Women conductors

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Dave Payn, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Thankfully, in the last few decades or so, the brass band world has (by and large) learned to accept players and conductors of both sexes. Seems it's still a barrier in the orchestral world, though....

  2. Di

    Di Active Member

    Disgusting! Who do those pompous so and sos think they are! Why on earth can they not accept her for her musical talent, obviously she has plenty or else she wouldn't have been selected!
  3. Neil Glynn

    Neil Glynn Member

    When I was with Friendly Band we had a female conductor and she was really good, beats several of the male conductors I've been conducted by by a mile!
  4. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    Yo! Carol is cool!!!!!

    What's interesting is that they don't say in the article is why the musicians objected to her. The implication is that it was because she was a woman, but they don't state it as such.
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've got a few recordings of her conducting on the Naxos label and she does really well with her interpretations and portrayals (... i.e., suits my taste).
  6. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    The current conductor of the Buffalo (New York) Philharmonic is JoAnn Falletta. I caught them on TV a while ago and she was very good (imho).
  7. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Yes, but if it was down to a perceived inability for the task in hand, you'd have thought they'd have stated as much. At the same time, that excuse is trotted out plenty to cover up for sexism where music is concerned... 'Oh we just felt she wasn't good enough'. It's happened in the brass band world in the past.
  8. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    I remember someone called Barbara Stone conducting The British Rail Swindon band in the early 1970s (Championship section). According to Charlie's pages she moved on to Hanwell after that - so presumably he knew her...

    So the Brass Banding world is ahead of the US Orchestras!

  9. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    This has been a major news story in Baltimore (I drive through Baltimore to get to work, in fact, I drive right past Meyerhoff Symphony Hall). The musicians don't really seem to be upset over the fact that a woman was named, but that the selection process was short-circuited by the board. Most of the quotes attributed to musicians from the orchestra talk about a "premature end" to the selection process.

    Sounds like they feel that they weren't given enough opportunity to influence the selection process.
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Now call me cynical, but I'm not entirely convinced by that. Yet.
  11. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    If the players dont want to play under a woman then is she really the best person for the job? Is her appointment not detrimental to the orchestras performance?
  12. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    This is another typical BBC story with a politically correct stance. (i.e. dont let facts get in the way of a bit of sexism,racism or homo-phobia)

    Reading between the lines it seems that some old f@rts in suits made the decision without consulting the players (they were rehearsing at the time)

    Imagine if some none players in your commitee made a decision about who your next MD was going to be whilst you were at rehearsal.
    I doubt the fact that the choice was male or female would be an issue at all - just that a decision had been made without your input/knowledge.
  13. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    As you will all know, up until the last year or so, Faireys have always been an all male band.

    In 2001 I went to see them perform at the RNCM under Sian Edwards. She had won the Leeds Conducting Competition and her CV was very impressive. It was an unusual twist to see the all male band led by a female. They seemed to fully enjoy her direction and the nights final items were a scorching renedition of 'Year of the Dragon' (with Nick Hudson doing his stuff) and the encore of 'There is nothing like a dame!'......seemed that band and MD were really enjoying themselves.

    If you can do the job it does not matter what sex, age etc you are
  14. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    I play in a wind orchestra under a female conductor, and she's alright, nothing special, but thats not down to her being a woman, just her personaly attributes as a conductor.
  15. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    Female conductors :eek:

    Only kidding, there were two final year conductors at salford this year and they were both as competent as any conductor i've played under. Sex doesn't matter as you should respect the person in the middle whatever you think of them personally
  16. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Possibly, but a deeply sad reflection on the orchestra.
  17. bigmamabadger

    bigmamabadger Active Member

    It seems that in conducting, as in so many spheres, a woman has to be much better than the men to be considered half as good. (This is not a personal attack on what jingleram said, there should be just as many women conductors who are "alright" as there are men conductors who are "alright"):clap:
  18. jingleram

    jingleram Active Member

    May have come across that way, sorry! My reasons for not considering her a 'good' MD as opposed to an 'alright' conductor are because of the 6/7 pieces in our folders at the moment, 5 are very strange pieces that would be considered futuristic by futuristic people. And she dosen't have proper control of the orchestra, whereby the general togetherness and soun quality is less than it was under our previous (male) conductor. I have had in the past a female conductor of an ensemble that I would consider to be above almost every single other conductor I have played under, which shows that female conductors, as male conductors, are varied in quality! End.
  19. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Remember, the Baltimore Symphony is a professional orchestra, not an amateur association like most brass bands. Did you have a say in who choose the president of your company? Or even your own boss? There's nothing in the musicians contracts that gives them any right to have a say in who the musical director will be. While the actual decision of the orchestra board may have happened during a rehearsal, the players were given an opportunity to be heard.

    The problem was that there was a cadre on the board who had already decided that she would be offered the position before the search process had started. I believe that part of this particular decision by the Baltimore Symphony board was a bit of a publicity stunt - they can now say that they were the first major American orchestra to appoint a woman as MD. They've managed to get the BSO onto international news services, and there is considerable buzz about the topic in their home city.

    The players were represented in the search - there were 21 members on the search committee, 7 of whom were players or player's representatives. All 7 voted to continue the search, as did 90% of the orchestra as a whole (this vote was not a part of the search process, but was apparently conducted by the 7 musicians on the search committee to determine what the player felt). The search committee as a whole voted to recommend the choice to the board, who approved it. So it isn't entirely true that the players didn't have a say - they did, but the board chose a different path.

    The insinuation that the players are upset with the choice because of her gender is a bit slanted - none of the actual statements that have been reported in the Baltimore press from the players indicate anything other than they wanted the search to look at more candidates. In fact, the woman chosen is quite familiar to the players, as she has been one of the BSO's principal guest conductors for several years.
  20. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Well, is anyone watching Marin Alsop conducting at the Proms at this moment to make up their minds? Joshua Bell (fiddle, better known to me for his hybrid bluegrass playing) is now doing his bit on a concerto written for him! :)

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