Elim Chan

According to the press kit delivered by La Maestra Competition in Paris, worldwide there are 62 women working as Music Directors or Chief Conductors in permanent professional orchestras, which corresponds to 7.9% out of 778 orchestras surveyed. This compares to 46 (5.9%) and 32 (4.3%) in 2019 and 2018 respectively for a grand total of 744 orchestras, the document says.

According to these statistics, « Belgium is leading the way: of the eight orchestras listed, three are internationally renowned and are led by women conductors: Elim Chan in Antwerp, Kristiina Poska at the Flanders Symphony Orchestra and Speranza Scappucci at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège. »

Norway comes second with Han-na Chang and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Nathalie Stutzmann with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

In the Netherlands, there are Karina Canellakis, Chief Conductor of the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Anja Bihlmaier, who was appointed to the Residentie Orchestra in The Hague.

The La Maestra document says: « Austria entrusts two of its 12 permanent ensembles to women: Marin Alsop at the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Mei-Ann Chen at the Recreation-Grosses Orchester Graz.

With 10.8%, France enters the top ten, slightly ahead of Sweden, Finland and Switzerland.

In the United States, a pioneer in this field, the appointments over the last two years of women conductors to important positions, such as Eun Sun Kim, Music Director of the San Francisco Opera and the first woman at the head an opera house of this size in the United States, Valentina Peleggi, Music Director of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and Nathalie Stutzmann in Atlanta and Philadelphia, bode well for the future. »

Some leading musical nations did not make the top ten at all, among them Germany and Russia.

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