By Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Business Courier Contributor
It’s remarkable that women are still achieving “firsts” on the conducting podium. Many are vastly talented musicians, but it’s still an uphill battle for women to get to the top of the conducting world.
Traditionally, leading orchestras or opera has been a male domain. Today, board members and arts leaders recognize that women conductors also can inspire orchestras and audiences. But in 2016, just 9.2 percent of American music directors – the top orchestra job — were female, according to the League of American Orchestras.
There are many others: Sarah Ioannides – the first woman on the conducting staff of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra – leads Symphony Tacoma. Mei-Ann Chen is music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and conductor laureate of the Memphis Symphony. Jane Glover, an acclaimed Mozart specialist, leads Music of Baroque in Chicago. Susanna Mälkki is principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and chief conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic.