Showing posts with label women conductors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women conductors. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Tonight: discussion on Equality and Conductors at the Institut Français

Slightly short notice, I know, but here's what's happening tonight. Do come along if you can. I'm chairing and we have some really amazing speakers! It's part of the Institut Français's Women Shaping the World series and takes places at the Institut's premises in South Kensington.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and echoing French conductor Laurence Equilbey’s concert at the Barbican [tomorrow], the Institut français is hosting a panel of women conductors to debate on gender equality issues in the domain of classical and contemporary music. To this day, the gap between female and male conductors is mind-blowing and should be addressed.
Women conductors Claire Gibault (France), Eimear Noone (Ireland) and Alice Farnham (UK) will bring their own perspective on equality on the podium and the role of women conductors in programming women composers and musicians. Lydia Connolly, joint managing director of Harrison Parrott, a leading advocate for more women on the podium, will also join the debate.
£10, members & conc. £8 
The talk will be followed by a wine and cheese.
See also on 8 March at the Barbican, Insula Orchestra: Beethoven and Farrenc, conducted by Laurence Equilbey and including Symphonie n°3 by French composer Louise Farrenc as well as Beethoven’s Triple Concerto performed by the violinist Alexandra Conunova, the cellist Natalie Clein and the pianist Elisabeth Brauss.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Marin takes Vienna

Marin Alsop's selfie from the Last Night of the Proms
Heartening news this morning that Marin Alsop has been appointed chief conductor of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. Vienna, despite all the glories of its musical history, has never exactly been renowned for the heights of its progressive gender egalitarianism, so this announcement carries some extra heft. She'll be taking over from Cornelius Meister and will assume the post on 1 September 2019 for an initial three years - and will, of course, be the orchestra's first female chief conductor.

Now we need more splendid conductors who happen to be female to be elevated to prominent posts, where they will be worth their weight in gold both as role models for the future and as musicians in their own right and their orchestras'. Incidentally, there may well be some London orchestra jobs up for grabs in the next few years - one of them appears to have a vacancy right now - and the opportunity will be staring them in the face. Let's hope a manager or two has the foresight to approach the right person.

Jude Kelly, as you know, is leaving Southbank Centre to concentrate her energies on WOW - the Women of the World Festival. In a thoughtful interview with the Guardian the other day, she said it's not enough to be a feminist: you have to do something.

To that end, I've done something very small that I hope will be reasonably useful: I've added a sidebar section here on JDCMB devoted to resources for women in the music world. You can use this as a one-stop-shop to click through to sources of funding like the PRS Foundation's Women Make Music and the Ambache Charitable Trust, courses like RPS Women Conductors, projects like Dallas Opera's Women Conductors Institute and more. I'm on the lookout for links to add, so if you know of one that ought to be there please send it my way, preferably via Facebook or Twitter. This is about organisations that can offer support and development to many, rather than individual artists' websites. But you'll also find there a link to my Women Conductors List (it runs to well over 100 names and sites) and that is always open to updating with individual names. Thanks very much for taking a look.

Thanks, too, for the powerful response to yesterday's shoulder post. I now have recommendations of at least 10 different osteopaths!

If you've enjoyed this post, please support JDCMB at GoFundMe here

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Women conductors: a "provocation"

The Association of British Orchestras has been shaking things up this year and nowhere more so than in the matter of female conductors. James Murphy, managing director of the Southbank Sinfonia, gave a presentation on the issue. 

James tells me: "I’ve had the good fortune to collaborate with a number of fantastic conductors, among them some brilliant women. It’s baffled me (and them) that some of them have not had the same breaks as men, and why our industry seems to be strangely reticent to try and achieve a little more balance in terms of the opportunities each get. I was roused by Alice Farnham’s course established in 2013 and, since then, our players have been part of the workshops she runs. But too often I’ve heard people in the sector imply that her doing that excuses them of doing anything themselves, and I decided to ask the Association of British Orchestras if we could focus on this at a future conference. I got my chance last week where, sandwiched between Chi-chi Nwanoku and Hannah Kendall speaking powerfully about other diversity and inclusion issues, I was granted ten minutes at this year’s conference to share my thoughts on the issue. I chose to do this as a volley of images projected from Powerpoint with some commentary from me as they rolled by. It seemed to go very well, and so I’ve now made a digital version of it so more people can see it online."

