Why aren’t there more female conductors? After being named as BBC National Orchestra of Wales’s new principal guest conductor, Xian Zhang is faced with this question ten times more than usual. Zhang is not new to the scene – she is already a hugely successful and acclaimed conductor. The Chinese American has conducted under big names from the New York Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, to the English National Opera, although she made her first professional debut at 20, conducting The Marriage of Figaro at the Central Opera House in Beijing.
The gender issue was never relevant for Zhang, who had two female conducting teachers in China. It was only when she set foot in the west, the realisation striked: “Oh, maybe I’m the only girl here.” The rare female conductors don’t like to be asked that question, why aren’t there more female conductors? Zhang is perfectly happy to talk about it, as she thinks the more people ask this question, the more people will get used to the idea of women taking up the baton, thus leading to a sure and speedy process of getting more women into the profession.
Source: The Guardian