On 26 March, the Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado supervised Rebecca Tong’s advanced work during a morning devoted to Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 at the Philharmonie de Paris.
Why create a conducting competition – with a complementary Academy – open only to women?
A legitimate question, perhaps, given that the first signs of changing attitudes towards women conductors are becoming apparent in some parts of the world …
But while more and more women conductors are enjoying successful careers, deeply entrenched sexist discrimination is sadly still a very-present obstacle for many.
With La Maestra International Competition & Academy the Paris Mozart Orchestra and the Philharmonie de Paris are together seeking to unite the international musical world behind a strong commitment to women conductors, encourage vocational aspiration among women and offer the youngest among them unprecedented levels of support.
The inaugural La Maestra Competition took place in Paris in September 2021 and was a resounding world-wide success, attracting 220 applicants of 51 different nationalities and a wide variety of backgrounds. Applicants’ backstories revealed personal circumstances which differed wildly from one country to another. This, together with the exceptional artistic quality displayed by the chosen candidates, has validated our original decision to take a strong stand and encourages us to renew our efforts.
For there is yet more to be done. The talent is there, in all its abundance and variety. It is now up to all of us to give women orchestral conductors the visibility and support they deserve.
Paris Mozart Orchestra
Founded by Claire Gibault in 2011, the Paris Mozart Orchestra is a flexible ensemble varying in size and instrumentation according to the demands of each project. Showcasing the talents of the outstanding young soloists of the Paris Mozart Orchestra – among them, as concert master and string session principals, the four members of the internationally acclaimed prize-winning Psophos Quartet – lies at the heart of the PMO project.
Cité de la musique
Philharmonie de Paris
Listen, watch, learn, discover and practice music in every form. The Cité de la musique – Philharmonie de Paris aims at offering spaces where the greatest ensembles play alongside young musicians and children just starting out in music. It encompasses a new building designed by Jean Nouvel (called Philharmonie) and the current Cité de la musique, created by Christian de Portzamparc. With its numerous spaces, resident ensembles and innovative artistic mission, it is a cultural centre that is truly unique in the world, bringing music awareness and learning to a diverse public.