Opera appoints Female Conductor Trainee

Opera appoints Female Conductor Trainee


norman lebrecht

January 09, 2023

Press release:

Opera North has announced Joséphine Korda as its 2022-23 Female Conductor Trainee. She takes up the intensive 9-week scheme at the Leeds-based company while studying for her masters at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Addressing the gender imbalance in classical music – and on the podium in particular – the annual programme offers emerging conductors wide-ranging experience and support within the UK’s national opera company in the north. Joséphine will take part in masterclasses with the Orchestra of Opera North and participate in the Company’s education work, as well as sitting in on preparations for its three winter season operas and orchestral concert programme. The Female Conductor Traineeship is enabled by the Harewood Young Artists Fund.


  • Sylvia Kahan says:

    For the guys it’s Bachler and Petrenko and Barenboim, but the woman conductor is identified as Joséphine? Disrespectful double standard

    • RPMS says:

      Agreed. It’s infantilising and if used exclusively for women (as it often is) then a double standard for sure. But in a press release about an apprenticeship for young emerging musicians, it’s possible that this may be more ‘ageism’ than sexism, and that the author would do the same for a young emerging male conductor. The classical world is so precious about the status of the ‘maestro’, that I can imagine some would think that referring to somebody by surname only is to elevate them prematurely to the pantheon of the podium!

      • Maria says:

        It’s Americans and their Maestros! Mercifully, we don’t have that in Britain. You are simply the conductor. Don’t have concert masters either- you are the leader of an orchestra. Historically always a man.

        • M2N2K says:

          In my opinion, “leader of an orchestra” may actually be more egregiously inaccurate than “concertmaster”, since the latter title means simply that the person so named does have sufficient mastery to perform in a concert which certainly should be true in a professional setting, while the former moniker seems to suggest that the person leads the entire orchestra all or at least most of the time which is certainly not true because for the majority of musical passages the leading role is being distributed between various other principal players, and so the only person who can reasonably be called “leader” is none other than the conductor.

        • Jerome Hoberman says:

          Iona Brown, Clio Gould, Stephanie Gonley, Nona Liddell, Marieke Blankestijn, Lyn Fletcher, Zoe Beyers, Maria Włoszczowska, Maya Iwabuchi, Sharon Roffman, Laura Samuel… They’re all men??

    • Paul Dawson says:

      Agreed. I assume NL has just copy-and-pasted from Opera North’s release, but he might have exercised editorial discretion.

    • Jonathan B says:

      Very odd response, the quoted press release using Ms Korda’s full name didn’t reference any male conductor at all by their surname only.

      And in the case of Petrenko, with two well-known conductors sharing the same surname I would expect any news item to include a first name.

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:


  • Geoff says:

    Just to say, am I the only person to hope she is a direct descendant of the three fabulously talented Korda brothers? Wishing her all the best in any case.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    She certainly looks good too!!

    Well, that’s 2 genders covered; what about the remaining 20 something?

  • Yet another excuse says:

    Opera North, like similar programs at Welsh and even ROH, pretends there are no podium-ready female opera conductors and instead “commits” to adjust the balance by giving a female student 9 weeks wandering and waving around the company, or offering workshops to “interested parties” of basic or little skill. Put your money where your artistic mouth is and acknowledge there are professional women who can already conduct as well as your MD, and put them heading up productions.

  • Nina says:

    There is no General Director. Who wants to apply?

  • Tribonian says:

    Another diversity hire, but at least Opera North are honest about it.

  • James Minch says:

    She seems to be hopelessly lightweight: