Who will lead the Boston Symphony??

James Levine’s announcement that he will resign as Music Director at the Boston Symphony Orchestra was of course big news today.  And “Let the guessing games begin,” said the Globe, with a piece naming four possible candidates, all of whom were (guess what??) men.  http://www.boston.com/ae/specials/culturedesk/2011/03/the_next_music_director_of_the.html?comments=all#readerComm

So here is my own quick list of admirable conductors who I hope won’t be left out of consideration just because they are (guess what??) women.

Marin Alsop
That Alsop has invigorated the Baltimore S.O. is without question.  That she would be great for the BSO is a no-brainer.  I would love to see her here, and she’s one of the best-known conductors worldwide (she was just appointed Chief Conductor of Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra).  But would she want to leave Baltimore for Boston?    http://www.marinalsop.com/

Olandra de la Parra

If there were justice in this world (in particular, if sexism were  not so prevalent in our human culture), the name of Olandra de la Parra would be better known than that of Gustavo Dudamel.  Like him, she’s a Latin “Wunderkind,” starting her Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas in 2004 (when she was 23).  In 2007 I heard her lead her orchestra in a powerfully sculpted performance of Beach’s Gaelic Symphony, offering clarity of the lyrical ideas, and dynamic pacing so that the energy of the monumental work continued to build.  An electrifying presence on the podium, she offers imaginative programming, and a real passion for building not just audiences but community.  And the POA has a new CD on the Sony Classics label. http://www.poamericas.org/

Susanna Mälkki Hugely experienced and widely in demand, Mälkki has already received critical acclaim at the BSO: “Mälkki’s foundation was a rhythmic energy that constantly percolated underneath the musical surface, producing an unusually fresh rendition of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.” (Boston Globe, 2010).  “Mälkki expertly navigated this complex score and brought it to life with complete assurance (BMI, 2011).


JoAnn Falletta http://www.joannfalletta.com/

Musically she continues to grow, exploring broad vistas of new repertoire – much of it highly compelling — as well as bringing insights to familiar works, in her two orchestras, the Virginia Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.  Given her success at these two mid-level ensembles (including continued growth of audiences, and a remarkable series of recordings and awards), that she has not moved up to one of the top-tier U.S. orchestras demonstrates a continued glass ceiling.

Joana Carneiro http://www.imgartists.com/?page=artist&id=269 The Portuguese conductor recently succeeded Kent Nagano as Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony.  This follows a term as Assistant Conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  She continues to be active as a guest conductor in cities including Sao Paulo, Prague, Indianapolis, St. Paul and Venice.

Laura Jackson received rapturous praise in for her work with the Atlanta Symphony during her term as assistant conductor there: for instance her Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 “bristled with life while creating a compact, clenched-fist sense of logic and purpose….   In each movement of the Brahms, she delivered a massive payoff…. [and she] let the bittersweet lyricism flow with both charm and angst.”  (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).  Now music director of the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra in Reno, Nevada, she continues to guest conduct nationally and internationally.


1 Comment

  1. Great list–but you might want to add Shi-Yeon Sung who made a great appearance as one of the BSO’s assistant conductors a couple of years ago. There are good videos of her on youtube.

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