Yannick books 6 women conductors for Phildelphia

The season has just been rolled out.

Six women to take the podium: Marin Alsop, Karina Canellakis, Jane Glover, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Susanna Mälkki and Nathalie Stutzmann

Compositions by 12 women to be performed: Lera Auerbach, Lili Boulanger, Anna Clyne, Zosha Di Castri, Louise Farrenc, Elena Firsova, Gabriela Lena Frank, Vivian Fung, Jessica Hunt, Betsy Jolas, Raminta Šerkšnytė. Plus a world premiere by Valerie Coleman to open the subscription season.

Gabriela Lena Frank serves as composer-in-residence

To mark Beethoven’s 250th birthday, Nézet-Séguin to conduct all nine symphonies in one month alongside new works by Gabriela Lena Frank and composers from her Creative Academy of Music

Yefim Bronfman, Daniil Trifonov, and Emanuel Ax to perform all five piano concertos in three binge-worthy weeks; Gil Shaham to perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto


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  • As a Philly subscriber, I won’t say I’m thrilled. I guess prioritizing the gender of the conductor may work for some, and I approve of giving young conductors a look, but I’d like to see a better mix with more veterans who have a strong track-record on the podium.

    The only program with a guest conductor that really has me excited is one that features Tugan Sokhiev conducting Shostakovich’s 5th symphony.

    Blomstedt is coming. But he’s conducting the Symphonie Fanstastique. I may go see that, but it would be nice to see him conduct Bruckner. Yanhick only programs one Bruckner symphony every other season in Philly. He’s conducting the third next season. Blomstedt conducting the fourth or fifth would have been nice.

      • Is their audience 42.6% black? The performers generally reflect their audience, and that is healthy. What you are arguing is cliche.

        • Perfomers generally reflect their audience? No? Why?
          That’s the most segregated comment I have heard here for a while.

      • Er…the catchment area for Philly is wider than the city boundaries. If you exclude the suburbs you will misunderstand the true racial make-up of the population who have the potential to attend the concerts. [And that assumes “race” is, or should be, important.]

    • Sadly, POA has been under the gun from this blog and local Philly media.

      If POA’s hands were not forced, why the bold WOMEN NOW proclamation in their online brochure. It’s worth kind of political correctness, full of social agenda undertone.

      It’s not wrong, it simply looks weird from an esteemed organization like POA.

    • I’m not denying they’re talented. And I don’t have a problem with giving female conductors more of an opportunity than they’ve had in the past. But there are very good male conductors that the Orchestra has engaged in recent seasons with whom I had hoped they would develop a stronger relationship with an eye toward eventually replacing Yannick. None of them are on next season’s schedule, although it’s good to see Sokhiev on there after he had to cancel his appearance last season. They should be able to work in talented female conductors without completely sacrificing any potential budding relationships with male conductors, not to mention the relative absence of veterans. But that’s not possible if the goal is simply to promote women and not to build relationships with the best conductors in the business.

      Deneve’s principal guest conductor contract is up after next season as he moves on to St. Louis. If they don’t hire a replacement, that would leave a few extra weeks to bring in a better mix of conductors, of both genders and with varying levels of experience.

      On the other hand, given the new management’s apparent inclinations, I would almost bet money they’ll pick one of the female conductors on next season’s roster to replace Deneve.

      • Whoa! The Vienna Phil let a woman conduct them? I had to do some googling on that. I found this by William Osborne:
        “The Times is mistaken about Anne Manson. She conducted the Salzberger Festspiel Orchestra, which is technically not the Vienna Philharmonic. The Vienna Philharmonic denies that she has ever conducted them. (Or at least until it became a necessity to claim Manson for PR reasons.) ”

        But aren’t most of the members of the Salzberger Festspiel Orchestra also in the Vienna Phil? What’s the story? Did they have to pay the orchestra bonuses to let a woman conduct?

        • It’s a tricky issue and I think William Osborne knows the answer better than I off the cuff but I think it has to do with the VPO only being the VPO when performing in Vienna, maybe with a certain line-up. When they play in Salzburg they’re known as something else, even if it’s all the same players. Rather like the England cricket team once being known as the MCC when they toured abroad (later changed to England, full stop). Ultimately doesn’t change the fact that Anne Manson was the first woman to conduct that ensemble, whatever they chose to call themselves on that occasion.

