Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the diversity of all staff in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and aims to address gender, race and sexual orientation inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of certain groups in senior roles.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

How Marin Alsop's classes for young women conductors are changing the face of the profession

By Jessica Duchen, The Independent 

When Marin Alsop stepped on to the podium to conduct the Last Night of the Proms in 2013, surrounded by pink balloons, the heady applause that greeted her masked the gentle cracking of a glass ceiling. She was the first woman ever to wield the baton over the highest-profile event in the UK's musical calendar. Last summer she did it again.

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.

Read the full article here.

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