Leading arts organisations announce new scheme to support female conductors

The Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Society and National Opera Studio join forces to offer courses in opera and ballet

Conductor Jessica Cottis (c) Timothy Jeffes and Sydney Symphony
Published: March 8, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Two new courses for female conductors, focusing on ballet and opera, have been announced today in a new scheme from the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Society and National Opera Studio.


The announcement comes after a successful pilot programme in 2018. The idea was initially conceived by Alice Farnham, conductor and founder of the RPS Women Conductors Initiative. Both courses are offered free of charge, funded in full by the Oak Foundation, and are open to UK and non-UK applicants.

The two-day ballet course gives women conductors the opportunity to work with dancers and an orchestra, with workshops led by the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s principal conductor Paul Murphy, alongside Alice Farnham and current Jette Parker Young Artist conductor Jonathan Lo. There are six places up for grabs, as well as three observer spots.

Also on offer is a week-long opera course for 12 female conductors (and six observers). The week will be led by Jessica Cottis, who recently conducted the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’s The Monstrous Child at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre. Joining her will be Mark Shanahan, head of music at the National Opera Studio, who will focus on Mozart's operas, while Cottis will introduce the conductors to contemporary works.


The ballet course will be held on 18 and 19 May at the Royal Opera House’s Clore Studio and the opera course will run from 1-5 July at both the National Opera Studio and Royal Opera House.


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.

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