Here it is, above. Please have a listen, and a look at those statistics. James nails the chief issues head-on. And you know what? It's good to hear them from a bloke. 

The conference was apparently referring quite copiously to my little list, as James does here - a reference resource with names, brief summaries and web links about women conductors that I published in September 2013 - but it is much need of updating after three and a half years, so do get in touch if there's someone you'd like to add. 

And meanwhile, over in the US, there's this...

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

How Marin is changing the world

A few weeks ago I went to listen to Marin Alsop giving masterclasses for young women conductors and had a terrific interview with her. She is not one to pull her punches on "the women conductors thing". The piece is in the Independent today, ahead of her concerts with the OAE in Basingstoke on Thursday and the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday - the one with the Schumann Violin Concerto.

I'm delighted to say that she and I will be on BBC Radio 4 'Woman's Hour' tomorrow to talk about the story of the Schumann Violin Concerto. Plus I'm now joining the panel for the pre-concert talk at the RFH on Saturday (5.45pm) where we'll be discussing music, mental illness, Schumann, the Concerto and more.

Here's a taster of the article and you can read the rest here.

Marin Alsop's selfie at the Last Night of the Proms
Some conductors who are female are outraged if one raises “the women conductors thing”. Why are we still talking about this? Isn't it time to forget it and just get on with making music? Alsop, though, faces the issue head on – and she is perfectly happy to bring it out into the open. 

“People ask why a course like this is necessary, and I think it's a disingenuous question,” she says. “It's only necessary because of the reality. It's not something I'm making up. I'm just reacting to the landscape.” There is no point, she suggests, trying to deny that there are too few women conductors, or that they face problems different from those experienced by their male colleagues – both in terms of that glass ceiling protecting prestigious posts and in how the details of their artistry are perceived.

“Because I have quite a thick skin, I don't mind being the one out front, trying to elbow my way in,” she adds. “But I think, as that person out front, it's important for me to create a pathway for people coming through. I don't want it to be so hard for the next generations.”

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Making fireworks at the Linbury

Alice Farnham takes the podium for The Firework-Maker's Daughter at the ROH Linbury from Thursday through to new year. I had a chat with her about talent, courage and luck - as well as how to change the conducting profession for the better. My piece should be in The Independent's Radar section today. Director's cut below.

Alice Farnham in action. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

There’s a satisfying sense of poetic justice in seeing the conductor Alice Farnham take the podium for David Bruce’s opera The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio’s family show for Christmas. It’s based on Philip Pullman’s novel for children in which Lila, aspiring to be a great firework maker like her father, must prove herself and is found to have the three essential gifts: talent, courage and luck. Farnham herself has a good dose of them all. She is blazing a trail in a profession still – notoriously – too much a male preserve. And in her efforts to change that situation, she can certainly make sparks fly.

Educated at a school for clergy orphans near Watford, and then at Oxford, Farnham says that her passion for conducting goes back to “a lightbulb moment” at university: “I started conducting because as organ scholar I had to direct the college choir,” she says. “At first I was under-confident, but I suddenly began to find that actually communicating with other people was more interesting than sitting in a cold organ loft. Then I conducted the university choral society in the Fauré Requiem – and it was the first concert I’d ever done without feeling nervous.” 

She later studied with Ilya Musin in St Petersburg; the great Russian “guru” of conductors taught plenty of women. “He was criticised for doing so – but he took no notice,” she remarks. Back in Britain she began to build her career in a variety of ways, not least through work as an opera prompter, often at the Royal Opera House. Prompters used to – and sometimes still do – lurk under the front of the stage to cue the singers in with the right words at the right moment. “It’s one of the best trainings for an opera conductor,” Farnham says.

In 2013, watching Marin Alsop become the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, Farnham took on board the American “maestra”’s point that it was ridiculous, in the 21st century, that such “firsts” still needed to happen. The dearth of role models was clearly a problem; so, too, the sheer weight of numbers that appear stacked against women attempting to enter the profession. Farnham therefore conceived the idea of a course through which young female musicians of school and college age could try their hand at conducting for the first time. 

Morley College's director of music, Andrea Brown, herself a conductor, took up the idea. Since then it has snowballed: “We’ve held short courses up and down the country, some of them focusing on specifics such as contemporary music or opera,” says Farnham. By now around 60 young women have taken part: “Some have said to me afterwards that as a result they’ve become seriously interested in taking up conducting,” she declares.

