The Dallas Opera Expands Its Influence With The Institute for Women Conductors

by Celeste Hart

The Dallas Opera is Proud to Announce

A Unique New Residential Initiative:

The Institute for Women Conductors

At The Dallas Opera

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Inaugural Program: Nov. 28 – Dec. 6, 2015

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TDO Seeks to Create New Opportunities for Talented Young Women Conductors Making Their Mark in the Field of Opera 

DALLAS, FEBRUARY 9, 2015 – Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce the launch of a unique, new residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors.  Female conductors age forty and younger, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches and accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new career at the podium, are encouraged to apply.

This new program, The Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera, will be inaugurated on November 28, 2015 and run through December 6, 2015, with generous support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation.

Stated Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny: “The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, and by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion and imagination.

“This much-needed program,” Mr. Cerny adds, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this marvelous art form.” 

            The Women’s Conducting Institute will provide participants with opportunities to

  • Conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra
  • Participate in master classes with Dallas Opera Music Director Emmanuel Villaume and Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement
  • Attend seminars and discussions on how women conductors can make a greater impact on their field
  • Network with peers and take part in a media “refresher” course

Six women will be selected for the inaugural class, and all program participants will conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra in a public concert to be held on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District.

Those attending are also eligible to take part in an annual two-day networking event, beginning in the summer of 2016.  There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited to serve as Assistant Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions. 

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 TDO’s Music Director, Emmanuel Villaume, enjoys a stellar international career, which includes regular appearances at The Dallas Opera, Covent Garden, the Mariinsky, and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, as well as his critically acclaimed work as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia and with other major opera companies, symphony orchestras and prestigious concert venues throughout the world.  Maestro Villaume notes: “I have advised many talented young conductors over the course of my career, both on and offstage, and I look forward to the chance to incorporate what I have gleaned from these experiences in support of this important new national program.

“No conductor ever stands at the podium alone.  We raise our baton with those who came before us, and those who will follow in our footsteps.

“It takes a lifetime to become completely at home on the podium,” Villaume adds.  “It was my privilege to be guided and taught by geniuses like Spiros Argiris and Seiji Ozawa, who, in turn, always quoted their own masters.  In fact, they claimed that, only near the end of their performing careers, did they entirely understand some of the comments and advice they received from their mentors.

“We are always trying to perfect our work.  I feel I am now at a place in my career, where I can begin to effectively share my experiences with the next generation of conductors.”

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The Dallas Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, the Artistic Director and Conductor for San Francisco’s renowned contemporary opera company, Opera Parallèle, was singled out for praise in a recent Musical America “Profile in Courage” which wrote: “Working in a profession that often leaves women scandalously underrepresented, Paiement has established stellar credentials.”

As the subject of a recent article in Opera News (“The Mountain Climber,” January 2015), Paiement was described as “one of opera’s most adventurous spirits.”  The woman who also serves as Artistic Director of BluePrint, a contemporary music series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Deléage Chair, has broken important new ground in Dallas, where she was invited to conduct critically acclaimed performances of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Death and the Powers by Tod Machover, and the recent successful world premiere of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer’s Everest

About the new institute itself, Maestra Paiement commented, “In tandem with my work as a professional conductor, I have spent many years striving to develop and support exceptional young talent, both onstage and in the orchestra pit.  I am tremendously pleased to be able to continue this aspect of my career in a leadership role here in Dallas, and to be responsible for guiding each carefully selected group through this newly developed Dallas Opera program.

“You can learn a great deal by watching other conductors in action: how they interact with the orchestra, how they exercise their authority, apply their insights to a particular score, and guide the artists to greater heights of musical expression. 

 “The women taking part in this program will have the all-too-rare opportunity to observe another woman in this leadership role, “ Paiement added, “something that, regrettably, I never experienced in my early career as I sought role models from among my professional peers.  I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration.”

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 The application process opens today, February 9, 2015, with a deadline of April 15, 2015.  Applications can be submitted at YAPtracker.com.  Early applications are encouraged.

Those chosen to participate will receive a travel stipend, in-town housing, and a per diem to cover basic living expenses.  For more information on The Women’s Conducting Institute at The Dallas Opera, visit www.dallasopera.org/womenconductors.

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, remarked: “The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative.  The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium.  This effort complements OPERA America’s support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera.”          

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EVENTS, GUESTS AND ARTISTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

 

VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print

Or to arrange an interview

Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Director of Media and Public Relations

214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

 

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, 2014-2015 SEASON SPONSOR

FOR THE DALLAS OPERA’S “HEIGHTS OF PASSION” SEASON

 

Ticket Information for the 2014-2015 Dallas Opera Spring Season

All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described.  Single Tickets range from $19 to $275 and Flex Subscriptions are on sale starting at $75.  Family performance tickets are just $5.  For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.

 

 

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