Women on the Podium returns with international mentors and a brand new format!

Perth Symphony’s conducting initiative, Women on the Podium, is back for its final instalment of 2020, bigger and better than ever. The program, historically run over one single weekend, will take place every Saturday throughout August, and sees five world-class conductors from the UK and Australia virtually joining as mentors to 11 participants.

CEO Bourby Webster described how she used coronavirus restrictions as inspiration to change the format of this session,

“Inspired by the world’s newfound comfort with online meeting programs, we saw a great opportunity here to access incredible world-class talent from the other side of the world, inviting the UKs leading female conductors to work with our Participants. This would have been thought impossible prior to COVID-19.”

“We wanted to offer each participant more podium time and experience despite being in lockdown, extending them further before orchestral rehearsals and concerts resume.”

It is planned for three Women on the Podium alumni to make their Perth Symphony debut in 2020.

The first four sessions will be hosted by acclaimed conductors from the UK including Alice Farnham (Founder, ‘Women Conductors’ program, Royal Philharmonic Society), Jessica Cottis (Artistic Advisor, Canberra Symphony Orchestra), Sian Edwards (Head of Conducting, Royal Academy of Music, English National Opera) and Jane Glover (Musical Director, Music of the Baroque).

The masterclasses will be run virtually, with a successful trial having been run in June with Alice Farnham, who reflected;

“Who would have thought when I left Perth on 6th April this year, that I’d be returning virtually so soon, in such different circumstances. This is a very exciting opportunity for us. The test masterclass was really exciting – not without the techniques teething problems one would expect, but rewarding nonetheless.”

The final session on Saturday 29th August will be hosted in person by Jessica Gethin (Inaugural Fellow of the Dallas Institute for Women Conductors, Women on the Podium Ambassador) – our very own world class conductor residing here in Western Australia.

The program finds a new home and will be hosted at Methodist Ladies College in Claremont.

Women on the Podium is made possible thanks to funding from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, The State of Western Australia, the Minderoo Foundation and generous donations from Perth Symphony’s Women’s Conductor’s Circle.