Picture a classical conductor in front of an orchestra. What image comes to mind? A tuxedo? A baton? A confident bow? Maybe some wild, unruly hair, bouncing with rhythmic jerks of the head? Regardless of the details, more than likely the image you’ve conjured in your mind’s eye is that of a man. And for good reason, because more than likely, the vast majority of the conductors you’ve seen either in person or depicted in popular culture are men. Statistics back up your experience. Which is why, last week, The Dallas Opera announced a new initiative: The Institute for Women Conductors, or IWC, is a unique residential program that will bring six women conductors under the age of 40 to Dallas for an intensive nine days of master classes, seminars, and, of course, conducting.
In some ways, TDO is an unlikely leader in this area. Before Nicole Paiement conducted Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers in 2014, it had been 40 years since a woman last conducted a TDO mainstage production. With the appointment last summer of Nicole Paiement as principal guest conductor and the IWC set to bring six of the world’s best up-and-coming female conductors to Dallas every year, The Dallas Opera is setting up to not only move out of the Dark Ages, but to lead its field in encouraging equal opportunity at the podium.Full Story