THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Has Awarded $500,000 to the Company
In Support of the Hart Institute
Extends The Mellon Foundation’s Support for Another Three Years
DALLAS, TX, JUNE 18, 2018 – The Dallas Opera is delighted to announce it has been awarded a second consecutive $500,000 matching grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the company’s successful new program to advance the careers of exceptionally talented women: “The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera.” The Mellon Foundation decision renews an original $500,000 grant awarded to TDO in 2015.
This innovative program is designed to support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors and administrators in the field of opera, while addressing the thorny problems resulting from ingrained gender inequality at the top of the profession.
The next institute, named for Dallas philanthropists Linda and Mitch Hart, is scheduled to take place from October 28th through November 10, 2018, with participants (six institute fellows, plus four additional American observers) selected from a field of qualified applicants from countries around the world. There is no comparable in-depth program today for addressing the needs of talented young female conductors and administrators seeking to make their mark on the world’s top opera organizations.
“We are exceedingly proud of our involvement with the Institute for Women Conductors,” wrote Susan Feder, Program Officer, Arts and Cultural Heritage, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “and I hope that the renewal of this grant will leverage other support to TDO’s twenty-year commitment.”
This three-year grant starts on July 1, 2018. The Dallas Opera will need to raise $500,000 to take advantage of the total matching funds available.
“The Institute for Women Conductors” (women administrators were added in 2017) was created under the auspices of The Dallas Opera to identify and support emerging major women conductors and provide an intensive residential program that combines master classes, coaching, and distinguished guest lecturers with hands-on podium time in front of a full-sized orchestra. The effort was launched three years ago with funding from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation and pivotal support by Linda and Mitch Hart, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and other gifts.
Each institute culminates in a public concert “showcase” that attracts high-ranking industry influencers and decision makers to the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House to experience these artists at work.
The Hart Institute appears to be having a measurable impact: In 2015, when the program was launched, only 4% of the total spots for conductors at “Budget One” opera companies in North America (as defined by OPERA America) were assigned to women. Today, that number stands at approximately 9.6%–more than double the previous total. Furthermore, over half of those assignments have been filled by either women faculty or alumnae of the Hart Institute.
“The renewal of this generous grant is an extraordinary honor and a tremendous vote of confidence,” noted Incoming General Director and CEO Ian Derrer. “We are particularly proud of the Hart Institute for Women Conductors’ remarkable success stories in its initial years, as well as the program’s increasing impact for promoting these highly talented women
“The Dallas Opera is deeply grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its continued support,” Mr. Derrer adds, “helping to shape the future for women conductors for three more years.”
In addition to the fall institute, The Dallas Opera also coordinates annual spring or summer reunions and an ongoing support network consisting of peer-to-peer discussions, experienced mentoring, regular career consultations on specific media and management issues, and steps to encourage other music organizations to develop solutions that address gender imbalance.
Recent success stories from the Hart Institute alumnae include the appointment of Lidiya Yankovskaya, Artistic Director of the Refugee Orchestra Project, as Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater and the recipient of a 2018 Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award; Tianyi Lu’s appointments to serve as a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, as Assistant Conductor to Music Director Daniele Gatti at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of the Netherlands (where she will be featured in a live masterclass on Medici TV), Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Australia) leading the musicians on a tour of China, and as Principal Conductor of the St. Woolos Sinfonia in the U.K.
Jennifer Condon served as Assistant Conductor to Berlin Philharmonic and Bayerische Staatsoper Music Director Kirill Petrenko in Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Bayerische Staatsoper in May/June 2017 followed by a Japanese tour. In the fall of 2017, she conducted a production of Puccini’s Il Trittico with the Bayerische Staatsoper. Jennifer also served as Assistant Conductor to Franz Welser Möst in “Lear” by Aribert Reiman at the Salzburg Festival (Summer 2017) and as Assistant to London Symphony Orchestra Music Director Sir Simon Rattle in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde at the Baden-Baden Festival. She assisted Emmanuel Villaume for Korngold’s The Ring of Polykrates at The Dallas Opera in February 2018 and will be assistant conductor to Sir Andrew Davis at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in that company’s production of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Ms. Condon will also make her conducting debut with Malmo Opera in Sweden, leading performances of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.
Mélisse Brunet has been chosen—along with Lidiya Yankovskaya—as one of six conductors chosen by the League of American Orchestras for the 2018 Bruno Walter Conductor Preview. She was also recently appointed Interim Music Director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and is currently a finalist for the job of Music Director of the Western Piedmont Symphony in North Carolina, as well.
Anna Skryleva has been named the first female Chief Conductor of KlassikPhilharmonie Hamburg; while Jessica Gethin won a 2016 Winston Churchill Fellowship for “performance excellence in classical music,” in addition to the prestigious 2018 Bendat Award from West Australian Opera. Ms. Gethin also served as the assistant conductor for the U.S. premiere of Sunken Garden last season at The Dallas Opera.
All told, eight of the women who have participated in the landmark Dallas Opera program have acquired worldwide artist management.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, combined with additional gifts earmarked for the Hart Institute, underscores the importance of programs designed to explore solutions to longstanding inequities in the worlds of classical music and the performing arts.
ABOUT THE DALLAS OPERA
Founded in 1957, The Dallas Opera is an internationally-recognized innovator dedicated to the overall advancement of the operatic art form and the support of established and emerging artists, as well as the education and development of new opera audiences in North Texas—and beyond. These goals are achieved by commissioning and producing world-class opera; through ground-breaking institutes, national competitions and topical programs; and by presenting opera in both traditional and non-traditional formats and venues in order to attract patrons of every age, background, educational level, and ethnicity—while engaging with more than 87,000 people in our community each year. TDO is equally committed to the task of responsible stewardship and is managed with efficiency and accountability, to the highest possible standards.