Marietta-based Georgia Symphony Orchestra (GSO) has entered a partnership with Girls Who Conduct to launch a fellowship program for women conductors.
“The women’s conductor fellowship program is a tribute to Betty Shipman Bennett, the GSO’s first conductor, who led the orchestra from 1955 to 1990,” said GSO Music Director and Conductor Timothy Verville. “Betty was a trailblazer in the world of symphonic music, when women conductors were a rarity.”
According to the press release announcing the initiative, “Up to six fellows will be selected to participate in the program, which will take place throughout the GSO’s full 2021-22 orchestra season. Participants will observe GSO rehearsals, participate in conducting workshops, receive mentorship by GWC members and GSO’s music staff, and engage with GSO education and outreach programs.”
The mission of Girls Who Conduct (GWC) is described on the organization’s website as follows:
Girls Who Conduct is an initiative created in 2020 to empower and encourage the upcoming generation of women, women-identifying, and non-binary conductors by providing a program for training, mentorship, and camaraderie in order to foster diversity and inclusion in classical music.
In the GSO press release announcing the partnership, GWC founder Chaowen Ting said the aim of her organization is to work with aspiring women conductors from all backgrounds and with different experiences, including candidates from minority ethnic communities and those with disabilities, who currently are underrepresented in the field of classical music.
Ting is an associate professor of music and director of orchestral studies at Georgia Tech, and on her LinkedIn page describes herself as an “Atlanta-based conductor of opera, new music and orchestral music. A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, living composer, and women composers.”
GWC has mentored 50 women conductors from six countries.
Corporate and individual sponsorships are available to help fund the fellowship program. For more information, contact Pat Torres, GSO development director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.