Women conductors 2021: Who’s rising

Women conductors 2021: Who’s rising


norman lebrecht

October 14, 2021

There have been some serious shifts this week and several important recent additions since our last list came out in 2019.

Here goes:

1 Oksana Lyniv
Bologna and Bayreuth

2 Nathalie Stutzmann
Atlanta Symphony (pic)

3 Simone Young
Sydney Symphony

4 Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla
Moving on from Birmingham

5 Marin Alsop
Making waves in Vienna

6 Karina Canellakis
American in Holland, Berlin and London

7 Elim Chan
Antwerp Symphony, and Philadelphia jump-in

8 Marta Gardolinska
Opéra national de Lorraine

9 Joanna Mallwitz
Berlin Konzerthaus

10 Susanna Mälkki
Helsinki Symphony

11 Joana Carneiro
Orquesta Sinfonica Portuguesa

12 Anja Bihlmaier
Residentie orchestra in The Hague

13 Kristiina Poska
MD in Flanders

14 Speranza Scapucci
Opera Liège

15 Han-na Chang
Trondheim Symphony

16 Gemma New
principal guest at Dallas Symphony

17 Erina Yashima
Assistant at Philadelphia Orchestra

18 Dalia Stasevska
MD at Lahti, #2 at BBC Symphony Orchestra

19 Anna Skryleva
Magdeburg music director

20 Débora Waldman
First woman music director at a French symphony orchestra

Who have we missed?


21  Eun Sun Kim at San Francisco Opera

22  Eva Ollikainer, Iceland Symphony

23 Alevtina Ioffe, Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

24 Mei-Ann Chen, Grosses-orchester, Graz

25 Jo-Ann Falletta, Buffalo Symphony

26  Xian Zhang. New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

27 Lina González-Granados, resident conductor Los Angeles Opera

28 Yi-Chen Lin, Kapellmeister at Deutsche Oper Berlin

29 Giedrė Šlekytė, principal guest at Buckner Orchestra Linz


  • TooManyPianoMajors says:

    Mei-Ann Chen https://www.meiannchen.com/

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Going by prestige of positions, Alsop and Mälkki should be placed higher, Gražinytė-Tyla lower.

  • Kman says:

    Rei Hotoda is with the Fresno Philharmonic. JoAnn Falletta gave up her gig in Virginia but is still with Buffalo.

  • msc says:

    She did not move in 2021, but Laurence Equilbey’s profile continues to rise.

  • RW2013 says:

    Chamber of Horrors.

  • Don says:

    Xian Zhang. New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

  • Brian Bell says:

    Jo Ann Falletta. She continues to be Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, has about 120 discs, many on Naxos, to her credit. Several have won Grammys. I don’t how often she has conducted outside of the United States over the years, but there is a very fine rendition of Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony with Ulster.

  • Aleph says:

    If Deborah Borda called anyone on this list, each would jump to answer the call.

  • Andreas B. says:

    Ariane Matiakh

  • Paul Wells says:

    (Gemma New remains music director of the Hamilton Philharmonic, which will soon be able to brag that they gave her that job before whichever more prominent orchestra hires her next.)

  • Old Fan of CSO says:

    Saw Yue Bao debut with Chicago Symphony Orchestra this summer at Ravinia. She was a breath of fresh air- focused, clear, lively, and elegant. Looking forward to more of her.

  • Luis Seguí says:

    Anna Rakitina, assistant at Boston Symphony

  • Chicagorat says:

    Lina Gonzales-Granados, assistant at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Personally handpicked by Muti, under the auspices of Alexander.

    The world’s best orchestra demands the world’s best assistant conductor.

    • Chicagoviolinist says:

      A joke with a baton, is what she is. Never seen someone less qualified than her standing in front of an orchestra.

      And Chicago the best orchestra? Some people need to open their minds (and ears), and travel and read more.

      • Chicagorat says:

        But Muti is infallible and his judgements are based strictly on talent (he is rightly proud of that).

        How can this indisputable fact be reconciled with the views of Lina’s detractors?

        • The Thinker says:

          My Lord!!! Are you kidding me? This is an article about women conductors and all the brainless, uneducated come out of the woodwork to comment on Muti. Dry up and go maskless.

          • Alexandrahpopov says:

            Don’t you think for a second that anyone who does not agree is brainless and uneducated. Your ‘argumentum ad hominem’ only reflects poorly on you.

            Muti is a very good conductor who has a terrific career, but there are MANY other musicians who are as knowledgeable and experienced (conducting and in other music disciplines) as Muti, who maybe don’t have careers as publicly successful, but have opinions as valid as Muti’s.

            And Muti is not immune to pressure (from orchestra management, from agencies, or from public media) regardless of what he publicly says, and is not infallible.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Simone Young isn’t ‘rising’; she’s been around for ages.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    Tabita Berglund. Another one to watch.

  • David Fisk says:

    Valentina Peleggi, MD of Richmond Symphony, VA, and in rapidly increasing demand as an opera and symphony guest conductor on both sides of the Atlantic

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    Since we are so worried these days about the genitalia of conductors, I would not forget to add Marzena Diakun (Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid, Spain) and Eun Sun Kim (San Francisco Opera, USA).

  • phf655 says:

    Julia Jones, a Brit. GMD in Wuppertal, Germany through 20/21. Conducted at Bregenz this past summer. I once, in 2006, heard her conduct a fine Butterfly in Munich, with the extraordinary, but little known Maltese soprano, Miriam Gauci, at what was probably her farewell performance.

  • Frank Flambeau says:

    I’m greatly impressed with Canellakis whose Stravinsky is superb. She deserves a major position. I think Minnesota will hire Malkki.

  • Couperin says:

    Thank GOD alondra ain’t on that list.

  • Nosema says:

    Eva Ollikainen

  • nathalie says:

    Mélanie MD Orchestre symphonique du Nouveau-Brunswick (july 2021)
    Marzena Diakun Principal chief Opéra de Toulon (september 2021)

  • Bratsche Brat says:

    Why the hell is Gemma all the way down to 16th? You had her at 4th or 5th last time. Ridiculous. Mirga is still the best.

  • Christine says:

    Eun Sun Kim at San Francisco Opera

  • Jean says:

    Tabita Berglund, Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

    (No relation to Paavo Berglund)

  • Yeny Delgado says:

    Faltan varias directoras. Sobre todo lamento mucho no ver ninguna Maestra Latinoamericana como Ligia Amadio, Alondra de la Parra, Gabriela Díaz Alatriste. Sería necesario incluirlas. Habemos muchas pero al menos esas tres no deberían faltar. Lamento mucho que evidentemente no conocen o no han tenido en cuenta las directoras y Orquestas latinoamericanas.

  • Phillip Gainsley says:

    Anu Tali

  • Beth says:

    Why are there so many thumbs down for every positive comment about everyone?

  • Edna Landau says:

    You have missed Sarah Ioannides, music director of Symphony Tacoma (WA), who has done exceptional work with that orchestra over the past eight seasons.

  • Bobo Goossens says:

    SlipperDisc is een fantastische zoekmachine