As we make up half of the population it amazed me to read that for the first time in its 119th Prom season the BBC Proms will be the first festival in its history to have the last night conducted by a woman.
See this article by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian.
According to Roger Wright, the director of the Proms, “the reason it has taken over a century for a woman to take on this landmark role in the British arts calendar – party host and orchestral conductor rolled into one – is “the weight of history. There are also clearly issues about the sort of schooling conductors go through and how family roles have been divided traditionally; role models have been slow to come through.” Alsop is one of five women to lead Proms this year, out of around 50 conductors in total.”
So fabulous news for the conductor Marin Alsop, a New Yorker, what a fabulous role model for female conductors in the UK. Read this article in the Independent too.
“The whole world is watching you, you’re addressing the biggest audience of your career,” Ms Alsop said. “It’s the nearest a classical musician gets to an acceptance speech at the Oscars.”
Marin Alsop added:
“As an American, I am doubly excited to be invited to conduct the Last Night of the Proms, since it is such a quintessentially British occasion. I have felt at home from the first moment I conducted in the UK.”
My mum and I have often discussed glass ceilings for women and whether it is women themselves that don’t try to break through any perceived barriers, or whether the sacrifices to family life are just too great to actually make it in some spheres.
I will try to learn more about this lady and have already discovered from her website that she attended Yale University and received her Master’s Degree from The Julliard School. I read in Wikipedia that she has a partner and a son and conducted her first recording in 2000 with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. If you want to read more about Marin click through the link.
UPDATE 13th September 2013
Who said girls can’t do it! Read this fabulous review of the Last night of the proms. ( Link )