It is possible, she suggests, that a greater number of women taking up the job will help to change what it means to be a conductor at all. “Why are these people so revered anyway? What do they do to deserve it?” she muses. She would like to see the profession become less despotic, as it has often been in the past, and “more about collaboration, nurturing and communication”. And maybe that’s all about new ways of making fireworks.

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter, ROH Linbury Studio Theatre, 10 December – 2 January. Box office: 020 7304 4000

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Breakthrough: First female conductor wins titled post in a BBC orchestra

Xian Zhang. Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
Here's a gentle crack in the glass overhead: Xian Zhang has been named principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. This is the first time ever that a conductor who happens to be female has been given a titled post with one of the BBC's five orchestras. Note the date: December 2015.

Zhang, 42, has also recently been appointed music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and has served as music director of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi since 2009. Her debut performance in her new BBCNOW post will be on 27 September 2016.

She is interviewed by Tom Service in The Guardian today.

I talked to her last year for Classical Music Magazine's 'Meet the Maestro' series. Here are a few choice quotes:
Zhang, 40, has been at the helm of the [Milan] orchestra – which is known at home as simply La Verdi – for five years, the first woman ever appointed music director of an Italian symphony orchestra. She says that has witnessed a sea-change in attitudes. “In the beginning it was like no-man’s land – or no-woman’s land!” she laughs. “People here had never seen a woman conductor before. Of course I arrived without realising that. It was probably better that way, because otherwise I would have been way too intimidated.”...
....As for what she wryly terms “the woman conductor question”, Zhang suggests: “It’s a matter of time. I think the public is in general very open, but orchestras and people who work in this environment have to be perhaps less self-protective – this is stopping more progress from happening earlier. They don’t necessarily have to be positive about it, but at least to be neutral and see if people are gifted before considering if they are a woman or a man.” In Milan, though, she has spotted a surprise advantage. “A quintessential point in Italian culture is that people greatly respect a mother figure,” she says. “Maybe that helped me to be accepted as conductor of an orchestra. It makes sense! When I first arrived I was seven months pregnant with my first son, so that was how people saw me for the first time. At my first concert after my second son was born, some of the audience gave me presents for the baby. I was so touched.”
Read the whole interview here...

NOTE (4 December): A certain amount of Twitter chatter has questioned whether this counts because JoAnn Falletta was principal conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2011 to 2014 and the Ulster Orchestra receives some money and broadcasts from the BBC. So let's get this straight: the BBC tells me that the Ulster Orchestra is not "a BBC orchestra" because it is not managed by the BBC. It is an independent orchestra and it has a broadcasting deal. "Principal guest conductor" meanwhile remains a post of significant prominence, one that is held in other UK orchestras by the likes of Daniel Harding (LSO), Pinchas Zukerman (RPO) and Markus Stenz (The Hallé).

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Women in music: positive action works

I've got a piece in the new edition of Classical Music Magazine, responding to one last month by Alexandra Coghlan.

Here's Alexandra's piece, in which she asserts that women in music are being spotlighted for all the wrong reasons.

Here's mine, pointing out the inconvenient truth that sometimes affirmative action works...

In the late 1980s, my generation emerged from college believing we could have it all. We imagined the battle for ‘Women’s Lib’ had been won and we would be its beneficiaries. We thought that if we tried to put in place conditions for discrimination and prejudice to disappear, they would, by some kind of natural, progressive evolution. Ever since, we’ve been finding out how wrong we were.
That applies throughout society, of course, and classical music is no exception. With Suffragette receiving top billing in the cinemas as I write, it’s clear that there is a preoccupation with these issues in the world around us right now – and with good reason...
Read the whole thing here. (I'm happy to say that even if Alexandra and I may disagree, we're good friends and colleagues and we applaud each other's right to speak up.)
Meanwhile, if you were in any doubt that positive action can effect change, just take a look at the Lucerne Festival. Yes, mighty Lucerne; Lucerne the wealthy and beautiful; historical Lucerne, founded to counter Bayreuth and Salzburg beyond the Third Reich's reach; Lucerne where Wagner wrote Tristan, has announced that in 2016 its theme is "Prima Donna": a focus on women artists. And it is going to feature ELEVEN (11) conductors who are female, at the helm of top orchestras from around the world. 
Emmanuelle Haim, who will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic in Lucerne.
Photo: Simon Fowler, (c) Warner Classics

