Founded by Artistic Director, Alice Farnham, and former Director of Music at Morley College, Andrea Brown, this fantastic project does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: encourages and supports women to be conductors of classical music. It doesn’t take too much familiarity with the classical music world to know that the podium is rarely taken by women and in the 21st century it is clear that this needs to change.
From its foundation in 2014, Women Conductors was based at Morley College and put on a number of workshops for young, inexperienced women conductors and existing professionals all over the country from Cardiff to Glasgow. Over 100 women have taken part in addition to many coming to watch what at their most basic level are fabulous confidence-building workshops up to the level where top women conductors such as Jessica Cottis, Sian Edwards, Jane Glover, Julia Jones, Sarah Tenant-Flowers, Rebecca Miller and Andrea Quinn are providing expert tips on how to conduct specific repertoire.
Women Conductors: partnership with the RPS
As the programme has grown in size and popularity it has been clear that it needed a partner organisation with contacts all over the UK (and beyond) and a clear agenda to promote young talent and gender equality.
So it was a tremendous boost to the programme to be recommended to the wonderful Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) via its Executive Director, Rosemary Johnson. The RPS is key to taking Women Conductors to the next level of professionalism, outreach and UK-wide profile and the partnership is really energizing all involved.
Women Conductors: the goals
Women Conductors is simply aiming to get more women conducting from as early an age as possible and nurture them to go on to achieve as much as they can in this demanding profession. It seeks eventually to eliminate any remark about whether a conductor is a man or a woman so that conductors are judged on their talent alone.
Women Conductors: who we are
Alice Farnham Founder and Artistic Director
Andrea Brown Founder and Consultant
Karin Hendrickson Artistic Associate
James Murphy RPS Chief Executive
Alison Pavier RPS Development Consultant
Robin Sheffield RPS General Manager
Anna Meredith, Composer: Composer in the House enabled me to push myself in new directions and be bold with my writing. Composers are very lucky to have the RPS!
DID YOU KNOW?
An early Philharmonic superstar was the virtuoso double bassist Domenico Dragonetti. He brought his dog Carlo to performances, and commanded higher fees than almost any other player.