Marin Alsop and Chi-chi Nwanoku placed in top ten of Woman’s Hour 2018 Power List

Classical music artists are prominent on a list, topped by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, of the 40 most powerful women in the music industry


Women from across the classical world feature throughout BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour Power List. Conductor Marin Alsop and double-bassist and Chineke! founder Chi-chi Nwanoku are the highest ranking classical musicians, at numbers nine and ten respectively. This year's list celebrates women who have worked to make the music industry become more 'equal, diverse and creative'.


Alsop helped make history when she became the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in September 2013. As music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she is also the leader of the ‘OrchKids’ programme, which provides free music education and opportunities to Baltimore’s most deprived young people. 

Chi-chi Nwanoku set up the Chineke! foundation to help support black and minority ethnic musicians in their performing careers, with the orchestra making its debut in 2015. It became a resident ensemble at London's Southbank centre last year.

In third place is Vanessa Reed, chief exeuctive of the PRS Foundation. She has led the influential Keychange initiative, which encourages festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance. The BBC Proms is one of more than 100 organisations that has signed up, pledging to ensure that by 2022 half of its new commissions will go to women.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti placed at number 18. She has developed her own initiative called The Benedetti Sessions to provide rehearsal and performance opportunities for aspiring young string players and in July, collaborated with around 250 young musicians, including a strings workshop as part of the National Children’s Orchestra 40th anniversary celebrations.

Other classical musicians who feature include conductor Alice Farnham, who co-founded the Women Conductors programme to encourage women into the profession, and composer Issie Barratt, who was responsible for establishing Trinity College of Music’s Jazz Faculty in 1999 and was the winner of the 2014 Parliamentary Awards Jazz Educator of the Year.

Edwina Wolstencraft, editor at BBC Radio 3, also made it into the list, along with composer Anna Meredith, the Southbank Centre's director of music Gillian Moore, and the president of Decca Records, Rebecca Allen.

The editor of Women’s Hour, Karen Dalziel, said that ‘each individual has demonstrated the leadership and perseverance to change the music industry from the inside.’ The list was announced live in a special programme hosted by Jenni Murray.

The Power List was launched in 2013, when it highlighted 100 of the most powerful women in the UK. The 2018 list recognises the top 40 most successful women making an impact on the music industry, with the judging panel chaired by BBC journalist and presenter Tina Daheley and judges including classical music writer and novelist Jessica Duchen.

For the full 2018 Power List, see below. 

Listen to Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 at 10 am Monday to Friday and 4pm on Saturday. 

The 2018 Woman’s Hour Power List 

1. Beyoncé (musician)
2. Taylor Swift (musician)
3. Vanessa Reed (Chief Executive of the PRS Foundation)
4. Adele (musician)
5. Stacey Tang (Managing Director of RCA UK)

6. Gillian Moore (Director of Music at Southbank Centre)
7. Rebecca Allen (President of Decca Records)
8. Marin Alsop (conductor)
9. Chi-chi Nwanoku (musician, founder of Chineke! orchestra)
10. Maggie Crowe (Director of Events and Charities at BPI, Administrator of the BRIT Trust)

11. Olga Fitzroy (Recording and mix engineer)
12. Annie Mac (DJ)
13. Desiree Perez (Chief Operating Officer, Roc Nation)
14. Cardi B (musician)
15. Sia (songwriter, musician)

16. Ellie Rowsell (musician)
17. Sarah Stennett (CEO at First Access Entertainment)
18. Nicola Benedetti (musician)
19. Hattie Collins (journalist)
20. Dua Lipa (musician)

21. Kathryn McDowell (Managing Director of the London Symphony Orchestra)
22. Julie Pilat (Global Head of Operations for Beats1)
23. Alice Farnham (conductor and co-founder of Women Conductors)
24. Fiona Stewart (Director of Green Man Festival)
25. Taponeswa Mavunga (Head of Publicity at Columbia Records)

26. Emma Banks (Co-head at Creative Artists Agency)
27. Edwina Wolstencraft (Editor at BBC Radio 3)
28. Linda Perry (songwriter, musician)
29. Vick Bain (CEO of British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors)
30. Jasmine Sandlas (musician)

31. Anna Meredith (composer)
32. Amber Davis (A&R Director at Warner/Chappell Music)
33. Deborah Annetts (Chief Executive at Incorporated Society of Musicians)
34. Sas Metcalfe (President, Global Creative, of Kobalt Music)
35. Fiona Dalgetty (Chief Executive of Feis Rois)


36. Grace Ladoja (founder of Metallic Inc and artist manager)
37. Mandy Parnell (mastering engineer and founder of Black Saloon Studios)
38. Issie Barratt (composer)
39. Nadine Shah (musician)
40. Sara Sesardic (Music Editor at Spotify UK)