Marin Alsop will make her Lucerne debut with the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra. Barbara Hannigan is to conduct the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Susanna Mälkki will conduct the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in the world premiere of a new work by Olga Neuwirth, who is composer in residence. A "day of adventure" [sic] brings in the conductors Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, Anu Tali, Maria Schneider, and Konstantia Gourzi. And Emmanuelle Haim, the French baroque suprema, is to take the podium for the Vienna Philharmonic, which as we all know isn't exactly renowned for the number of women it admits to its ranks. (Well, renowned for exactly that. Because there are so few.) 
And in case you were in any doubt, there are plenty of men around as well. Riccardo Chailly, recently appointed music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, will conduct opening night, which is Mahler's Symphony No.8.
The risk of the "prima donna" focus, of course, can be summarised as "been there, done that, bought the t shirt". It's a super celebration, but what one wants is consistency: equality of opportunity that becomes normal and ultimately unremarkable because it is so accepted. The fact that Lucerne is doing this means that all the activism, the articles, the general "noise" about women in music is having an impact in the places it matters. The long-term effect, though, needs to be different. Lucerne is offering a chance for the movers and shakers of the music world to sample the excellence of great artists who happen to be female. We'd like them then to win enduring opportunities as a result. Things can't just go back to business as usual. 
Bravo, Lucerne, for biting the bullet and sounding the trumpet. And I look forward very much to seeing how Emmanuelle gets along with the Viennas. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More workshops for Morley - details

Morley College has announced the next in its series of workshops for young women music students to try their hands at conducting, led by the conductor Alice Farnham:


WC4In March 2014 Morley College ran its first Women Conductors weekend workshop. This was developed in response to wide spread media coverage at the time that commented on the lack of female conductors in the industry. It is designed to create more opportunities for young women to try out orchestral conducting, and is led by acclaimed conductor Alice Farnham.
With generous funding and support from Arts Council England the weekend workshops will run during 2015-16. They will be led by Alice Farnham with stagecraft and body language coaches Alma Sheehan and Shirley Keane. In addition students will be given practical experience of conducting small professional ensembles. View the weekend workshop programme and learn more about the tutors.
Upcoming workshop dates:
9-10 May 2015, Oxford University
30-31 May 2015, Leeds College of Music
Further workshops will be held throughout the UK during 2015/16.
The workshops are open for application from women aged 16-25 or in full-time music education either in conservatoires, university or in sixth form and planning to study music full time. Whilst students who already have conducting experience will find this rewarding and challenging, it is also open to students who may think conducting is not for them, but are willing to try it out.
Outstanding workshop participants will be selected to take part in the final masterclass day with a leading female conductor and a full orchestra, as part of the Women Conductors at Morley event in 2016.
Participant fee = £150
Observer fee = £40
How to apply:
Send a one page CV alongside a 500 word statement on why you would like to take part in the workshop to

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Insiders Anonymous: shocking stories from a female conductor

Some potentially explosive stuff in my "Insiders Anonymous" piece for Classical Music Magazine this month: how conducting careers can be made or unmade, especially if you're a woman..... It is not a pretty tale. The magazine has kindly brought it out from behind the paywall, so do have a read.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What do conductors do, anyway?

I'm sure the answers to that question are many and varied. But here's one for the mix: some of them write books. I've put a few million-dollar questions to Lev Parikian, who together with Barrington Orwell has written a singularly sparkly volume, Waving, Not Drowning, about the mysterious art of the musical maestro - with tongue located in cheek.

Lev is, of course, a conductor himself; he specialises in galvanising into action a range of enthusiastic amateur orchestras. Who better to tell us what's really going on on that podium? And a few words, too, about the women conductors' issue...

JD: Lev, what made you want to write a book about conducting?

LP: There are plenty of serious books about conducting, and quite right too, for it is a serious matter. But I felt there was scope for a less earnest approach that would nevertheless contain, as one reviewer put it, "truth within the comic camouflage”.
Waving, Not Drowning started as a series of articles for Classical Music magazine highlighting some of the more mockable aspects of the noble art of conducting (and it is a noble art, although we are a more mockable breed than most, if only we realised it). From these frivolous drivellings emerged the idea for a book which I hoped would amuse, entertain and enlighten in equal measure. Whether or not it does any of those three things, it kept me harmlessly occupied and off the internet for a few months, so that’s no bad thing.

