The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera
2016 Program: Nov. 26 – Dec. 11 in Dallas, TX
Deadline to Apply: April 22, 2016
Initial Support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation
Additional Support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the
TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund
This Year’s Master Classes Will Be Led By:
The Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor
International Opera Conductor
And Marin Alsop
Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
DALLAS, APRIL 13, 2016 – Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera is accepting applications through 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Friday, April 22, 2016 for a unique residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors: The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.
Female conductors, 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 for the expanded institute, now in its second year. Although the emphasis is on women conductors on the cusp of major careers in opera, more seasoned applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will reconvene for the second time November 26, 2016 through December 11, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. This year’s institute will include two public concerts (December 4th and 10th) in addition to intensive one-on-one’s, master classes, career advancement curriculum, and opportunities to conduct superb young singers and the highly regarded Dallas Opera Orchestra.
The institute, conceived by Dallas Opera Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO Keith Cerny, was created a year ago with initial support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Since that time, it has garnered additional generous support from Linda and Mitch Hart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.
Stated Mr. 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, generously supported by benefactors here in Dallas and elsewhere,” Mr. Cerny adds, “will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this incredible art form.”
The 2016 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors will provide a host of career-building opportunities:
- To rehearse and conduct The Dallas Opera Orchestra, a full-sized professional ensemble, with outstanding young opera artists
- Participate in master classes with Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement, renowned Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro, and special guest Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra
- Attend seminars and discussions, guided by a variety of experts, on how women conductors can make a greater impact on their field and advance their conducting careers
- Network with peers and take part in a media “refresher” course
Six women will be selected from among those applying, along with four additional American observers.
Those attending are also eligible to take part in an annual summer networking event in Dallas. There is also the potential for one or more participants to be invited back to serve as Assistant Conductors on future Dallas Opera productions.
Nicole Paiement’s residency for this institute is supported by the TACA Bowden & Embrey Family Foundations Artist Residency Fund.
The Dallas Opera’s Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement, who also serves as 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.” This contemporary music specialist has conducted numerous new productions and world premieres to great critical acclaim.
As the subject of a 2015 article in Opera News (“The Mountain Climber” by Matthew Sigman), Paiement was described as “one of opera’s most adventurous spirits.” She also serves as Artistic Director of BluePrint, a contemporary music series at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Deléage Chair, and 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. She returns in 2017 to conduct Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Next season’s engagements for Paiement include conducting at Glimmerglass Summer Festival, The Atlanta Opera, Washington National Opera, Other Minds (an annual new music festival in San Francisco) and the Monterrey Jazz Festival.
About the 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 and to help guide each carefully selected group through this still-evolving Dallas Opera program.
“I sincerely hope my work with the women in this institute can serve as a source of both valuable insights and inspiration.”
Maestro Carlo Montanaro, music director of Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, Poland from 2011 through 2014, has conducted both opera and concert repertoire on many of the world’s leading stages including La Scala, the Bastille Opera in Paris, Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Seattle Opera, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Verona’s Arena, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Communale in Florence, Vienna State Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Australia, the Arturo Toscanini Foundation in Parma, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Munich Opera, Seattle Symphony, Monte Carlo Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Teatro Verdi in Trieste (a collaboration which led to a Japanese tour with the orchestra).
Future opera engagements (already announced) include Madama Butterfly in Seattle, La bohème in Sydney, Carmen for San Francisco Opera, and Rigoletto in Frankfurt.
Maestra Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, a Music Director of vision and distinction who passionately believes that “music has the power to change lives”. She is recognized across the world for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.
Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007 has been recognized by two extensions in her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. As part of her artistic leadership in Baltimore, Marin Alsop has created bold initiatives that have contributed to the wider community and reached new audiences. Alsop took up the post of Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) in 2012 and became Music Director in July 2013.
In September 2013, Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London. She returned to the Proms in 2015 to conduct the Last Night and an all-Brahms program with the OAE. 2015/16 highlights include a historic return for an American musician to Cuba, conducting Lang Lang and the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. In March 2016, Alsop celebrated Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary conducting Bernstein’s West Side Story in the Knockdown Center, a restored factory in Queens.
Marin Alsop is the recipient of numerous awards and is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to US residents in recognition of exceptional creative work. She was only classical musician to be included in the Guardian’s “Top 100 women”, celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011. Alsop is an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music, London and the Royal Philharmonic Society and was recently appointed Director of Graduate Conducting Program at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute.
