Next maestra rising

Next maestra rising


norman lebrecht

April 25, 2019

The Dallas Symphony has hired Katharina Wincor as assistant conductor, part of its fast-track process for women with batons

Wincor, who is 23 and Austrian, has been working with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir in Vienna.




  • Misha says:

    It’s Maestro, Norman, ask any Italian. Maestro is gender neutral, like doctor, minister, professor.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Sweet little face

  • Eric says:

    This is laughable. A major orchestra hires someone who doesn’t even have a degree in conducting. I can’t imagine that there were not far more qualified candidates.
    This does not reflect well on the DSO.

    • Julien says:

      Daniel Harding conducted Don Giovanni in Aix en Provence (major summer festival) at 23, with no experience. Dudamel conducted his first opera at Scala (Don Giovanni) with no lyric experience (even if he was already known). Their degree ? Pushed by Rattle and Abbado.
      Come on, I don’t want to compare her to them, because I don’t know her, but it’s only an assistant job. And Dallas is a very good orchestra, but not a world major orchestra. Not a big deal. Just Norman Lebrecht’s trolling about women conductors, as usual.

    • RW2013 says:

      It’s not about the music anymore…

      • JohnC says:

        Exactly. We, musicians, have become top important. We are a product that now works on the rules of the market and commercial music. Those who sell better for whatever reason (often non-musical reasons) are the ones pushed into big careers.

    • Chris says:

      Those that can, do; Those that cannot, teach; Those that cannot teach, criticise.

      When I joined the professional ranks (as a violinist) I had to demonstrate that I could play – not how many bits of paper I could produce.

    • RW2013 says:

      And it takes a lot of courage to say “I don’t know anything about string players” in front of an orchestra.
      At least the orchestra laughed at her, and not with her.
      Fremdschämen pur.

    • Jim says:

      Which of the music directors of the major orchestras around the world have degrees in conducting?

    • barry guerrero says:

      It does seem odd they’d pick a choir conductor. She must have received orchestral training somewhere along the way. Who knows, she might even be an instrumentalist too. My guess – and it’s just a guess – is that she’s plenty qualified.

    • Neil B. says:

      She does have a degree in conducting from Vienna and is working on her masters at Zürich.

    • Fabio Luisi says:

      She does have a degree in conducting from Musikuniversitaet in Vienna, Austria and she completed her studies in Zurich. And besides that there are and there have been many excellent conductors without an academic degree in conducting.

    • Luciano says:

      What nonsense. Have you read her bio? It’s excellent for someone her age. She has studied conducting at some of the best schools in Europe – Vienna, Weimar and now Zurich. The rest of her bio is great too. I can’t imagine a more qualified candidate. Plus… her predecessors in this position have gone on to have big careers. That reflects VERY well on Dallas. I think they know what they are doing.

    • Talking the talk says:

      Eric it’s laughable you consider a ‘degree’ in conducting these days is a meaningful indicator of talent or sufficient qualification to be in assistant conductor in Dallas or anywhere else. The level of teaching of conducting is generally now so poor that by far the majority of graduates that come from any conservatoire or university are technically ill equipped to do the job they qualified for. Ask any orchestral musician, they’re the ones that suffer this laughable situation on a daily basis.

    • Anon says:

      Many of the greatest conductors in history did not even have a degree in conducting.
      Many of the worst conductors earned a degree in conducting after failing miserably at their primary instrument.

    • Hmmm, I dare say if this were a hot young man with as many years of working with orchestras and no degree, it would be “exciting” and “refreshing”. Dudamel?

    • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

      It’s silly to use a degree as a measure of education or competence; even Gustavo Dudamel didn’t have a degree. And many conductors out there, who started as musicians especially, do not have degrees.

    • Bill says:

      Eric, could you remind us all where the following people got their conducting degrees?

      Arturo Toscanini
      Wilhelm Furtwängler
      George Szell
      Fritz Reiner
      Sir John Barbirolli
      Daniel Barenboim
      Lorin Maazel

      Simply having a conducting degree does not make you a conductor any more than the absence of one necessarily makes you an unqualified hack.

    • Luigi Nonono says:

      I listened to a recording they made under Mata. Very accurate, technically perfect, and not one note of music.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    ==doesn’t even have a degree in conducting

    Really, performers and (more especially composers) in university music departments chasing their degrees often look hopeless in their ivory towers. Barbirolli was no fan of these types. Experience trumps every time.
    This young girl is surely worth watching

  • Again says:

    It should say a lot that Dallas did not even offer an application for the “position”, and plucked a conductor from a country over 3500 miles away. Someone has connections in the bin somewhere. A shame that they won’t support an open application with transparency. They did the same thing previously this year with their so called “Resident Conductor” position.

  • Fabio Luisi says:

    DSO doesn’t have a fast-track for women with baton. She has been selected among several candidates, males and females, and she was the best one. DSO offers equal chances to conductors, no matter which gender. Quality counts, not gender or race or religion. If we select female conductors for our activities, we don’t select them because they are women, we select them because they are good.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Strictly speaking “thought to be the best one”. At this stage you are choosing on potential. And usually, there are a number of good candidates. You hope you have made a good choice and that the candidate goes on to have a good career. But there is plenty of hard work to get there…

  • Hans says:

    Indeed, it is Maestro. Maestro Speranza Cappucci who conducts often at Vienna Staatsoper told me the reason why: in Italy, elementary school teachers are called Maestra and female conductors do not want people to believe they are teachers.

  • We’re this young thing male she’d be deemed a “wunderkind” already, not just a woman with a baton in a fast-track process (that sounds awfully like we’re just filling a quota, ma’am).

  • Ben says:

    Gender fairness is great. But you cannot hurry greatness.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Here we go again. Another young woman, who has not even graduated from College or Conservatoire, landing a major assistant position. Are we crazy? Seriously. Are you telling me that there was NO candidate better (with school finished and more experienced) than a 23 year old? We are crazy.

    I am completely sure that if this lady was a man of the same talent and preparation he would had NEVER been given this position. Please, stop pushing women into positions they are not ready for. This is NOT the way. You are not making US (women) a favor. Please, push more women into conducting classes at major conservatoires and be fair in auditions, competitions, entrance exams etc. How is it possible that women are still a minority in conducting classes and there are SOOOO many positions, agency signings etc. being given to women? I insist: positive discrimination is not the way.

  • RRH says:

    Fast-track for women… you know, the worst that can happen to any musician starting a career right now is being a white european male.

  • Pauken2000 says:

    No degree and only 23 and getting such appointment? One could think it is because some extraordinary talent, but I am pretty sure a lot of it has to do with her two teachers (Stringer in Vienna and Schlaefli in Zürich), who are famous both for having no conducting careers and using their connections to help their students [nothing wrong with that].

  • Julien says:

    I guess that some people didn’t see the comment of Fabio Luisi, Music Director designate. If he said she was the best candidate (and Jaap Van Zweden saw her in Gstaad), she was. End of the story (women/man, young, bla, bla, bla).
    Except if you considerate you are more competent than Luisi and Van Zweden.

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    A choral conductor with a wispy presence conducting a major orchestra? Laughable.

    • silveroboe says:

      Of course. There is something else there. It is obvious. I play in a pit orchestra and I laugh at the young male/female assistants we are sent by top conductors. Some of them have conducted concerts with major symphonic orchestras, and still at 25 or 26 can barely beat clearly or conduct a recitative… they think conducting is all about energy and passion. Can’t major conductors take more experienced assistants?