JD: So tell us...what does a conductor really do, and how?

LP: Aagh, you’ve gone for the impossible questions first. It’s tempting to say 'ask me again in thirty years', but I'm not sure I'll have an answer even then.
So here goes...

What do they do? They enable a group of musicians to give the best performance available to them of any piece of music.

How do they do it? That's more difficult, because there are as many ways of conducting as there are conductors. But pick a few from the following: gestures, psychology, words, force of personality, ears (or "listening skill solutions” as we probably have to say nowadays), intimate knowledge of the music, intellect, experience, hard work, metaphors, similes, analogies, mime, encouragement, cajoling, threats, amusing anecdotes just before the break, telepathy, magic dust, did I say hard work? I’m sure I’ve missed a few out.

I think conducting is often done with the ears  – the conductor is the person on the stage best placed to hear the music, so has the responsibility for shaping the balance. But they also need to be able to engage all the musicians so that each one of them feels they are contributing to the whole – that’s where the psychology comes in. And of course an ability not only to pick (and transmit) the best tempo but also to convey the character of the music with gesture alone is a great plus. As the incomparable Professor Etwas Ruhiger (profiled in Chapter 5 of Waving, Not Drowning) put it: “If music iss like hippopotamus, do not be condectink like cherbil."

JD: Why do you think there is such a mystique around the profession of conducting? Is it justified?
LP: The mystique of the conductor is understandable – he or she is the only person on stage who makes no sound (there are some exceptions...), yet is the first to receive the plaudits. And the parallels with wizards are all too obvious: the wand, the air of mystery, the ‘look at me’ aura.
But the fact remains that without musicians, the conductor is just an idiot waving his or her arms around. Controversial statement alert: a lot of the time, the players can get on just fine without conductors. Part of the skill of conducting lies, I think, in recognising when you’re needed and knowing what to do about it (which is a different matter entirely). 

JD: What would be your response to the "Oh, conductors just wave their arms around" viewpoint?

LP: I’d reply by saying that it depends on the conductor. Then I’d invite whoever said it to come and have a go themselves and have a chat afterwards.

JD: What, for you, are the best things about being a conductor? And the worst things?

LP: The best – when you know you’ve helped a group of musicians play better; the worst – when you know that you’ve made them play worse.

JD:  As you know, I've been pretty involved in the issue of women conductors, or lack of them. How can we encourage more women to become conductors, and help those that already exist to get a fair hearing?

LP: Challenge those who disagree with or ignore the idea of women conductors. Go on challenging them. Don’t give up until all talk of “women conductors” has disappeared and we talk only about “conductors”.

This interview with Mei-Ann Chen seems to me to exemplify a positive and constructive approach from an obviously extravagantly talented and motivated conductor:

Waving, Not Drowning - paperback (Amazon)
Waving, Not Drowning - Kindle edition (Amazon)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Speaking of women conductors...

...a lot of us did just that on Saturday, in a discussion that formed part of the Women of the World Festival at Southbank Centre. A sizeable and spirited group was convened from all corners of the classical music business, including a number of women conductors, composers, performers, writers, directors, educators and more. It was especially wonderful to have Marin Alsop with us. Helen Wallace has written up the event on the BBC Music Magazine website:

Friday, October 25, 2013

WQXR takes up fanfare for the uncommon woman conductor

I've just taken part in a discussion for WQXR's programme Conducting Business on the topic of women conductors, together with Emmanuelle Haim, artists manager Charlotte Lee and the station's presenter Naomi Lewin. It feels a bit weird to speak on New York radio from the comfort of my study (cat confined to kitchen to avoid him inadvertently making his NY debut) - anyway, it was an interesting talk with some fascinating perspectives emerging. Here is the article on the website, and the resulting podcast is embedded below.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Women conductors: encore furore

In an excoriating piece for the NPR blog, Anastasia Tsioulcas shreds the latest sexist remarks against women conductors - which include comments by the head of the Paris Conservatoire, for heaven's sake - and says that women in the classical music industry must start speaking up in earnest. Read it here.

You might like to know that my Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman Conductor has had more hits than any other post on JDCMB ever, in nearly a decade, and still rising.

