Maestro move: Canada signs Kiwi

Maestro move: Canada signs Kiwi


norman lebrecht

December 17, 2019

Symphony Nova Scotia has appointed the New Zealander Holly Mathieson, 38, as its music director, starting next month.

Mathieson, who lives in Scotland, co-directs the countrywide Nevis Ensemble with her husband Jon Hargreaves. She recently cut a debut disc on Decca – Clara Schumann’s piano concerto with Isata Kanneh-Mason and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

She has conducted many of the UK orchestras.



  • Candlesticks says:

    Excellent news – congratulations Holly!

  • LLawrence says:

    Most signings lately are women. Women are less than 20% of the conducting students, but still more than half of conducting signings lately are women. Are they a lot more talented than men in conducting? Just saying…

    • Candlesticks says:

      An interesting point. May I suggest that talent is equally distributed between genders but that opportunities are not. Until recently no women were signed at all. Every woman appointmeed will encourage others to enter what has, until recently been exclusively male territory. Ultimately the profession will be best served with equal representation, where talent can develop free of the shackles of gender stereotyping.

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        Equal representation, 50-50, is not neccesary. Positive discrimination or affirmative action are not needed. Quotas are demeaning.

        The way is called “justice” and is not based on giving one sex priority over the other (as I, many others, perceive it is happening), but with fairness in the auditions, panels, juries etc. The best should get the appointments regardless of their sex. And right now, there is favoritism towards women in conducting, and that does not help anyone except those who are getting jobs that otherwise, with their own merits, would not get. If we want more women in conducting we should first encourage more women to apply to study conducting (to prepare the entrance auditions and fight for a place) and then make sure that their sex is not important when they apply for a job. That is the only way, because artificial measures are just for the public perception and their effect last only as long as the [positive discrimination] measures are in action.

        I am a woman. I play in a major orchestra, and did not need affirmative action to get my job. Only needed an audition panel that did not care about my sex. That is the way.

        • Candlesticks says:

          I agree with everything you say. There are, however, far fewer women on the podium than men. Is the answer, as I think you suggest, evolution, or revolution? Do we wait for talent to develop and claim its place at the top, or force the pace by positive discrimination, as South African sports teams have done, with considerable success? I’m not sure I know, but diversity is increasingly an issue for funders so expect the latter. Either way Holly is a fine conductor and has achieved her successes on merit alone.

    • Talking the Talk says:

      “More than half”? That’s quite a statement, any numbers to back that up?

      And as for their male colleagues, who knows how much value and talent come into the decision to sign?

    • Bruce says:

      Here’s a fun thought: maybe women are more talented than men at conducting! And now that they’re being given [more of] a chance, they’re taking over all the jobs!

      Since you pose your question as a kind of hypothetical, I’m giving an answer that is a hypothetical “maybe.”

  • R andolph Magri-Overend says:

    Well done Holly…is she related to the Matheson clan that comprises 2 brothers…one a musician and the other a stage director?