Background

A UNIQUE COLLABORATION

The Philharmonie de Paris and Paris Mozart Orchestra are delighted to announce the 1st edition of their joint International Competition for Women Conductors which will take place at the Philharmonie de Paris from Monday 16 to Thursday 19 March 2020.

This new competition will be co-directed by Claire Gibault, Music Director of the Paris Mozart Orchestra, and Laurent Bayle, President and General Manager of the Philharmonie de Paris. Deborah Borda, President and CEO of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, will chair a strictly gender equality-based international and prestigious jury composed of 6 of the world’s leading women and men conductors.

AN ALARMING SITUATION

Today, no permanent state-funded French orchestra can boast a female music director. According to a recent study, only 4% of conductors programmed by French musical institutions are women. The situation is no better in Europe, where only 6% of guest conductors are women. Few women candidates are selected by existing conducting competitions. Similarly, very few women appear on selection panels and juries. These figures and facts speak for themselves.

There are already growing signs of a welcome shift away from traditional attitudes and prejudices, but we believe the time has come for truly bold and powerful statements to influence, inspire and drive change.

PROMOTING TALENTED WOMEN

Aimed at gifted professionals, the International Competition for Women Conductors will showcase 12 candidates of the highest calibre, following a carefully-managed selection process. The competition will award several financial prizes, professionnal engagements, as well as career support.

In the wake of the Philharmonie’s 2018 Platform for Young Women Conductors, our thoughts inevitably turned to the creation of a prestigious international competition acknowledging, discovering, celebrating and supporting the world’s most talented women conductors.

INFORCING CHANGE

With this competition, we will provide a high profile platform and shine the brightest of lights on the outstanding talents of the many women conductors who are too often denied the visibility they deserve. We will offer younger generations inspiring role models and encourage a new confidence in true vocational choices. We will call upon programmers and musical institutions worldwide to grasp the Zeitgeist and draw upon a pool of talents more representative of society’s diversity.

The repertoire for each stage of the competition will include masterworks from the 18th to the 20th century, as well as new commissions by two contemporary composers. Our aim will be to highlight each candidate’s artistic individuality.

This new competition is an exciting and dynamic expression of our confidence in the bright future that is dawning for women conductors.