Speaking isn't enough. We have to do something. Here is my idea from about a year ago. I still think it's a good one.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Fanfare for the uncommon woman conductor

Following that rather daft public row about Vassily Petrenko's alleged remarks re women conductors, I thought we'd do something constructive. I spent some of yesterday afternoon tweeting the names and websites of as many women conductors as I could think of. You all wrote in with suggestions and we ended up with a very fine list indeed. Special thanks to my doughty colleague Toby Deller, who also had the good sense to introduce a hashtag. [NB I am still updating the list below - plenty more of them! So please keep tweeting the missing links and keep checking back for our additions...]

A few of the conclusions to draw here are as follows.

1. There are more women conductors than you think. People believe our dear Marin Alsop is the only one. She ain't.

2. They don't often get the important dates that will be reviewed. Some people want to blame us journalists for their lack of recognition, but with concert review space tighter than it has ever been in history, it is usually the "big gigs" that get the attention, and the women conductors - with the exception of Marin and the Last Night of the Proms - are not being given the big gigs.

3. The women conductors I know are heartily sick of being asked why there aren't more women conductors - mostly because there are.They would like, please, recognition first and foremost and, ideally, only for their work as musicians, regardless of gender...

4. [Update, 5 Sept, 13:49] I think that's what's emerging here, as the list steams on with well over 50 names and rising, is that there are plenty of women who are conductors, but one heck of a glass ceiling regarding where they work. [Update, 7 October, 18:49 - the list is now NEARLY 100 strong! Thank you to everybody who has written in to contribute!]

In no particular order, here's the march of the women.

Zoi Tsokanou.
Was in Gustav Mahler Bamberg competition this year & Haitink masterclasses in Lucerne.

Monica Buckland Hofstetter
British-Swiss, formerly in charge of conducting chorus & orchestra at the University of Dresden, now based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Jessica Cottis
Young Australian-British conductor whose name came up more often in suggestions on Twitter yesterday than anyone else's.

Anu Tali
Estonian suprema, music director of Sarasota Orchestra & Nordic Symphony Orchestra.

Julia Jones:
Admired Brit, extremely well recognised in Germany, did Cosi at Covent Garden not so long ago.

Xian Zhang.
I have loved the performances of hers that I've heard at ENO.

Simone Young
Extremely well-established, has been chief conductor at the Hamburg Opera (just leaving now).

Eve Queler
New York-based operatic expert.

JoAnn Falletta
Music director of the Ulster Orchestra.

Suzi Digby
That ultimate mover and shaker of choirs and galvaniser of community and youth music.

Nia Llewellyn Jones @niallewellynj
Young conductor fresh out of Cambridge, being nurtured by CBSO.

Jane Glover:
Arch-Mozartian and author.

Sian Edwards
She is head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.

Susanna Mälkki  
Much-admired principal conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic and principal guest conductor of Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

Alondra de la Parra  
Among much else, an official cultural ambassador for Mexican tourism.

Emmanuelle Haim  
Extraordinary Baroque specialist from France.

Kelly Lovelady
From Australia, with an unforgettable name.

Odaline de la Martinez
Founder of Lontano.

Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla
Music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Kristiina Poska
Prizewinning Estonian who's been rising fast, not least via the Komische Oper, Berlin

Ewa Strusinska  
Spent some time with the Halle and now works internationally from Poland 

Jeanne Lamon  
Baroque marvel, head of Tafelmusik

Sarah Ioannides  
Born in Australia, grew up in the UK, now based in the US.

Tania Miller
 Music director of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Canada

Claire Gibault
Both conductor and MEP!

Barbara Hannigan
This extraordinary soprano, star of Benjamin's Written on Skin, is also a conductor.

Gemma New
Assistant conductor at New Jersey SO

Rebecca Miller
London-based US conductor

Alice Farnham
Music director of Welsh National Youth Opera for Paul Bunyan this year

Akiko Ohtomo
Director of the Hokusai Orchestra (formed in 2010)

Anne Manson
Among much else, she was the first woman to conduct at the Salzburg Festival

Yip Wing-Sie
Music director of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Sybille Werner
Mahler authority

Alicja Mounk
A long and distinguished career

Holly Mathieson
Young New Zealander, based in Berlin

Monique Krus
Dutch conductor, composer and soprano (site above doesn't mention the conducting, but she is recommended by a friend who saw her conduct last week)

Laurence Equilbey
Fine French maestra, especially noted for opera. Another one for the appropriate-names department.

