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UK’s first woman music director becomes head of conducting at Royal Academy

Sian Edwards, who was hounded out of her 1990s job as music director at English National Opera by a blend of prejudice and poor management, has been appointed head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.

Sian, who succeeds Colin Metters, is herself a pupil of the legendary Ilya Musin of the Leningrad Conservatory, Valery Gergiev’s teacher.

Press release here.

sian edwards

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  1. How wonderful! Bravo Sian x I first worked with Sian when she took over from Simon Rattle conducting Mahagonny at Scottish Opera – she was absolutely superb.

    Kate Flowers

  2. An EXCELLENT appointment!
    Bravi Tutti!

  3. Michael Smith says:

    A great appointment. I work a few doors along from the RAM, so I look forward to hearing her conduct student orchestras regularly.

  4. Julia Castaglione says:

    I do not know Ms Edwards personally, but I know that Colin Metters is an extraordinary and irreplaceable pedagogue and conductor. We all hope that RAM will continue to give him his due.

  5. Wonderful!

  6. Congratulations to Sian. She’ll do a great job.

  7. Hasbeen says:

    What evidence or report do you have that supports your statement that Sean Edwards was hounded out ? Hounded out by who ?

  8. Halldor says:

    Britain’s first woman music director after Jane Glover, surely?

    • First at a major opera house or public institution. Jane Glover was at London Mozart Players.

      • Guus Mostart says:

        Not quite true: Jane Glover was music director at Glyndebourne Touring Opera in the early eighties, well before Sian’s appointment at ENO.

  9. Wonderful news for Sian and all women in conducting! Happy to see Sian being appreciated and successful as I was there to see her in Musin’s class at the conservatory… Great, great, great…

  10. Good for her! A wonderful, much-under-appreciated conductor. Especially (but not only) in Russian opera.

  11. Nick Cutts says:

    Sian is one of the best conductors around today and a fantastic teacher. I worked with her for over four years and she is an inspiration to all around her. Great Appointment for the Academy.

  12. Luciano says:

    Given the ‘salary’ that was on offer (14,000 pounds p.a.) it’s amazing they managed to get somebody of that calibre. Still – that’s typical London. First class musos getting paid a pittance.

  13. Nigel Curtis says:

    **Given the ‘salary’ that was on offer

    The ad is still online. Salary was £37k to £44

    Would probably be a nice evening’s work for Lorin Maazel

    • Luciano says:

      The position is considered to have a 0.4 loading, 0.4 of 37,000 is about 14,000.

  14. john pritchard says:

    Some years ago I heard SaunEdwards conduct the West Australia Symphony Orchestra (WASO) in Perth. It was a Bruckner Symphony. O dear……

  15. This is nice news. Sian will be a great asset for the college and a great successor to Colin. I’ve known Sian since school days – we both grew up in Oxford and took part in concerts together when we were young teenagers (she a budding French horn player, and I a pianist who played Alkan at every concert – so no change for me there!).

    • Julia Castaglione says:

      ‘a great successor to Colin…’ A bit far-fetched, that, I would say… We talk about him as if he is already dead and buried. Colin will still teach conducting at RAM, as far as I know.

  16. Ben Gernon says:

    This is hugely exciting news! Sian Edwards is an outstanding teacher who cares deeply about music and her students. She has given me years of inspiration, dedication and honesty and it is just fantastic that so many more young conductors will have the opportunity to study with her. Her conducting, outlook and personality are to be hugely admired. I feel very lucky to have her as my mentor. Bravo Sian.

  17. Being a good conductor with a successful career is not enough. What matters is being a musician who can teach and help the students to develop their artistry. At the Academy I had some teachers who were terrific performers or composers with international careers but very poor teachers and terrific teachers who had small music careers but were amazing teachings. Colin Metters was the later. We still need to know what kind of teacher Siam, in such an important position, will be. So far we only know she is a very good conductor.

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