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Thread: Favourite women conductors (revisited)

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    Default Favourite women conductors (revisited)

    I start this thread with some trepidation. The last thread on the subject was closed down (for good reason, I think). But reading the webchat the Guardian is running for people to ask questions to Simon Rattle (https://www.theguardian.com/music/li...rattle-webchat), I found his response to a question on women conductors:

    At last the tipping point has come where we have so many wonderful female conductors. And it's not been a matter necessarily of ability in the past, but of lack of opportunity. A decade ago it was not taken for granted and now it absolutely is, which is the healthiest sign. When I look round and think without any particular order of.. .Simone Young, Natalie Stuzmann, MIrga G-T, Karina Kanellakis, Barbara Hannigan... what a thrilling time. And these five totally different personalities will give us a whole different vision of our music and I think it's one of the healthiest developments of the last few years.
    Can we list our own favourites or is it too early for that?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Two that I really like are Marin Alsop and JoAnn Falletta. Both American too, another plus!

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    Long before a woman conductor was a thing, there were several happily active, keeping audiences enthralled and players (mostly) happy. One was Catherine Comet who for a while was in Grand Rapids. She was terrific - I've never seen any conductor who knew her scores better. She expected a precision and balance that made you a better player. She was tough, too. Don't know where's shes gone.

    But my favorite is Mei-Ann Chen from from Taiwan. She's brilliant and brings a sense of joy and beauty that few conductors do. Her style is unfussy, clear, direct and powerful. Fortunately she comes to Tucson every season and I never miss her concerts. I've heard the Dvorak New World countless times, sometimes with world-class orchestras, but the most memorable, emotional, and exciting in my memory was hers from a couple seasons back in the Old Pueblo. Why in the world Memphis let her go is troubling. Luckily, she landed in Chicago with the Sinfonietta.

    No longer alive, I attended a summer festival with conductor Sarah Caldwell who ran the Boston Opera. The local critic was awful - he wrote more about her considerable girth than anything else. And yet all these 40 years later I still remember vividly the Brahms 2nd she led - the finale lifted you out of your seat it was so hugely electrifying. I've never heard anything like it live, and I've heard it played by Solti, Maazel, Mehta, Bernstein, Ozawa...what a summer that was. She never got the credit she deserved. A real talent she was.

    Rating any conductor from recordings is hazardous at best. But I have heard Falleta and Alsop both live and on many recordings. Both are wonderful musicians, fine conductors who can hold their own against anyone. The series Falletta did of American music with her Buffalo orchestra is terrific and revelatory. Her recording of the Gliere 3rd is superb. Alsop's Prokofieff cycle is quite good, and her Bernstein top-drawer. Both of them have a willingness (maybe from necessity?) of performing rarer music than male counterparts.
    Last edited by mbhaub; Sep-16-2019 at 17:43.

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    Senior Member Fabulin's Avatar
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    Shirley Walker was a good conductor. She understood colour and dynamics very well.

    Last edited by Fabulin; Sep-16-2019 at 15:42.

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