Aimed at gifted professionals under the age of 40, La Maestra International Competition for Women Conductors will showcase 12 candidates of the highest calibre, following a carefully-managed selection process. The competition will award several financial prizes, professional engagements, as well as extensive career support.
A gender balanced selection committee – composed of conductors Claire Gibault and François-Xavier Roth, composer Graciane Finzi, and Philharmonie de Paris general manager Laurent Bayle – will meet to select 12 candidates, whose names will be announced on 30 September 2019.
La Maestra – International Competition for Women Conductors is co-directed by Paris Mozart Orchestra music and artistic director Claire Gibault and Philharmonie de Paris general manager Laurent Bayle.
For this 1st edition, the competition organisers have gathered a prestigious jury chaired by New York Philharmonic Orchestra General Manager Deborah Borda and composed of conductors such as Claire Gibault, Pablo Heras-Casado, Valentina Peleggi, Sian Edwards, Yutaka Sado and Atso Almila.
The repertoire for each of the rounds will include masterpieces from the 18th to the 20th centuries, as well as new works commissioned to young French composer Alexandra Grimal and Italian composer Fabio Vacchi.
This competition, which will have its 2nd edition at the Philharmonie de Paris in March 2022, will aim to promote the discovery and recognition of talented women conductors worldwide and encourage programmers to take into account the diversity of our societies.
Today, no permanent state-funded French orchestra can boast a female music director. According to a recent study, only 4% of conductors programmed by French musical institutions are women. The situation is no better in Europe, where only 6% of guest conductors are women. Few women candidates are selected by existing conducting competitions. Similarly, very few women appear on selection panels and juries.
There are already growing signs of a welcome shift away from traditional attitudes and prejudices, but we believe the time has come for truly bold and powerful statements to influence, inspire and drive change so that women conductors can become the norm, not the exception.
This new competition is an exciting and dynamic expression of our confidence in the bright future that is dawning for women conductors.