In Sunday’s (5/10) Los Angeles Times, Chloe Veltman writes, “In March, Xian Zhang made history: The Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra in Milan appointed the 35-year-old conductor to the position of music director, making her the first woman to earn that title with an Italian symphony orchestra. … Classical music institutions throughout the world are embracing the notion of female conductors more than ever. In addition to appearing regularly as guest conductors and in assistant conductor positions with top orchestras, women are now commonly in the running for—and occasionally winning—music directorships. Recent appointments in North American orchestras include Joana Carneiro at the Berkeley Symphony, Laura Jackson at the Reno Philharmonic, Anne Manson at the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Teresa Cheung at the Altoona Symphony, Elizabeth Schulze at the Flagstaff Symphony and Antonia Joy Wilson at the Midland Symphony.” JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, have also galvanized support for their respective ensembles. The change is partly due to changing attitudes about the role of music director, and increased opportunities for women conductors. “Since its inception in 2002, the League of American Orchestras’ Conducting Fellows Program has offered nine fellowships to up-and-coming conductors. Four of the recipients have been women.” The article quotes League of American Orchestras President and CEO Jesse Rosen, and former President and CEO Henry Fogel.

Posted May 11, 2009

Photo: Xian Zhang conducts the New York Philharmonic
Credit: Courtesy of the New York Philharmonic