Jennifer Condon
Music director of the wonderfully-titled Owl's Nest Opera in Austalia

Karen Kamensek
Music director of Staatstheater Hannover

Carolyn Watson
Orchestra director, Interlochen Arts Academy

Han-Na Chang
She's the most fabulous cellist and now she's become a conductor!

Mei-Anne Chen
Music director of Chicago Sinfonietta and Memphis Symphony

Joana Carneiro
Music director, Berkeley Symphony

Amy Bebbington
Choral specialist

Laura Jackson
Music director, Reno Philharmonic

Halldis Rønning
Assistant conductor, Bergen Philharmonic

Carolyn Kuan
Music director, Hartford Symphony

Matilda Hofman
Music director, Diablo Symphony, California

Nicolette Fraillon
Music director & chief conductor of Australian Ballet

Sarah Grace Williams
Chief conductor & artistic director, The Metropolitan Orchestra, Sydney

Speranza Scappucci
Is opening the forthcoming Scottish Opera season with Don Giovanni

Susan Hollingworth
Conductor of Sine Nomine Choir and much more

Sarah Baldock
Master of the choristers & organist at Chichester Cathedral. One of the first women ever to be appointed at one.

Katherine Dienes-Williams
Master of the choristers & organist at Guildford Cathedral (see above)

Sarah Macdonald
Director of Music in Chapel, Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Kim Diehnelt
Music director & chief conductor, Northwest Symphony Orchestra, US

Jeri Lynne Johnson
Founder & conductor, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, US

Isabelle Ruf-Weber
German conductor based in Baden-Wurttemberg

Sinead Hayes
Young Irish conductor who opened the RTE Concert Orchestra's summer lunchtime concert series.

Roberta Peroni 
Conductor & chorus manager in Bari, Italy.

Talia Ilan
Music director of the Israel Stage Orchestra & guest conductor with many Israeli orchestras.

Ewa Michnik
Director, Opera Wroclaw, Poland.

Eun Sun Kim
Is conducting Die Fledermaus at ENO this season.

Maja Matelska
Polish conductor, has scooped quite a few competition prizes.

Marzena Diakun
Polish, winner of 2nd prize in last year's Fitelberg Competition, and highly recommended by one of my colleagues who's in the know.

Gisele Ben-Dor
Israeli conductor laureate of Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra

Victoria Bond
American composer and conductor. Her website says she has been staying in the guest flat at Brahms's house near Baden-Baden (this has long been my own aspiration!) and writing an opera about Clara Schumann.

Rei Hotada
Has been assistant conductor at the Dallas Symphony and has been making important debuts around the US & Canada this season.

Sarah Hicks
Staff conductor at the Curtis Institute, Philadelphia, among much else.

Anna Skryleva
Russian, has been working in some fine German opera houses including Karlsruhe & Hamburg

Tara Simoncic
Young American conductor, has been featured in the Guardian

Amelia LeClair
Scholar and early music choral conductor, based at Brandeis University

Nicole Paiement
Director of Ensembles, University of California Santa Cruz.

Rosemary Thomson
Music director, Okanagan Symphony.

Dalia Atlas
From Haifa. Has recorded a lot of Bloch.

Graziella Contratto
Swiss conductor with a fine track record.

Jessica Gethin
Principal conductor of the Perth Symphony Orchestra, Australia

Carolin Nordmeyer
Theater Augsburg, Germany

Alissa Firsova
Multi-talented composer, conductor and pianist. Daughter of the composers Dimitri Smirnov and Elena Firsova.

Nathalie Stutzmann
The noted French mezzo-soprano is conducting as well. 

Andrea Quinn
British conductor, now based in the US. Was chief conductor at New York City Ballet, then at Norrlands Operan, Sweden.

Anne Marie Granau
Chorus master at Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen

Silvia Sanz Torre
Spanish conductor - intrigued to see she has conducted rare Albeniz opera The Magic Opal.

Kate Tamarkin
Music director, Charlottesville and Univesity Symphony Orchestra, Charlottesville, US

Natalia Luis-Bassa
Venezuelan conductor in the UK. Hit headlines a few years ago by walking out on the Huddersfield Philharmonic due to interpersonal problems with players being "disrespectful". Was a mentor in BBC's Maestro series. Teaches at RCM.

Sarah Tenant-Flowers
Choral conductor, UK, teacher, animateur - and also a mentor on Maestro.

