The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Women conductors speak out about breaking the glass ceiling with a baton

September 10, 2016
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

The time has finally come!

It has been, in fact, long overdue.

The candidacy of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee to be President of the United States is a historic first.

And it is generating a lot of buzz about breaking glass ceilings in politics and elsewhere.

So it seemed very timely when The New York Times reported on women conductors at a conference-festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. The pioneering American woman conductor Marin Alsop (below), who heads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is among them.

Marin Alsop marching

Among the younger generation included is the Finnish conductor Susanna Malkki (below), who is taking over as the Chief Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra this month. (You can hear her discuss her inaugural season in the YouTube video at the bottom.)

finnish-conductor-susanna-malkki

Here is a link to the story and interviews with four female conductors. They offer some terrific advice and many memorable anecdotes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/04/arts/music/female-conductors-lucerne-festival.html?_r=0


Classical music: Private letters reveal Leonard Bernstein the Man and the Maestro, the gay husband and the insecure, lonely celebrity.

November 10, 2013
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By Jacob Stockinger

Ever since Leonard Bernstein (below) died at 72 in 1990, the world of classical music world has seemed to me a smaller and sadder, less joyful and playful place.

bernstein-new-york-city-nightlife-rmc-image-1001-bw

Lenny was the Real Deal.

Such talent and genius!

What energy and enthusiasm!

What a talker and bon vivant!

What a conductor and composer, pianist and educator! Just listen to Bernstein at the bottom conduct his own exuberant and lyrical music — the Overture to “Candide” — in a YouTube video that has over 1 million hits.

But who would have guessed at some of his personal demons and deep insecurities, or his awareness of his own faults and shortcomings?

Leonard Bernstein 1971

Now you can find out through a newly published collection of his letters.

They reveal the private side of Leonard Bernstein The Man and not just The Maestro.

Here is a story from NPR that includes excerpts and background and contexts, interpretations and assessments, by Bernstein’s daughter Jamie.

I found it fascinating reading and listening, and expect you will too.

http://www.npr.org/2013/10/27/240742186/energetic-intimate-letters-reveal-private-leonard-bernstein


Classical music: Sexism still greets women conductors.

October 13, 2013
6 Comments

By Jacob Stockinger

Well, isn’t this an unpleasant and unexpected surprise – lo, these many years later and into the 21st century.

Given all the progress that women have made over the past few decades in so many fields and professions including classical music, you might think that the question about whether they have the strength, stamina or smarts to be a conductor would be a totally moot or meaningless question by this point.

But you would be wrong.

Just take a look at the story – and follow the various links in it to other essays and analyses — on the “Deceptive Cadence” blog at NPR to see that the forces of sexism are still trying to shut out or belittle the achievement of women conductors.

Take the American conductors as Marin Alsop (below top) of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra, who also was the first woman in 118 to conduct the BBC Proms concerts in England concerts this summer (in a YouTube video at the  bottom) and who sells a lot pf CDs for Naxos Records;  and such as  JoAnn Falletta of the Buffalo Philharmonic (below middle in a photo by Cheryl Gorski). Or take the Australian conductor Simone Young (below bottom) of the Hamburg State Opera.

Marin Alsop 2

conducting_joann_falletta

simone young 

Locally, we have heard great concerts at the Madison Symphony Orchestra from the firecracker Finnish guest conductor Anu Tali (below).

Anu Tali

Here is a link to the story that you should read and listen to, and then react to in the COMMENTS section of this blog.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/10/09/230751348/what-is-classical-musics-women-problem

Read and listen to it and let us know what you think about what should be done about women conductors and the sexism they face.

The Ear wants to hear.

 


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