Those chosen to participate in the institute will receive travel and housing benefits.
Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, remarked earlier: “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.”
The tremendous success of the inaugural institute became apparent by the evening of the concluding public concert attended by music lovers, opera VIPs and media.
Scott Cantrell, Classical Music Critic for The Dallas Morning News lavished praise on individual performances and wrote: “Some fine conducting talents were displayed; one hopes to see and hear more from them.”
The Senior Classical Music Critic for Theater Jones, Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, agreed: “They all did a fine job and got most of the details correct. Every one of them delivered involving performances and was, for the most part, right with the singers and clear in their stick technique. Most importantly, the orchestra responded to one and all with good ensemble playing and responsiveness to each conductor’s desires.”
The Institute experience continues to resonate with participants, many months later.
American conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya wrote: “The opportunity to get to know a group of accomplished, talented women conductors was invigorating and inspiring. We all gained a group of colleagues from across the world and mentors to whom we can always turn for support and advice.”
Since the conclusion of the 2015 Linda and Mitch Hart Institute last fall, Ms. Yankovskaya became a finalist for the position of Music Director of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, where she will work as a guest conductor next season. She will also tour a production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and scenes from Boris Godunov with New Opera NYC before conducting the world premiere of The Body Politic by Leo Hurley and Charles Osborne. Yankovskaya will also be launching her Refugee Orchestra Project in the very near future.
British conductor Natalie Murray Beale added, “The Institute was a fantastic opportunity to meet and work with a wide range of music professionals. The level of support given was truly amazing.”
In the months since the Institute, Ms. Murray Beale has conducted a new production of Le nozze di Figaro for the Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb, and served as Music Director for The Return at London’s Barbican, which earned five stars from The Guardian. This month, she will conduct the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, begin rehearsals on a new opera by composer John Barber, and then serve as assistant conductor to Esa-Pekka Salonen for the series, Myths & Rituals, exploring the music of Igor Stravinsky.
Noted German conductor Anna Skryleva, “The most important point I learned at the Institute for Women Conductors is the necessity of networking with others in our field. It’s not enough to improve your professional skills, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman—you must also build your professional community. Even today, in the 21st century, women tend to fight on alone.
“Recently, a great Russian maestro created controversy by comparing female conductors with weightlifters! Clearly, there is more work to be done, to change social attitudes towards women in positions of artistic leadership. The Dallas Opera Institute has taken a leading role in addressing these ongoing issues.”
Upcoming engagements for the Russian-born conductor include concerts with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the UNAM, Mexico, as well as Verdi & Company in Dallas. Skryleva is also preparing her second CLASSIC FOR PEACE event next August, supporting multicultural dialogue through classical music.
Conductor Jessica Gethin acknowledges, “There have been several aspects of the IWC that I have brought home to Australia with me. I have been able to try out some of the technical suggestions made by Emmanuel and Nicole, and am now incorporating them into my work on the podium. Just as valuable, however, were the discussions around the seminars we attended and the viewpoints of other female conductors of my generation working in all parts of the world. The Institute opened my eyes to see things from a wider global perspective. I arrived home inspired, empowered and with a new regard for my cultural identity, responsibility and opportunity.”
Since the Institute last December, Ms. Gethin has conducted several concerts for Perth Symphony and Perth Chamber Orchestra (Australia), including a tremendously well-received concert commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Irish uprising—for which she arranged half the orchestral works and appeared as a soloist! Currently, Gethin is rehearsing her first fully staged opera as a conductor, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena for OperaBox, which will tour to Albany in West Australia in mid-April.
American conductor Stephanie Rhodes, currently serving as an assistant conductor on Washington National Opera’s Ring Cycle, summed up the experience this way: “While the initial residency as an IWC Fellow was invaluable, the follow up and support from the company and program faculty have been an immense asset in evaluating my career and determining the best path of progress.
“Months later, I continue to benefit from the Institute.”
Ms. Rhodes will return to Dallas in the 2016-2017 Season as an assistant conductor after working on the San Francisco Opera world premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Dream of the Red Chamber this fall.
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TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, 2015-2016 SEASON SPONSOR FOR THE DALLAS OPERA’S “SEEKING THE HUMAN ELEMENT” SEASON
Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera 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. 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.
THE DALLAS OPERA 2015-2016 SPRING SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Ninth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired. The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talk will begin one hour prior to curtain, at most performances excluding FIRST NIGHT of the season.