“Cayenna Ponchione, the associate conductor of the Orchestra of St. John’s and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Music … is highly attuned to the pervasive lack of gender equality in classical music, the role of physicality in conducting, and how these two things may be linked,” writes Maya Chung in Tuesday’s (3/26) New York Review of Books. “Ponchione has studied the roles of power and authorship in musical ensembles, which has given her sharp insights into the reasons for the stark absence of women in leadership positions…. Orchestras have evolved—thanks, in part, to measures like gender-blind auditions…. In recent years, several fellowships and programs have emerged to support women conductors…. Of Columbia Artists’ forty-five conductors under management, only five are female. Of IMG Artists’ seventy-six, again, just half a dozen are women…. … Lidiya Yankovskaya … music director of the Chicago Opera Theater … told me that in the earlier days of her career, interviews often began or ended with disquieting inquiries about her home and family life…. The Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki … last year … conducted a three-night run with the New York Philharmonic … To call her performance masculine or feminine would be beside the point—it was simply expert.”

Posted March 28, 2019

In photo: Susanna Mälkki leads the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.