Female Orchestral Conductors and the “glass ceiling” (or should that be cast iron ceiling?)


Last week I received my annual free 7-day access ticket for the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestral concerts for the 2015/16 season that are broadcast live on the internet. Along with this came a very nice brochure showing the full programmes for the coming season.


So I spent a little time viewing the various concerts and then something struck me as I looked at the various conductors engaged to lead the Berliners, there was not one woman who had been invited as a guest conductor.

Now I know I have gone down this path several times before but I still find it incredulous that in the 21st century many of the worlds leading orchestras still seem unable (or unwilling) to give opportunities to what is a growing band of talented female conductors currently forging strong reputations in the musical world.


I then thought, “I wonder if things are changing in other orchestras around the world?” So onto the internet I go and bring up the seasons programmes for a number of leading orchestras (chosen at random) and after careful review I can tell you that the number of women engaged to conduct in the 2015/16 season are as follows:-

Chicago Symphony Orchestra                               1

London Symphony Orchestra                                0

Vienna Philharmonic                                               0

Dallas Symphony Orchestra                                    0

Halle Orchestra                                                           0

Oslo Philharmonic                                                      2*


I wonder how much longer this blatant discrimination against female conductors will continue?

* Interesting that the Oslo Philharmonic has at least got 2, even more so in view of Vasily Petrenkos (their Musical director) comments a little while ago that “male conductors are better than their female counterparts as they provide less of a distraction”…………you can imagine how well that went down!

This entry was posted in 21st century, Cklassical music. Female Conductors, Classical Music, Conductors, Discrimination, Employability, Equality, Germany, Misogyny, Norway, Power, Tradition, USA, Women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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