Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
Congratulations to Sarah Ioannides , new chief conductor of the Tacoma Symphony. She was picked from a field of 120 candidates. More here.
Super news. I remember Sarah as an undergrad:outstanding, very talented, very focused, excellent both as conductor and violinist. She deserves to do well. And the important thing is that she was reported as coming top of 120 candidates, rather than the best woman available to improve the gender statistics.
Not sure about breaking any glass podium though. Unless conductors are to be suspended underneath glass podia, then the metaphor is upside down, surely. Conductors who are heavily over weight, and in their decline, may also break glass podia, but I am sure neither applies here.
“That Ioannides is the symphony’s first female director is a bonus, he added.
“The role of music director has been male-dominated in Europe, ” Ammerman noted. “In the States there are more (opportunities), but there’s a long way to go. I’m excited that we can be at the forefront of that in Tacoma. She’ll bring a different type of vitality. It’ll also give us bragging rights.”
See now, I don’t get this.
This sort of “thinking” sullies and makes me suspicious of the whole process. It tells me that the process might be more than just about who’s best for the job. I don’t care if the best is a man or woman or Martian. To serve music properly that *must* be our attitude.
When considerations depart from “who is the best” and enter instead the realm of extra-musical consideration, then not only is a dis-service done to music, it’s also a dis-service to the selected candidate.
I wish her the best and hope she can overcome the wretched boasting of nitwits like Ammerman.
I also remember her as an undergraduate and was astonished that she was taken at all seriously as a conductor, having a weak presence, a weak beat pattern, and no sense of command at all. It is affirmative action, if you ask me, because she had none of the qualities a conductor needs. Well, perhaps she has risen to her level of ability. And this was equally true of another female student at the same time. The male students I saw were just slightly better. Shocking that the two top conservatories in the US have or had the same inept conducting teacher.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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