Thursday, 4 February 2016

Marin Alsop on Women Conductors



We talk a lot about women composers on this site. I thought some readers would be interested in this interview with Marin Alsop where she discusses the "women conductor" issue. The fascinating article written by Jessica Alsop (for the UK's Independent) covers the conducting glass ceiling, single-sex masterclasses, art and power and much more.


Marin Alsop's selfie at the 2013 Proms

When Marin Alsop stepped on to the podium to conduct the Last Night of the Proms in 2013, surrounded by pink balloons, the heady applause that greeted her masked the gentle cracking of a glass ceiling. She was the first woman ever to wield the baton over the highest-profile event in the UK's musical calendar. Last summer she did it again.

Alsop, 59, is the only female conductor who is virtually a household name. In February she is back in the UK to conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE), first in Basingstoke and then in the Changing Minds weekend at the Royal Festival Hall, which is placing the music of Schumann centre stage in its exploration of mental illness and the arts. I caught up with Alsop when she was here recently to give an afternoon of masterclasses for young women conductors arranged by the Southbank Centre, where she is artist-in-residence.

Some conductors who are female are outraged if one raises “the women conductors thing”. Why are we still talking about this? Isn't it time to forget it and just get on with making music? Alsop, though, faces the issue head on – and she is perfectly happy to bring it out into the open.

Read the rest of the article here

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