10 years from now, Mirga will be in NY and Speranza at La Scala

10 years from now, Mirga will be in NY and Speranza at La Scala


norman lebrecht

March 30, 2019

From my survey of women conductors in the new issue of Standpoint magazine:

As for the future, I predict that, ten years from now, Mirga or Canellakis will be music director of the New York Philharmonic and Speranza Scappucci will be pushed (no one goes willingly) into the hot seat at La Scala. The battle for women in music is almost won…

Read the full article here.


photo: Chris Lee




  • anon says:

    Good God, why would you curse them with a music directorship of the New York Philharmonic?

    Weren’t Rattle, Muti, Salonen all rumored to have turned NY down? And Abbado was about to accept when Berlin called. Phew.

  • sycorax says:

    In 2013 Speranza made Don Giovanni at the Scottish Opera and though the orchestra isn’t something to write home about she did great – and since them I’m convinced she’s to do the “big” career and watch her interested and delighted.

    • John Rook says:

      The orchestra is actually extremely good, so we could ask ourselves what was wrong on that occasion…

      • AnnaT says:

        We *could* then answer ourselves that it probably had something to do with the conductor being a woman. /s/

      • sycorax says:

        In 2013 the orchestra wasn’t so good. They’d gone through a lot of trouble and they were pretty down. Nevertheless Speranza managed to motivate them and they sounded great.

      • GinaHopper says:

        Actually it’s not a great orchestra. Mediocre at the most, with some good players but long past it’s great era when Gibson was MD. It’s been going down in the past 10-15 years

  • Petros Linardos says:

    There is also Emmanuelle Haim, a fantastic early music specialist.

  • Donald Hansen says:

    I may have missed it in your article but I would like to add JoAnn Falletta to your list. She has quite a record (pun intended).

  • Mark says:

    Poor orchestras – and audiences (eye roll). I suppose mediocrity with two X chromosomes is more palatable ? This Mirga woman led one of the worst renditions of Debussy’s “Prélude à l’Après-Midi d’un Faune“ and Tchaikovsky’s 4th I have ever heard in NYC (with the Met Orchestra).

    • NYMike says:

      And I was not impressed with her Brahms 4th @ Juilliard a couple of seasons ago.

    • AnnaT says:

      “This Mirga woman,” really?

    • Ben says:

      Another proof that her cancellations are a blessing!

    • sycorax says:

      And because they’re women they’re mediocre?
      Of course – and you think you’re something special because of your XY chromosoms?

      • Mark says:

        @Sycorax – No, it’s the opposite of what I think – I am still holding on to that radical belief that musicians (and other artists or professionals) should be evaluated on the basis of their talent and work, and nothing else. Do say hi to Caliban for me 😉

    • Chris says:

      I’m not sure the Met orchestra (much as I enjoy their operatic playing) was the right outfit on which to judge performances of the two pieces you mentioned – just saying

  • fflambeau says:

    You seem to think that the N.Y. Phil. is the pinnacle of orchestral work. That hasn’t been true for years; the best American orchestras are in the West: Seattle, S.F., L.A. and the Midwest (Chicago). Note that Salonen never accepted leadership of the N.Y. Phil. (although they wanted him badly) and is now head in S. Fran.

    I think Chicago, after it resolves its internal labor problems, will surprise everyone and choose Marin Alsop as its leader.

    • Bruce says:

      Alsop in Chicago would be interesting. They are terrific at American music and it would be great to have a conductor who’s good at it.

      New York Phil may not be “the pinnacle” of orchestral posts, but it is definitely one of The Big Jobs by virtue of the city and the orchestra’s history. And they are a great orchestra, whenever people bother to notice. Received opinion was that they were sloppy and bad under Mehta, but when Masur took over they were suddenly considered good again. People on SD like to talk about how terrible Alan Gilbert was/is, but it would be interesting to have a naysayer listen to one of their Nielsen symphonies in a blind test and see what they think.

      • fflambeau says:

        Sorry, but Mehta and Masur were a long time ago.

        The orchestras in the West are now better as Salonen’s move to S.F. shows. They also have more money.

        The current conductor in NYC is what, their 4th choice?

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Salonen’s move doesn’t really prove it. His family are out west, and he likes living in California. They also have given him more time to compose than New York would give him.

  • Viola da Bracchio says:

    And Max Emelyanychev will be at the Met. He is already at Glyndebourne this season.

  • RW2013 says:

    de la Parra will have the Wiener Staatsoper, and Chan the Berliner Philharmoniker.

    • Troy van Leeuwen says:

      After De La Parra’s recent Zauberflöte in Berlin, giving her any opera house would probably be a great way of driving that orchestra to the ground.

      De La Parra might be the one woman truly damaging the image of women conducting

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Hopefully Mirga will be forgotten by orchestras and audiences, and this generation of women-conductors will be replaced with a generation of women conductors who are ALL of them there for their conducting abilities and talent, and not pushed into careers by agencies because it has become fashionable to have a woman on the podium.

    When more women go into conducting training, there will be a higher number of high-quality female conductors. What doesn’t make sense is that female conductors are still only a minority of the conducting students, but are a very large part of new agency signings, new conducting positions, guest conductors etc.

    I am sorry, but i often think that if these women were men they’d had never have a career… Of the 6 women who I have seen on the podium with my orchestra this season so far (including 3 assistants who have led rehearsals), only 2 really knew what they were doing, had a high level of musicianship and made us really sound better. One of the six women was a well-known soloist who, as a conductor, was an embarrassment.

    Please, stop pushing these women into careers only because of their sex, and let things develop more organically.

    • FS60103 says:

      You clearly know nothing whatever of the process that won Mirga her current MD position.

      • Ben says:

        FS60103, do you?

        • Chris says:

          FS60103 May not know how Mirga obtained her CBSO position, but I do know a fair amount , and I can assure both you, Ben and FrauGeigerin, that the orchestra, who had selected Rattle, Oramo, AND Nelsons, were very much involved in her appointment.

    • Robert says:

      Tell me , of all the male conductors who have conducted your orchestra this season how many were amazing or made you sound better ? Out of let’s say 20 how many ? Seems to me like 2 out of 6 is actually not bad

    • AngloGerman says:

      Perhaps one of the best, most thoughtful comments this site has seen. Equal opportunities rather than forcing equal outcomes is the only way forward.

    • Ben says:

      Bravo FrauGeigerin!

  • John Borstlap says:

    We will only have a balanced concert life when all males have been expunged from its ranks and authoritarian male domination with its so-called standards will be replaced by fair gender norms! After 2 thousand years of suppression!


    • DAVID says:

      Yes, and in the same spirit let’s also expunge from history all male composers — all mere symptoms of male dominance. Let’s eradicate everything in our culture that might possibly not pass the stringent test of political correctness, so that we may finally revel in a truly friction-free, irreproachable cultural climate — no matter and bland and milquetoast it might be.

  • Tamino says:

    10 years from now, the pope will be a woman too.