12 named in all-women conducting contest

12 named in all-women conducting contest


norman lebrecht

June 30, 2020

It has just been confirmed that the postponed La Maestra tournament will go ahead in Paris in late September.

The candidates are:

Mélisse BRUNET, 42 (France)
Sara CANEVA, 28 (Italy)
Stephanie CHILDRESS, 20 (UK/France)

Holly CHOE, 28 ans (South Korea/ USA)
Maria FULLER, 29 (Canada)
Lina GONZALEZ-GRANADOS, 33 (Colombia)
Yuwon KIM, 31 (South Korea)
Jiajing LAI, 28 (China)
Delyana LAZAROVA, 34 (Bulgaria)
Ana Maria PATIÑO-OSORIO, 24 (Colombia)
Rebecca TONG, 35 (USA / Indonésia)
Gladysmarli del Valle VADEL MARCANO, 24 (Vénézuéla)

The jury will be chaired by Ewa Bogusz-Moore, General Director of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

UPDATE: Make that 13: Marie Rosenmir (Sweden) has been added.


  • batonbaton says:

    Childress enters every competition going it seems, was once a violinist, how aspires to conduct… hmm…

  • Principal Flute says:

    This kind of competitions make a bad name for all female conductors out there. It’s always about equality and diversity, but never about real talent or conducting / musicianship skills.

    • Emil says:

      This is getting tedious. Please explain why equality, diversity, and skill are mutually exclusive. No one says ‘hire any woman’ – skill is still the determining factor. So please explain why a competition of women would not, in your view, be judged by talent.
      And none of this gets a career out of it – if they’re good, they’ll be hired; if they’re not, they won’t, like thousands of winners of prestigious competitions before, who fade into obscurity.

      And honestly, I’m more concerned when I see a competition like the Mahler, with 11 white guys/12. That screams ‘structural problems’ much more than any women-only competition (and, also, the Mahler should put to rest the myth that sexism in conducting has been solved by the few rising women conductors).

      • Novagerio says:

        Bravo Emil!

      • Andrew Freeman says:

        The contest is named “La Maestra” and DISCRIMINATES against men.

        It’s sexist.

        Further, there are some jobs which clearly outline slots for women, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, etc. so they DISCRIMINATE against all other candidates.

        The Jewish reference is for both faith based jobs and US Treasury Secretary (even Obama couldn’t get a black in…)

        • Emil says:

          Saying that La Maestra is “discriminating” (and that that is bad) is like saying that a plaster is bad because it takes the place of the skin. Structural discrimination is rife in the conducting world (have we forgotten the recurring news of prominent conductors saying it’s a “man’s job”, or the constant comments on blog posts on SD to the same effect?). One competition will not change that on its own. It is very much a plaster on a gaping wound, and at the moment you’re focusing on the plaster.

          As for your mention of a “clearly outlined slot” for “Jews” for the “US Treasury Secretary”, I really hope I’m reading that wrong because the way I’m reading it is very very bad.

  • La Maestra says:

    Ridiculous gimmicks such as the La Maestra competition are the unfortunate consequences of the “female conductors” movement initiated by two of today’s most overrated and unqualified female conductors – Marin Alsop and Alondra de la Parra.
    It’s so sad that they are now busy making clones of themselves though all sorts of initiatives such as La Maesta, the taki fellowship and the Dallas heart institute for female conductors, just so they can feel good with their mediocre skills and pretend they are on top of the pyramid. The worse thing about it however, is that we are now seeing more and more mediocre and unqualified female conductors who are imitating their conducting and think it’s ok to be skilless, but still get opportunities that are so much above their level – only because they are female conductors. How sad…

    • Larry D says:

      How dare these women! How dare they! Mediocrities all! Back to the kitchen and take off those shoes!

    • Jaspers John says:

      I have always wondered about the conducting of Dalia Atlas. She seems to have had a solid career and looked authoritative. But that was in advertising.

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      Agree. This is not neccesary; what is neccesary is that sex, race, and age does not matter when judging an artist. I am a woman, have won violin competitions, have won jobs in several orchestras and never needed this kind of cosmetic PR stunts; what I needed was a panel that did not care about my genitals, my age or the colour of my skin. Positive discrimination and this sort of activities do nothing in favour of equality, as they are on their own a form of discrimination.

