So where are the all the women?

This morning I received a glossy brochure from the Berlin Philharmonic advertising concerts for the 2013 / 14 season and inviting me to subscribe to the “digital concert hall”.

The philharmonic have been at the forefront of developing “on line digital technology” and broadcast their concerts on line in stunning HD quality.


Marin Alsop (above)

I recently attended a cinema in London which was taking a live broadcast from the Berlin Philharmonic for a concert given by Claudio Abbaddo in what I have to admit was an underpowered performance of the Symphony Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.

I have also viewed a concert on my computer and the picture quality was quite staggering, I actually felt I was there in the hall.


Susanna Malki (above)

But back to next seasons programme. I note that in addition to Sir Simon Rattle, conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Harding Mariss Jansons and a host of other leading conductors will be guest conducting.

Now I have read the brochure from cover to cover and the most glaring omission is the name of any FEMALE conductor.

Once again the Berlin Philharmonic are in danger (along with the Vienna Philharmonic) of being branded misogynistic.

Are they still saying that in the 21st century there are no female conductors worthy of a guest conducting spot? How about one (or all) of the following to kick things off:-

  • Marin Alsop
  • Susanna Malki
  • Emmanuelle Haim


Emmanuelle Haim (above)

And how about Sir Simon Rattle mentoring a number of female conductors (a la Daniel Harding)?

Whilst I am critical of the BP and VP I would also level similar criticism at many British orchestras in their treatment of female conductors, exceptions being the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra who took a chance with Marin Alsop which paid off magnificently, and the Ulster Orchestra who recently appointed Joanne Falletta (below) as principal conductor.


The time for change is now; orchestras need to “wake up and smell the coffee” and embrace the 21st century.

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