List of female classical conductors

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The following is a sortable list of female classical conductors. Classical conductors work with orchestras, opera companies, ballet companies and choral groups. Many of the "disparities of treatment between men and women choral conductors [...] date back to the days prior to work-place initiatives against sexual harassment."[1] Women conductors have had to work hard for "acceptance in roles of authority" in the world of classical music.[2] Conducting orchestras has been called a glass ceiling by the BBC.[3]

Name Image Country Orchestras Born Died Notes
Alsop, MarinMarin Alsop United States Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo
1956 -- First female conductor of the Last Night of the Proms in 2013[4]
Andrée, ElfridaElfrida Andrée Andrée, Elfrida i VJ 6 1916.jpg Sweden 1841 1929 [5]
Belinfante, FriedaFrieda Belinfante Netherlands Orange County Philharmonic 1904 1995 [6]
Badstue, MariaMaria Badstue Denmark Gothenburg Symphony, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra 1982 -- [7]
Ben-Dor, GiseleGisele Ben-Dor Israel Houston Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic 1955 -- [8]
Bouchard, LindaLinda Bouchard Canada 1957 -- [9]
Boulanger, NadiaNadia Boulanger Nadia Boulanger 1925.jpg France London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony, New York Philharmonic 1887 1979 First woman to conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra.[10]
Brico, Antonia LouisaAntonia Louisa Brico Antonia Brico 1940.jpg Netherlands New York Philharmonic, Denver Community Symphony 1902 1989 First woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic.[11]
Carneiro, JoanaJoana Carneiro Portugal Orquestra Metropolitana de Lisboa, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Orquestra Sinfónica Portuguesa 1976 --
Elim Chan Hong Kong Mariinsky Theater Orchestra 1987 --
Chang, Han-naHan-na Chang South Korea Philharmonia Orchestra 1982 -- [12]
Chen, Mei-AnnMei-Ann Chen United States Chicago Sinfonietta, Memphis Symphony Orchestra 1973 -- [13]
Coleridge-Taylor, AvrilAvril Coleridge-Taylor United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Royal Marines 1903 1998 First female conductor of the H.M.S Royal Marines.


Csányi, ValériaValéria Csányi Hungary Hungarian Opera, since 1983 1958
de la Parra, AlondraAlondra de la Parra Mexico Queensland Symphony Orchestra 1980 -- First female conductor at the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.[15]
Derkēvica, AusmaAusma Derkēvica Latvia 1929 2011 [16]
Digby, SuziSuzi Digby United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, St John's, Smith Square, St James's Church, Piccadilly 1958 -- [17]
Dudarova, VeronikaVeronika Dudarova Veronika Dudarova conductor.jpg Russia Junior conductor of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Principal conductor of the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
Symphony Orchestra of Russia
1916 2009 First 20th century female symphony orchestra conductor.
Edwards, SianSian Edwards United Kingdom Ensemble Modern 1959 -- [18]
Equilbey, LaurenceLaurence Equilbey FolleJournée2009 LaurenceEquilbey2.jpg France Accentus 1962 -- [19]
Falletta, JoAnnJoAnn Falletta JoAnn Falletta.jpg United States Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Ulster Orchestra 1954 -- [20]
Fraillon, NicoletteNicolette Fraillon Australia The Australian Ballet 1960 -- The world's only woman music director of a ballet company.[21]
Gaigg, MichiMichi Gaigg Austria L'arpa festante, L'Orfeo 1957 -- [22]
von Gelmini, HortenseHortense von Gelmini Hortense von Gelmini Germany Nürnberger Symphoniker
Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg
SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg
German State Philharmonic Orchestra of Rhineland-Palatinate
1947 First female conductor of these and other German Symphony Orchestras between 1975 and 1980. Founder and conductor of "Orchestra Gelmini" since 1969. "The gathering critical judgement of Hortense von Gelmini, Germany's only woman conductor, is that she has not only the talent but the education, energy, and persistence to make her mark in this difficult and competitive profession" [23]
Gipps, RuthRuth Gipps United Kingdom 1921 1999 [24]
Glover, JaneJane Glover United Kingdom Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Berlin Staatsoper, Royal Danish Opera, Opéra National du Rhin, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Glimmerglass Opera, New York City Opera, and Teatro La Fenice 1949 -- Third woman to conduct the Metropolitan Opera.[25]
Gonzaga, ChiquinhaChiquinha Gonzaga Chiquinha Gonzaga-1877.jpg Brazil 1847 1935 First female conductor in Brazil.[26]
Gorden, KarenKaren Gorden United States Special Jury Prize, 50th Geneva International Conducting Competition, Staatsoper und Staatskapelle Berlin, Salzburg Festival, Bayreuth Festival, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts 1967 Founded FORCULTURE in 2014[27]
Gražinytė-Tyla, MirgaMirga Gražinytė-Tyla Lithuania Salzburger Landestheater 1986 -- [28]
Guinand, MariaMaria Guinand Maria Guinand.jpg Venezuela 1953 -- [29]
Haïm, EmmanuelleEmmanuelle Haïm Emmanuelle Haim.jpg France Glyndebourne Touring Opera, The Proms, Chicago Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago 1962 -- First woman to conduct Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Hannigan, BarbaraBarbara Hannigan
Barbara Hannigan conducts.jpg
Canada Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Münchner Philharmoniker
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Helsinki Philharmoniker
WDR Symphony Orchestra
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra
Britten Sinfonia
London Sinfonietta
Avanti Chamber Orchestra
1971 -- Soprano Barbara Hannigan sings and conducts simultaneously[31]
Hicks, SarahSarah Hicks United States Minnesota Orchestra [32]
Hillis, MargaretMargaret Hillis United States Chicago Symphony Chorus 1921 1998 Founder and director of Chicago Symphony Chorus.


