All the women who ever conducted at the Salzburg Festival

All the women who ever conducted at the Salzburg Festival


norman lebrecht

August 06, 2020

Our allies on the high redoubt have been scouring the dungeons for traces of gender diversity. Here’s the ultimate list:


Anne Manson, Abbado’s assistant, replaced him on August 25, 1994 in one performance of Boris Godunov.

Julia Jones jumped in five times in Die Entführung aus dem Serail in 2004, replacing Marcello Viotti. She also led a Mozart Matinee.


Dominique My conducted a Nono-to-Neuwirth programee on August 8, 1998.

Laurence Equilbey had several concerts in 2012.

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla performed her Young Conductors Award concert on August 12, 2012.

Erina Yashima led the children’s opera Der Schauspieldirektor on August 5, 2018.


Giedrė Šlekytė had her award concert on August 8, 2015

Sian Edwards conducted Scelsi on August 7, 2007

Anu Tali had a Mozart matinee on August 19, 2006

Elisabeth Fuchs led a youth orchestra on July 28, 2006.

That’s all, folks.

UPDATE: We are reminded that Simone Young cnducted a Sciarrino concert at Klangforum in 2008. I may even have been there.


  • RRF says:

    Great. Please, now the list of all performances by black and asian conductors….

  • Hermann Lederer says:

    The list is not ultimate: f.e. in 2008 Simone Young conducted Sciarrino with the Klangforum Wien

  • alan says:

    “Our allies on the high redoubt…” – what on earth does that mean? Now NL cannot even string a decent English sentence together. This blog is cementing its reputation as a slap-dash joke in the cultural sphere.

  • Gustavo says:

    I would also fancy a list of compositions by female composers performed at Salzburg…

    The Festspiele in catholic Salzburg are conservative by definition and are dominated by traditional etiquette rules.

    Change of such well established systems don’t happen over night.

    The ultra-conservative attitude in Salzburg is currently giving us a Corona-resistant edition of the Summer Festival, which is better than nothing or cyber-stream alternatives from Bayreuth and Glyndebourne.

    But the awareness of the Salzburg gender issue seems to be out there in the local media – so there is still hope!

    While Lucerne overdid it with a trendy festival of female talent (probably too much at a time), Salzburg seems to prefer to wait until the natural selection process has determined a female icon through invitations to the Vienna Philharmonic.

    We’ll see in 2120 where we are.

  • John Rook says:

    Yup, Anne Manson leading the way years before women conductors became fashionable. Let’s hear more about her and less about the recent bandwaggoners.

    • Gustavo says:

      Let Marilyn Manson produce an opera for Salzburg!

      • Sisko24 says:

        If Marilyn Manson were to produce an opera there, I would sell my (non-existent) riches to get there to experience it…and I’d probably be forced to fight my way in through the crowd of billions of others who were fans or just curious about the event.

    • Couperin says:

      Hear, hear! Anne Manson was, and IS, the Real Deal.

  • mary says:

    In other words, women were only brought in
    1) to replace a man
    2) conduct children’s concerts
    3) conduct youth orchestras
    4) take part in their own “award programs”
    4) conduct odd little programs
    5) conduct matinees

    Got it.

    • Gustavo says:

      That’s Salzburg.

      Karajan, Jedermann, and sucking Mozart balls.

    • AndrewB says:

      Laurence Equilbey wasn’t actually anybody’s replacement. She conducted a new work during the festival opening ceremony in the Felsenreitschule, a Bach programme in the concert hall of the Mozarteum which was broadcast and a Mozart mass in the St Peter’s Church among others – all with fully professional, adult artists. I believe she has returned to conduct other works in Salzburg since. I don’t know about the participation of the other ladies cited here.

  • annnon says:

    Sometimes I wonder what Europe would still be like without America.

    Droit de seigneur?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Gotta blame all those fighter pilots who died over the UK and Europe, enjoying all that white privilege as they crashed and burned. Americans mostly not involved in that and it must be ironically comforting right now when the white privilege accusation is being flung indiscriminately, far and wide.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    Sometimes I wonder what America would be like without Europe.
    Roaming bison and slavery instead of woke colleges?

    Incidentally, it’s ‘du seigneur’, not ‘de’.
    And more properly addressed as ‘droit de cuissage’.

    Which in itself appears to be largely a myth; the first documented usage of the term is, as far as available documents permit to circumscribe it, the early 1760s. The main force behind the worthy but vain struggle against what seems to have been the ghost of a windmill was Voltaire; he deftly used this canard to castigate, by proxy, the privileges and abuses of the French class system. As we know all too well from Beaumarchais, the meme caught on.

    Historians of mentalities have long been interested in the question why this myth was believed, why it gained credibility and was credited with plausibility.

    The literature on the subject is vast. A succinct stepping stone:

    • mary says:

      On “droit de seigneur” vs “droit du seigneur”:

      You’re being pedantic for all the wrong reasons. If no such right existed, that it was a myth, then there was no official term, so usage, as it evolved over time and geography, is what matters, and both terms existed and evolved in Italy, France, Germany, England.

      And whether you use the preposition “de” or the partitive article “du” depends on the grammatical use you want to make of “droit” and/or of “seigneur”.


  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Simone Young. Absolute champion.

  • Laura says:

    Giedre also conducted the children’s opera a couple of years back.

  • Patrick says:

    Would love to see the percentage of professional conductors, by gender, who have conducted at the Salzburg Festival.

  • michaele says:

    i cannot no longer accept any male or female conductors. nor can i accept any trans, as that is too commonplace. only those who do not identify as anything, whether gender or sexuality or musical preference! That is the future!