Let’s Celebrate International Women’s Day!
As part of our endeavor to support International Women’s Day we begged some of our most inspiring female clients to contribute a blog, here Kelly Lovelady from the inimitable Ruthless Jabiru explores change and power.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that ye olde worlde of conducting is overwhelmingly male. The pride and prejudice of the orchestral podium is, to collate the many confounded observations I’ve collected over the years, a beaming anomaly even to those with little or no concert-going experience.
Gender biases in so-called “classical” music are ultimately borne of a performance ritual which reveres and respects its own history so deeply that it continues to perpetuate the quirks of concert culture as it stood in its infancy almost 200 years ago.
There is beauty in every time capsule, but for me the continuing disproportion of female to male conductors is a major contributor to the antiquity and elusiveness of orchestral music to the uninitiated; despite valiant outreach efforts across the industry. The lever of change is in the hands of the promoters: whose choices now and in the years ahead could redefine the image of what we understand a conductor to be.
In the meantime we, the conductors, must continue to make original and inspirational work. Our power is to demand balance within our own programmes in solidarity with our sisters, the composers. Our fierce engagement of female and male composers in equal numbers will influence future generations. We must search tirelessly for women whose music moves us so profoundly that 50/50 gender programming is not a compromise. We must champion feminism across all aspects of our own orchestras, audiences and artistic content to compensate for history’s vacuum.
This is our duty to the currency of our artform.
Kelly Lovelady is the founding Artistic Director and conductor of London chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. The group’s next performance on 09 April will include music by Julia Wolfe, Gloria Coates and Cat Hope.