Elizabeth Schulze
Music director, Flagstaff and Maryland Symphony Orchestras, US

Sandra Horst
Chorus master of Canadian Opera

Grete Pedersen
Artistic leader, Norwegian Soloists Choir

Mary Chun
In demand in contemporary music and opera, US. Premiered Adams's I was looking at the ceiling...

Sara Jobin
Artistic director, Centre for Contemporary Opera, New York.

Renee Baker
Music director, Chicaco Modern Orchestra Project

Beatrice Jona Affron
Music director and conductor, Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra

Natalia Salinas
Conductor based in her native Argentina

Ann Krinitsky
Director, Marin Symphony Youth Performance Programmes, etc - based in the Bay Area.

Karina Canellakis
Winner, 2013 Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship (founded by Marin Alsop)

Sebrina Maria Alfonso
Music director, South Florida Symphony

Diane Wittry
Music director, Allentown Symphony  

Denise Ham
Sought-after teacher of conducting in the UK

Sharon Choa
Artistic director & principal conductor, Chamber Orchestra Anglia, which she founded in 2001

Rachael Young
Has been assistant conductor to Paavo Jarvi & Leonid Grin, will Russian Virtuosi of Europe at Cadogan Hall in June 14.

Kayoko Dan
Music director, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera 

Apo Hsu
Assistant conductor of Oregon Symphony under James de Priest

Joana Mallwitz
Is conducting Das Rheingold in Macau in October 2013 and has been doing more Wagner in Riga.

Yuri Nitta
Tokyo-born Nordic music specialist

Keiko Mitsuhashi
2nd prize & audience prize in 2010 International Conducting Competition 'Arturo Toscanini'; 1st prize in 2008 Antonio Pedrotti Conducting Competition. 

Kanako Abe
Born in Osaka, now based in Paris. Co-founder & music director of Ensemble Multilatérale

Yoko Matsuo *Link needed, please send if you have one!*
Pioneer of women conductors in Japan and first woman to win the Besançon competition in 1982. 

Lindsay Ryan
London-based conductor, founder in 2009 of Harmony Sinfonia  

Heather MacLaughlin Garbes
Lives in Seattle, works with Baltic Studies Department/Baltic Choral Library at the University of Washington
Zheng Xiaoying
Principal conductor of the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra and artistic director of her own Opera Centre.

Shi-Yeon Sung
Winner of 2006 Sir Georg Solti International Conductors Competition.

Keri-Lynn Wilson
Canadian-born conductor, currently music director of Slovenian Philharmonic. Triumphant London debut at ENO for The Girl of the Golden West.

Susanne Riddell
Cellist, teacher and conductor of the Wessex Youth Orchestra, Poole, with further plans in the offing.

Janet Wheeler
Choral conductor and composer

Catherine Winnes
Norwegian orchestral conductor, artistic director and chief conductor of Swedish Wind Ensemble

Kerstin Nerbe
Senior Swedish conductor who made her name long before the rest

Cecilia Rydiner Alin
Rector of KMH - the Royal Conservatory, Stockholm

Rachel Worby
Artistic director, conductor and founder of MUSE/IQUE, Virginia

Maria Badstue
Danish conductor, former pupil of Jorma Panula

Inma Shara
Spanish conductor with fine track record and particular name for supporting charities

Jasmina Novoknet
Serbian conductor and professor

Tomomi Nashimoto
Principal conductor and artistic director of IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra, Japan

Simone Menezes
Young Brazilian conductor, involved with the Villa Lobos Project

Tania Léon
Cuban composer and conductor

Thea Kano
Artistic director of New York City Master Chorale

Huan Jing
Resident conductor of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra

Maria Guinand
Artistic director of Schola Cantorum de Venezuela

Gabriella Teychenné
Young British conductor of Argentinian background, currently (2018) assisting Barbara Hannigan

Hortense von Gelmini
Austrian conductor and painter

Michi Gaigg
Award-winning baroque violinist and conductor

Valéria Csányi
Hungarian conductor who has recorded some fascinating Hungarian repertoire for Naxos

Linda Bouchard
Canadian composer and conductor

Karen Gorden
Principal guest conductor of Bingen Festival Orchestra, Germany

Didn't think so. Ask instead why we do not hear them more often. 

(Oh, and please, please, please stop throwing mud at Petrenko. Enough, already. Let's get some sense of proportion into this - many worse things are going on around us than that, and the chances are that he was joking/misquoted/manipulated for sensationalisation purposes, probably all three.)