        • Anne Manson’s appearance with the Vienna Philharmonic is included in the orchestra’s online archive, sa well as in the online archive of the Festival. So yes, Anne Manson conducted the Vienna Philharmonic, not “Salzberger Festspiel Orchestra” – which is the first time that I hear this term (and shouldn’t it be “Salzburger”?)

          There’s nothing on the Salzburg Festival web site, nor in its archives that lists a Salzberger (or Salzburger) Festspiel Orchestra (Orchester?) Plenty of references to the Vienna Philharmonic.

  • Beethoven was male; he has no business being in this lineup! Away with him and away with Nézet-Séguin and the rest of the patriarchy!

  • If they included Emmanuelle Haim & arguably Simone Young, all the notable women conductors would have been represented. It shows good taste to choose them on merit, rather than only because they are women. So conductors like Alondra De La Parra miss out, which is a good thing.

  • Ridiculous. But this orchestra has been doing abysmal programming for years, and their declining audience shows it.

  • YNS will do all 9 Beethovens @ Carnegie as well. Karina Kanellakis is one hell of a conductor. Glad to see her guest in Philly.

    • It’s an outrage! To add insult to injury all these concertos were written by a man! When will Teh Patriarchy relinquish its stranglehold on western art?! OMG.

  • Hm.

    I don’t see Marin Alsop mentioned in Peter Dobrin’s article about the season in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Is it announced as “6 women” or are there 6, if you count up the women conducting? I wonder because some of them already are guest conducting in Philly.

  • I was trying to hold back my feeling about the female conductors in next season … but I cannot stop it….

    Karina – truly excited to see that

    Alsop – always a treat. Bravo

    Glover – outstanding, glad to see her back so soon!

    Mälkki – could be interesting

    Mirga – OMG… She gave the boring, underwhelming Mahler 4th @ Philly, and that’s not an easy thing to achieve. Cut Pressler interview short pre-concert. Very nice outfit. Nothing else to remember. May be she’d do better with Tchaikovsky 4th which the orchestra could play really well in their sleep.

    N.S. – OMG … Was at her rehearsal with Philly last week. Lotsa talking during Haydn, not much interesting results. Poor Benjamin Grosvenor only got to play-thru the Beethoven 1st. Not a single bar repeated since the rehearsal was running way behind. He was ushered off stage almost instantly after piece had ended. Grosvenor was very gracious but I would have exploded. I wish N.S. could do more good things with Beethoven Op 60. Didn’t happen. Funny thing … she did a few Alondra De La Parra dances while conducting the Haydn … I was like, ha!

    • Absolutely agree. Glover, Alsop, Malkki and Canellakis are top shelf conductors. Glover is the music director of Chicago based Music of the Baroque. She routinely gives phenomenal performances. Alsop is the American trailblazer. She recently did a fantastic Copeland 3rd with the CSO. Malkki has also done great work in Chicago. She should be on any top tier orchestra’s short list for the next MD. Canellakis, the youngest of these four is truly a star in the making. I have yet to see her live, but whatever I can hear from her on YouTube and radio are consistantly good. The same cannot be said of Mirga. Most of what I can find from her are simple direct run throughs. Although they can have lots of energy, all get boring in a hurry. Stutzman is a great singer, and she should keep doing she does best.

  • If they want to feature female composers they should have programmed some Ethel Smyth. They did her opera The Wreckers at Bard a few years ago and Laval played her Mass in D also. Excellent works.

  • One thing that’s kind of great about this: it shows that if you go looking for female conductors specifically, you don’t have to make compromises in quality in order to find them.

    Sure, there are mediocre and/or bad ones out there, but that is also true (SO TRUE) for male conductors. If Philadelphia’s guest roster was all male, there would still be tons of “OMG, why does that hack keep getting work” comments.

  • If the goal was to showcase female conductors and composers I’d be interested why Joann Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic wasn’t included. Her work has been well reviewed and received throughout her career and she championed women composers throughout. Sorry but at this point I wish MG-T would focus on improving her craft in Birmingham and resist the urge to appear with orchestras prematurely. Recently I watched her performance of the Mahler 1st and was completely underwhelmed.

  • In the caption above this post, the name of the city in question is misspelled. It’s Philadelphia, not Phildelphia.


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