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In just a couple of generations, it does seem like the gender balance of American symphony orchestras has shifted dramatically—a shift we can confirm simply counting the number of women in orchestral chairs all over the country.But in the art music world outside of the American orchestral scene, it’s harder to quantify how far women have or haven’t come.
The men on the list are men I admire and know well: artistically adventurous, socially connected, innovative, and ambitious.
The only woman on the list, Mei-Ann Chen, is a conductor pursuing a fairly traditional career anchored by a major Chicago orchestral institution.
“Being a musician and having a family is extremely difficult.” I was fourteen.
My quartet once sought feedback on a Barber quartet from a male coach I had come to love and respect.
In front of my entire studio, my teacher said: “Please forgive me for saying this, but you are playing it like a woman.” When I played the passage better, she made it clear I had achieved the goal.
Although I remained a woman, I had played it like a man.“Honestly, you sound like a bunch of polite women,” he said during the coaching.I likely don’t need to clarify that this was not a compliment.In Lean In, she cites the dismal number of female heads of state, members of parliament, and chief executives worldwide, and launches into an in-depth discussion of women’s internal barriers to success.Sandberg acknowledges the height of society’s external barriers—such as lack of paid parental leave, inflexible work hours, and a career clock that collides headfirst with the biological clock—but her focus is on the more personal, internal blocks to success.Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, explores the question of why more women have not risen to the top echelons of management and leadership in any industry.Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook and has begun to use her enormous platform to sound the alarm about women’s roles in the workplace.And you might also think that, in the arts, women have an easier time rising to the top.Never mind that hardly any women conduct, and leadership imbalances persist in both artistic and administrative roles.Since 2008—as far back as the online archive goes—all nine of the honorees (George Le Pauw, Lupe Fiasco, Mark George, Bruce Iglauer, Paulinho Garcia, Syl Johnson, Riccardo Mutti, Mike Orlove, and Local H) have been men.The writers selecting these visionaries have also been exclusively men: Howard Reich, John von Rhein, and Greg Kot.