Steve Schwartz writes:
>Can't answer most of these questions. However, I do want to speak to
>the "mystery and magic" by asking another question: Why is it that while
>almost every professional conductor can "get through" a piece, only a very
>few convince you that their interpretation is "right" or meaningful?
>One could very well apply such questions as Mr. Lebrecht's to any area of
>endeavor. What the questions imply is that the less competent sometimes
>have bigger careers than the more competent. This is news?
>As to why women are excluded from the top jobs: 1. As much as I like
>Jo Ann Falletta and Marin Alsop, I can't say that they've impressed me
>musically as much as, say, Klauspeter Seibel or Raymond Leppard has. I
>can't claim to have heard every woman conductor out there, however. So
>does Mr. Lebrecht have a candidate? ...
Steve Schwartz touches several sore points. He's absolutely right that
most administrators will pick grim competence over great potential - most
administrators want an easy life with few surprises. What they buy is a
brand name with a company guarantee - the big agency. If the brand proves
defective, the agency will exchange it, few questions asked (except by
The women's issue is more complex. I find discrimination rife at the
lower levels of entry, preventing women from gaining experience when it
counts - in their teens and 20s. Like Steve, I have yet to see a woman
conductor who struck me as having prime potential. The one who came
closest, a British pupil of Ilya Musin in St Petersburg, was shot down
in her early 30s by a number of causes, some related to her femininity.
I hope to raise the subject on lebrecht.live this Wednesday with Marin
Alsop, who is the current women's top seed.