Holst, ImogenImogen Holst Imogen in old age.jpg United Kingdom 1907 1984 [34]
Hsu, ApoApo Hsu Apo-Hsu.altonthompson.jpg Taiwan / United States [35]
Laura Jackson United States Reno Philharmonic Orchestra [36]
Jing, HuanHuan Jing China [37]
Ioannides, SarahSarah Ioannides El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra 1972 -- [38]
Jones, JuliaJulia Jones United Kingdom Oper Köln, Staatstheater Darmstadt 1961 -- [39]
Kamensek, KarenKaren Kamensek United States Slovenian National Theatre 1970 -- [40]
Kano, TheaThea Kano United States New York City Master Chorale 1965 -- [41]
Kaprálová, VítězslavaVítězslava Kaprálová Kapralova1935.jpg Czech Republic Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra 1915 1940 [42]
León, Tania Tania León Tania Leon.jpg Cuba/United States 1943 -- [43]
Nishimoto, TomomiTomomi Nishimoto Japan Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra 1970 -- [44]
Novokmet, JasminaJasmina Novokmet Serbia 1969 -- [45]
Quach, HelenHelen Quach Vietnam, Australia, Philippines 1940 2013 [1]
Shara, InmaInma Shara Inma Shara amurrioarra 2009an.jpg Spain London Philharmonic Orchestra
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Russian National Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Rome Symphony Orchestra
National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
European Union Youth Orchestra
1972 -- First female conductor who took the podium at the Vatican in 2008.[46]
Nathalie Stutzmann France Orfeo 55

Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

National Symphony Orchestra Washington

Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

London Philharmonic Orchestra

1965 First female to conduct an opera at the head of Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
Váradi, KatalinKatalin Váradi Hungary Budapest Opera 1973-1980, Budapest Operetta 1980-2004, Miskolc National Theatre 1984-2012 1948 2015
Washburn, NanNan Washburn United States Michigan Philharmonic Winner of the American Prize in Conducting 2013[47]
Worby, RachaelRachael Worby United States Symphony Orchestra in Wheeling, Pasadena POPS 1950 -- [48]
Young, SimoneSimone Young Simone Young 2010 - Portrait by Bertold Fabricius.jpg Australia Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Opera Australia
Philharmoniker Hamburg
1961 -- First female conductor of the Vienna State Opera in 1993.[49]
Xiaoying, ZhengZheng Xiaoying China China National Opera House, Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra, Ai Yue Nu Philharmonic Orchestra 1929 -- First female conductor in China.[50]


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Links to online resources[edit]