to audition for jobs against everybody else.

      If at that point getting jobs because of their gender or looks is still an issue, consider that perhaps — just perhaps — there have been male conductors who have gotten jobs based on their looks as well.

      (I wonder if Bernstein would have been so successful so young if he hadn’t been so beautiful. No denying his talent, obviously; but he clearly had an appeal to the masses beyond, or at least different from, what Reiner or Walter had. He wasn’t yet the benevolent old patriarch we came to know later. And ditto for Stokowski: was Stokowski considered a genius because of how things sounded when he conducted them, or because he had that hair/ those hands/ that profile?)

    • John Borstlap says:

      “And in fields where women dominate, they make no attempt to hire men to balance the field.” That gives pause to think. In a nun monastery there is no desire to get the gender balance equalized, the same as in monk monasteries, although with the monks that may be regretted more than with the nuns, but how would that be with midwives? Are there really fields, apart from religious communities, which are female-dominated, and apart from child bearing?

      I think feminism is a female-dominated field but that is, by all means, a minor exception, like feminist musicology.

  • Charles LG Conlon says:

    ‘Be Nice, Be Respectful’.

  • Ben says:

    Where’s that old mid-west “man”? He would fly to Dallas in no time if he knows.

  • Conducting Feminista says:

    The male conductor is slowly becoming an extinct dinosaur. Women are completely taking over conducting.

    • Bruce says:

      Oh, I don’t know if it’s happening that quickly. It will probably take another 6 months at least.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      The taking over goes on by suspending jurisprudential standards, and establishing parallel legal systems in the main stream media and social media. In this way a new wave of Valkyrie conductors will ride over the battlefield of classical music, they will catch the souls of dead white male conductors and concert masters and throw them in hell (of course, the Valhala will be reserved exclusively for the sisters who fall in the battle with their swords, I mean batons, in hand).

      Do you agree? 🙂

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        PS: I wish all well for the six female conductors named in this blog feature, all unknown to me, and look forward to attend their concerts.

  • Ann says:

    I am a white woman and think this is great, but what about the African American conductors? Orchestras are helping women and Latinos, why not African Americans?

  • Saxon Broken says:

    For those who complain about female dominated industries.

    Primary school teaching is dominated by female teachers, and some think this is a problem (especially for boys brought up by single mothers). Primary schools are actively being encouraged to hire some male teachers to ensure there are at least some male role models in the school.