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!