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  • Why Aren't There More Women Conductors?

    The question 'why aren't there more women conductors?' remains as relevant in today's music industry as it always has been. At the end of 2014, music listings website Bachtrack reported that, in a list of the world's 150 top conductors that year, only five were women.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

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  • #2
    Good question Myles. But not trying to steal your thread, a similar question is "Why Aren't There More Women Audiophiles?". These are surely gender issues. In the case of conductors I'll bet it's political/business related. Whereas women are not hard-wired like men regarding listening to music.
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  • #3
    Originally posted by Joe Pittman View Post
    Good question Myles. But not trying to steal your thread, a similar question is "Why Aren't There More Women Audiophiles?". These are surely gender issues. In the case of conductors I'll bet it's political/business related. Whereas women are not hard-wired like men regarding listening to music.
    Joe, I think for audiophiles, it is that women aren't hard wired like men to push buttons. :-) Larry
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    • #4
      Oh. I just thought women couldn't communicate with their hands.
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      • #5


        Myles, one could say the same thing about women classical musicians 50 + years ago. If you looked at the top orchestras in the world in 1960, many (most) orchestras had no women! I was watching the recent remastered "Rosenkavalier" from the Salzburg Festival of 1960. Karajan was conducting the Vienna Philharmonic- not a woman in sight. Same with Berlin Philharmonic, New York Phil (under Lenny), Boston Sym (except for Mrs. Dwyer - their famed flautist). Today even the staunchly male Vienna Phil has a handful of women, including one of the four concertmasters! (Actually more than a handful - 6!). In contrast Berlin is 14%, and New York is 36%.

        We heard Marin Alsop guest conduct the London Symphony a couple of years ago - did a fine job, and a few nights ago we heard the Berkeley Symphony with a woman guest conductor - Elim Chan (a Hong Kong native who graduated from Smith College in 2009) substituting for their permanent conductor Joana Carniero (who succeeded Kent Nagano). Chan has just finished a year as assistant conductor with the LSO and will be in a similar position with Dudamel and the LAPO this coming year.

        So some progress. Conductors do lead a peripatetic life, so it does take a special person to do that.

        Larry
        Last edited by astrotoy; 12-27-2016, 06:28 PM.
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        • Rob
          Rob commented
          Editing a comment
          "Conductors do lead a peripatetic life, so it does take a special person to do that." maybe my wife should apply, she has the nomadic gene. I get blamed for being a homebody because i like to remain at home listening to music, go figure.

        • dcc
          dcc commented
          Editing a comment
          Fully agreed. Karajan went through a serious crisis when he 'tried to convince' the Berlin Philarmonic to take Sabine Meyer onbaord as the first female member in the early 80ies.

      • #6
        Years ago I was the photographer for an interview with Iona Brown (then the director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among other posts). I was warned in advance that she could be rather difficult, and the overall description of her was rather negative. When I remarked that the description sounded like what I had heard of most conductors, but that as men, it was viewed as either positive or merely accepted as their eccentricities, I was told that was different. Double standards and misogyny are everywhere.
        Steve Lefkowicz
        Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
        -
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        • #7
          Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
          Years ago I was the photographer for an interview with Iona Brown (then the director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among other posts). I was warned in advance that she could be rather difficult, and the overall description of her was rather negative. When I remarked that the description sounded like what I had heard of most conductors, but that as men, it was viewed as either positive or merely accepted as their eccentricities, I was told that was different. Double standards and misogyny are everywhere.
          I'm getting tired of too many labels and the preaching that comes with it by sanctimonious hypocritical windbags. The latest thing we are getting schooled on at work is micro inequities. When we can get to the point in the world where the biggest social injustices are micro inequities such as someone not saying hello to you as nicely and as warmly as they did someone else, we will have truly evolved. Now back to our lack of female conductors...
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          • #8
            Originally posted by mep View Post

            I'm getting tired of too many labels and the preaching that comes with it by sanctimonious hypocritical windbags. The latest thing we are getting schooled on at work is micro inequities. When we can get to the point in the world where the biggest social injustices are micro inequities such as someone not saying hello to you as nicely and as warmly as they did someone else, we will have truly evolved. Now back to our lack of female conductors...
            Okay if i'm a "sanctimonious hypocritical windbag" I guess. Not going to tell me that there aren't different standards for what is acceptable behavior from men and women when it comes to positions of power or authority.
            Steve Lefkowicz
            Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
            -
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            • #9
              Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post

              Okay if i'm a "sanctimonious hypocritical windbag" I guess. Not going to tell me that there aren't different standards for what is acceptable behavior from men and women when it comes to positions of power or authority.
              Steve, I wasn't referring to you, but that is how I would describe our Congress. And guess what? If your an asshole, it doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman. You're still an asshole. It's pretty simple. The thing is, if some guy treats everybody like crap, people are going to say he is an asshole. We haven't put a label on women that call men assholes, we seem to have saved that for men. If males are misogynists, what is the female equivalent? Oh, it's the never heard term "misandrist." When was the last time you heard a man describing a woman as a misandrist?? The fourth of never I assume.
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              • Rob
                Rob commented
                Editing a comment
                I had to look up misandrist, now I know what this 'girl's' problem is. She runs the register at a cafe I sometimes go to for lunch, we always get the stink eye from her I guess she can ID a misogynist from a mile away my colleague and I were placing our order when he tried to compliment her, he asked 'her' for her name she replied "Eric" without skipping a beat my colleague turned to me and said "I got to get outta this place" [California].

            • #10
              Why aren't there more male midwives? Anybody care? One of my favorite authors is Dr. Thomas Sowell and he has plenty to say on the subject of so called Diversity, here's a recent article by him;

              http://townhall.com/columnists/thoma...fraud-n2261393

              david
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              • mkuller
                mkuller commented
                Editing a comment
                Sorry but of all the columnists I read in two daily newspapers, he's my least favorite. But we aren't here to discuss politics.

            • #11
              I think misogyny gets more focus than misandry not due to cause, but due to effect. Misogynists can keep women from getting better jobs or advancing in areas that are already dominated by men. Misandrists probably keep guys from getting dates with girls they think are hot*. Both are bad, but one more likely has a bigger effect on our modern society.


              *the wording of this was intended to be a little silly...
              Steve Lefkowicz
              Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
              -
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              • #12
                Originally posted by david k View Post
                Why aren't there more male midwives? Anybody care? One of my favorite authors is Dr. Thomas Sowell and he has plenty to say on the subject of so called Diversity, here's a recent article by him;

                http://townhall.com/columnists/thoma...fraud-n2261393

                david
                David, there are. They are called obstetrician/gynecologists (like our friend Dr. Williams). :-) Actually when the salaries of nurses went over $100K, we saw an explosion in the number of male nurses.

                A better question is why aren't there more female priests?

                Larry
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                • david k
                  david k commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Don't know about priests Larry but there are plenty of female rabbis out there.

                  david

                  Originally posted by astrotoy View Post

                  A better question is why aren't there more female priests?

                  Larry

              • #13
                Women are their own worst enemy in the workplace. I've been watching it for 42 years.
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                • #14
                  Why aren't there more women Composers?
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                  • #15
                    Originally posted by Joe Pittman View Post
                    Why aren't there more women Composers?
                    I don't know, but I'm sure it's our fault and we need to apologize and go through some type of sensitivity training.
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