Agencies are signing more women conductors than men

Agencies are signing more women conductors than men


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2021

We haven’t done a precise headcount but the reconing at Slippedisc Towers is that new agency signings for condcutors are running 60:40 female to male.

The latest is French conductor Chloé van Soeterstède joins Wittenberg Artists in North America.

Market demand, or social conscience?


  • S says:

    OR they’re good conducts…

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Social conscience? Social media pressure, more like.

  • DonJuan says:

    In other news, audiences dwindle as female mediocrity takes center stage
    I say let them ‘shine’. Affirmative action shines a light on incompetence and exposes idiocy.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      There have always been great musicians, regardless of gender (or race):
      Martha Argerich, Emmanuelle Haim, Wynton Marsallis, Fou Ts’ong…

    • Novagerio says:

      The “good” sexism in reverse…

    • Karl says:

      The free market should work things out in the end. The phrase get woke go broke has a basis in reality. The ratings for NBA games has tanked and the Oscar broadcast viewership was abysmal.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        And they’ll never ‘get it’ because they’re not the sharpest tools in the shed to begin with!!!

  • caranome says:

    95% of audience won’t know the difference, as opposed to the cranks on this site who will critique A’s performance in 1984 vs. B’s in 1995. All they see is a pretty young woman waving her arms, which seems newer, more pleasant n “better” than middle-age white dude. So that’s access n progress for u.

    • BRUCEB says:

      “All they see is a pretty young woman waving her arms…”

      True, but on this site we mostly seem to think that must be automatically worse than any middle-aged white dude.

    • henry williams says:

      this is good news. if i watch a pretty lady conducting i will not fall asleep in the middle of a mahler symphony.

  • Marin Alsop couldn’t conduct a No9 Bus, but still gets regularly hired.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    I suspect some very dodgy statistics here.

    First, we don’t have an exact count, merely NL’s subjective impression.

    Next, even if 60:40 is spot-on, the significance depends on the sample size. 5% is often used as statistically significant.

    In a sample size of 50, assuming an equal probability for male and female, finding that 30 of them were female would not be statistically significant.

    36 out of 60 gets you across the line, but I doubt that NL’s sample is anything like as large as 60.

  • E Rand says:

    there is no market demand for any particular gender or race. its all signaling.

    • Saxon says:

      I suspect there is a demand from funders for more equality…whether that is what most of the audience want is a different matter.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    So, the vast majority of conducting students are men (I’d say easy 75%), but women are 66.66% of all agencies signings?

    Agencies are getting all this wrong, and both music and women will suffer long-term with this. You guys – agencies, managers, publicists, journalists, and gender studies majors – got this wrong: real equality can only come organically, when talent and skill are the only decisive aspect. Fight for real equality, and stop treating us like children who need special treatment to achieve the highest goals… be fair and our artistic quality, ability, skill and determination will do the rest.

    Positive discrimination only helps those who, in normal regular competition, would not achieve things on fair competition.

  • PianistW says:

    Worst thing that can happen now to a conductor is starting a career being a white European cisgender male over 30. It is so out of fashion. Doesn’t matter the aspiring conductor had to fight, study and work like crazy, because there will always be a less-prepared or more well-off racial-minority or female conductor who will need more “visibility” for its group…