The first ‘female conductor in residence’?

The first ‘female conductor in residence’?


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2019

Message received:

Welsh National Opera is delighted to announce Tianyi Lu as the first Female Conductor in Residence.

Described by WNO Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi as having ‘great musicality with a natural charisma on the podium’, Tianyi Lu is the first recipient of this residency, launched by WNO to help re-address the gender balance across the industry.  The scheme was developed following WNO’s ‘Where Are All the Women’ symposium in 2018 during which a panel of women and delegates shared experiences on challenges facing women in the classical music industry.

Does this mean WNO will permanently keep open a conducting post for a woman? It looks like the same sort of gesture signalling that is going on at the BBC.





  • Una says:

    Not before time. The day will come when there is equality and one will just be a conductor, or a rabbi, or a bus driver or prime minister, without the word ‘female’. They wouldn’t dare put ‘gay’ otlr ‘male’ infront of those nouns!

  • V.Lind says:

    Seems to me it is the sort of gesture signalling you have long lobbied for in these columns! Are we entering the phase of “be careful what you wish for”? Or are you — commendably — reviewing a position?

  • M2N2K says:

    This looks to me like the most insulting title for female conductors everywhere.

    • Jack says:

      Agreed. Something to toss into the ash heap along with ‘conductress’. Does WNO have a position for “Female Conductor” and a separate category for “Real (read male) Conductor in Residence”?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Nicely done!! Best wishes for the future.

  • Bruce says:

    Looks like they paid attention to what was said in their above-mentioned symposium and decided to act on it.

    Now all that has to happen (hahahahahahahahaha) is for people to realize that “female” doesn’t automatically mean a compromise in quality. If they go about their work right, they should have no trouble finding top-notch young talent.

  • Peter says:

    I know what a gesture is, and I’ve heard of Virtue Signalling. But what on earth is “Gesture Signalling”. Surely gestures are a means of signalling ?
    Anyway, Norman, do you in principle object to using gestures as a means of signalling something ? Or if sending out signals through making gestures.

  • Peter says:

    Oh and congratulations to TianYi Lu. It is a wonderful opportunity and I hope she does a great job.

  • Alan says:

    How about a ‘Black conductor in residence’ or ‘Asian conductor in residence’ or ‘LGBT conductor in residence’?

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      Never, but it is now fashionable to hire women, regardless of their quality and/or experience. It is the current ‘cool thing’ in this absurd positive-action/politically-correct world we are living in.

      • M2N2K says:

        Never say never! If this is the “current cool thing”, then in a few years something else can become “current cool thing” and it is hard to predict what that will be, but it is sure to be just as “absurd” as the current “cool thing”.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        But this woman and others who’ve been hired under the same arrangements may be genuinely talented. Let’s give them a fair go and see what happens.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      “or ‘LGBT conductor in residence’?”

      Whence this fashion for conjoining gay people with trans people? They are entirely different sorts of people. Gay men don’t conceive themselves to be woman and lesbians don’t identify as men.

  • Chris says:

    The expression is redress, not ‘re-address’ – notwithstanding the actual sentiment – just that someone in WNO clearly hasn’t had an English language education

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    For the record Chris hardly anyone at WNO speaks Welsh. Just a mistake by their press Dept. no doubt.