Woman Power

Dallas Opera aims to reshape art form with new program for female conductors

Dallas Opera reshapes art form with new program for female conductors

Maestra Nicole Paiement of Dallas Opera
Principal guest conductor Nicole Paiement will participate in the inaugural Institute for Women Conductors at the Dallas Opera. Photo courtesy of Dallas Opera

The field of opera conducting, like many others, has traditionally been dominated by men, but the Dallas Opera is looking to break out of that mold with the creation of the new Institute for Women Conductors at the Dallas Opera, a program designed to provide training and career support for talented female conductors.

Through the program, select women will have opportunities to conduct the Dallas Opera Orchestra, participate in 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, and network with peers.

The program also includes an opportunity to attend a two-day networking event in summer 2016, as well as the potential for one or more participants to be invited to serve as assistant conductors on future Dallas Opera productions.

“The Dallas Opera has demonstrated, in multiple ways, its commitment to reshaping the opera field,” said Dallas Opera general director and CEO Keith Cerny in a statement. “This much-needed program will enable more women conductors to add their talents and insights to our collective understanding of this marvelous art form.”

The program is open to female conductors age 40 and younger, as well as accomplished women singers, opera coaches and accompanists, and instrumentalists with established careers seeking a new path at the podium. A total of six women will be chosen.

The program will run November 28 through December 6, with all six conducting the Dallas Opera Orchestra in a public concert on December 6. Applications are now being accepted at YAPtracker.com, with a deadline of April 15.