“When it comes to making music, gender should be irrelevant. And yet, in nearly every article about Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki, her gender is discussed—or at least noted,” writes Catherine Womack in Saturday’s (1/20) Los Angeles Times. “Malkki, after all, is still an anomaly in her profession: A 2016 study by the League of American Orchestras found that more than 90% of professional symphony orchestra music directors are male…. Malkki is one of four women conducting the L.A. Phil this season. Throughout most of her career, she has tended to redirect conversations away from gender…. This week … Malkki is more open and interested in discussing the topic. ‘Women have been conducting for decades,’ she says. ‘They just haven’t been welcome.’ … Malkki notes that in the 19th and early 20th centuries … women did not even have the right to vote…. Malkki became the conductor of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris in 2006.… In 2016, she became the chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic…. Change is making her hopeful about the future of her profession…. ‘If what I’m doing can encourage others, which I think it does for many because they have told me, then that is great.’ ”

Posted January 23, 2018