The Academy of women conductors will run for a period of two years, starting in March 2020. Just as is the case for the La Maestra International Competition for Women Conductors, the La Maestra Academy is co-directed by the Philharmonie de Paris and the Paris Mozart Orchestra. The Academy’s objective is to provide professional accompaniment for the three winners chosen at the International Competition for Women Conductors. This support will be both at national (in partnership with other venues and orchestras around France) as well as at international level, in particular through the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) network.
Taking advantage of the resources and artists who are permanently invited, the Philharmonie de Paris will also set up a series of artistic, educational and social actions designed to help the best women conductors of the new generation: concerts, mentoring, workshops, communication, master class, Demos project…
Competition winners will be offered a program of professional engagements as part of the Philharmonie de Paris season: concerts for the general public, educational, with amateurs, schools… The Orchestre de Paris and the resident orchestras and ensembles of the Philharmonie de Paris (Orchestre National d’Île-de-France, Orchestre de Chambre de Paris) are associated with this project, as well as regularly invited guest orchestras (Les Siècles…).
The Paris Mozart Orchestra will take part in this concert program with a series of concerts entitled Diversità: four concerts, including one for school audiences, performed at the Philharmonie de Paris, with the possibility of subsequent touring. These concerts will be jointly conducted by Claire Gibault and each of the winners.
The Orchestre de Paris will offer school concerts preceded by a week of mentoring.
The Orchestre National d’Île-de-France could also offer school concerts based on the same principle.
A work will be conducted by one of the Competition winners at the Victoires de la Musique, the French Classical Music Awards Evening in 2021. In addition, the Academy will set up partnerships with regional venues (Lille, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Nantes, Metz…).
At European level, the ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) network of venues will accompany the project. During the March 2020 competition, an ECHO committee of a dozen representatives of European concert venues will select a talented woman conductor and help her develop her career. The ECHO network will also be able to make other proposals, either directly as performances taking place in ECHO venues, or through the mediation of resident orchestras.
Lastly, partnerships with venues, particularly in Europe, outside the ECHO network, will give the winners an international profile. Thus, the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada will host the competition winners, along with second and third prize winners for school concerts, during the 2020-21 season. The Tonkünstler Orchester will invite the winners to conduct at the Musikverein in Vienna during the 2021-22 season. Likewise, the Gürzenich Orchester Köln and the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra will invite one of the winners to perform in their 2021-2022 season.
The Orchestre de Paris will bring in the women conductors for some of work weeks, entrusting them with the baton, either to assist one of the guest conductors or alongside the choirmaster, Lionel Sow.
Similarly, the Paris Mozart Orchestra or the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France in particular could invite the competition winners to assist their Music Director, Claire Gibault and Case Scaglione respectively, with specific projects (new programs, educational projects, contemporary creations).
In the same spirit, other orchestras used to working with the Philharmonie de Paris, such as Les Siècles, can be expected to bring in the women conductors for some of their rehearsals.
It is also possible that these women conductors could work occasionally or regularly with venues and orchestras of the partner cities in the regions.
The professors giving master classes to the winners will be eminent conductors, male and female, in residence at the Philharmonic or invited guests, such as Jukka-Pekka Saraste in May 2020. The scores could be projected on a screen so that the audience can grasp the fine details of the work. The Pierre Boulez collection, which will soon be available at the Philharmonie de Paris, allows the public to work on the scores of the repertoire annotated by Pierre Boulez himself.
Master classes given by the La Maestra Competition winners in conservatories in Paris and in the regions to promote the work of orchestra conducting to young girls and boys between the ages of 12 and 15 could be organised.
The Academy’s women conductors could also take part in master classes or courses organised by other structures abroad; to this end, partnerships are being set up, notably with Marin Alsop’s Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship and Elizabeth Askren’s Transylvanian Opera Academy
In-depth work with professionals in the organisation of musical life is crucial to understanding the artistic, political, social and educational issues at stake. The profile of the invited personalities will be as follows: artistic agents, such as Lydia Connolly from Harrison Parrott, managers of orchestras such as the Orchestre de Paris, venue directors, schedulers, journalists, press officers, conservatory directors, orchestra concertmasters, directors of record companies and digital platforms, communication directors, sponsorship directors…
The topics covered could concern the professional contacts to be implemented, the international network, marketing, the choice of programs, the development of audiences, links with the media, links with sponsors and companies, the place of the artist in society, the link with contemporary creation, the articulation of concerts with the educational and social dimensions. In that way Google and YouTube will also offer the winners a set of adapted resources, tools and expertises
The Academy will provide financial support for the realisation of a first recording with a record label or a concert platform broadcast on the Internet.
The Academy will make it possible to finance royaltyfree photography sessions (in situ, portraits…).
The Demos Educational & Social project
The Philharmonie is the sponsor of the Demos educational project (Device for musical and orchestral education with a social vocation), which offers children from neighbourhoods and regions in difficulty an opportunity to practice music in an orchestra. This project required the implementation of a new method of learning and practice. The winners of the La Maestra competition will be associated with the artistic, pedagogical and social work of Démos throughout the two years of the Academy. Training in Demos pedagogy will be offered to them, notably by sitting in on work sessions run by Demos conductors. Conducting an advanced orchestra, such as the Orchestre de Paris, for one season could also be envisaged, as well as conducting orchestras 1, 2, 3 around France (Montbéliard, Mulhouse, Lille…) for three years.