The reasons that conductors’ gender is still an issue for us are twofold: there are still too few female conductors in charge of orchestras (apart from Jane Glover at the Royal Academy of Music, there are no women currently in posts high up the orchestral or operatic hierarchy anywhere in Britain).

(Tom Service, The Guardian, 22 January 2010)

In the past, the musical establishment has claimed that female conductors simply lack the gravitas to lead an orchestra. Others have suggested that women don’t fully understand music written by men.

“Women can’t conduct Brahms, and Mahler is men’s music,” proclaimed Helen Thompson in the 1970s, then manager of the New York Philharmonic.

I have been hanging around the Royal Northern College of Music and various bars in Manchester for the last three years hoping to bump into Ewa Strusińska.

It seems she has been avoiding me in order to concentrate on becoming the first woman conductor of the Hallé Orchestra.

Why such a gorgeous babe should waste her time waving her arms about in front of an orchestra is beyond me.

Ewa, leave Mahler and Elgar alone and come and have a drink with me.


Tom Service: Where are all the women conductors? Why am I so ill-informed?