“From Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta to Gustavo Dudamel, symphony orchestra conductors have been classical music’s most visible figures—commanding, dramatic, elegant, and almost always male,” reports Stephen Hegg on Thursday (1/29) on KCTS Television (Seattle). “Except at the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, where Maestra Sarah Ioannides has been appointed principal conductor and music director. Even in 2015 it’s a noteworthy event. Australian-born, British-educated Ioannides is also the music director of the Spartanburg (NC) Symphony and a past music director of the El Paso Symphony.… Says Ioannides, ‘I equate it with, say, a President of the United States. Well, could a woman do that job well? Of course they could, but it hasn’t happened yet, so it’s hard for people to see that leadership role being taken until it happens.’ Of the top 25 American orchestras with budgets of $15 million or more … there is only one female music director, Marin Alsop [at] the Baltimore Symphony…. 13 percent of music directors are women” at 82 U.S. orchestras with budgets of $1 million and up. “Blind auditions, adopted by North America orchestras some thirty years ago, closed the musician gender gap among players.” The link includes a video with multiple interviews.

Posted February 4, 2015