  • Ariadne says:

    They should have just canceled this joke…

  • World View says:

    THIS is what individual groups truly want…

    to be SEGREGATED by their label!

    Then each group gets upset when their merits and sense of humanity are challenged by the truly diverse world.

    How cheap and common of groups like this..

  • Jaspers John says:

    Women can conduct well, but femininity and conducting do not mix. That goes for men, too.

  • John Rook says:

    The relentless pursuit of box-ticking mediocrity continues unabated. I think back to real women conductors (Anne Manson, Jane Glover etc) who succeeded on merit and could weep.

    • Audrey Pedersen says:

      Everyone needs to remember how discriminatory the conducting Arena has been in addition to other areas for women but this one it’s especially difficult and I don’t see any problem -if the women can’t conduct decently they’ll never make it past this one anyway so everybody calm down

  • Alphonse says:

    This is, in a word, embarrassing. If I were a woman I would feel absolutely insulted to be a part of this farce, as if being a woman is some sort of disability, and all male competitors must be excluded in order for the women to be able to even stand a chance. Unbelievable.

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      I am a woman, and I fear the moment someone comes and let’s transpire that I got my current position in my orchestra because of some ridiculous quota or positive discrimination and not merit.

    • Bruce says:

      If you were a woman, you would be perfectly free not to enter.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Classical music is facing the most serious crisis in history. Regardless of the capabilities of these individuals it does not need these pointless gimmicks. In the coming months there will be fewer orchestras for anyone to conduct

  • Mr. Schwa says:

    They have omitted two of the finest young female conducting talents:

    Maestra Juste Laik-Aman, Swedish-born but raised and trained in Jordan___________


    Hildegard Tacktlos-Schwabelbusen from Männlichdorf, Germany____________

    However, it should be stated up-front that both conductresses
    will only agree to lead works by female composers. And compositions by Tranny composers who were born male
    will NOT be acceptable.________

  • Peter says:

    I don’t see what the point of an all-female competition is. In sports it is common because one gender has a physical advantage / disadvantage, and so grouping by gender makes more a more balanced competition. Ditto age groups for child / youth competitions.
    But unless the intention is to demonstrate that there is a natural difference in conducting ability between genders (and surely there isn’t !) then there should be no need to exclude one gender from the event.
    How might one react to female only or male only prizes in an instrumental competition ? Surely both genders would be insulted ?
    So isn’t this also an insult to the competitors, since it can only look like a Second League for women ?

  • Bruce says:

    Who knows, maybe there will be someone with solid chops and real potential. If that’s the case, it won’t matter down the road what competitions they won. (When you think of Radu Lupu, what’s the first thing you think of? Is it “1966 Van Cliburn gold medalist”?)

    The way I see it, management companies and orchestras can look at this competition, decide what it’s worth, and decide if they are interested in representing the winner(s). If the winner’s package includes guaranteed gigs with some orchestras, those groups can decide for themselves if they want to invite her back.

    Speaking of the Van Cliburn, my orchestra for several years where we would pre-book one of the winners as a soloist, before knowing who they would be (the brochure would say “Van Cliburn medalist to be determined”). They were always really good, but we never had one come back. I later found out the reason: the Van Cliburn would subsidize their fee so the orchestra got them at a reduced rate for that first gig. Then they never wanted to pay full price (whatever that was) for them later. So if this competition offers guest-conducting gigs as part of the prize, it might work like that.

  • Zephyr says:

    How about a BAME Conducting Competition? Or maybe even a competition for each and every minority group. An LGBT competition? Ridiculous.

    • batonbaton says:

      No doubt they could engage Chineke! to play for the BAME competition…. not a bad band, but hardly first rate

  • Nigel Goldberg says:

    Tournament, nothing else to say.

  • Marcelle says:

    What I find hilarious is…isn’t it ironic to have an all-female conducting competition when we are striving for equality? Isn’t it…more sexist in a way?

    (I’m a woman violinist btw)

  • Primo Clarinet says:

    Childress at it again. Pompous, doesn’t come close..
    Nothing like upper class privilege