Women on the Podium returns in 2021

Less than 6% of conductor’s in the world are female. Perth Symphony is committed to changing this.

Perth Symphony’s Women on the Podium program is a unique conducting and leadership program, providing female West Australian musicians the opportunity to learn from world-class conducting experts, to lead orchestras and to have a lasting impact on The Arts in WA.

The only program of its kind in the southern hemisphere, it creates a safe space for women to excel. The program is entirely funded through the generosity of West Australian’s who believe in breaking down barriers and creating female leaders in WA.

In the last six months, four women who have participated in this program have gone on to make their professional conducting debut on the podium. Elise Chong at Stardust: The Music of David Bowie, Jen Winley at Sweet Dreaming: Eurythmics Reimagined, Kate Milligan at Claremont Christmas Carols and Kate McNamara with the West Australian Ballet’s performance of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. See a video of some our conductors in action here.


These women have not only made their debut on the podium, they are taking what they have learned through this program and changing the face of The Arts in WA. Jen Winley has launched her own ensemble, Banksia Ensemble, Kate McNamara is leading the Giovanni Consort, Elise Chong has started her own business Cult Classical, Jennylynn Andrews started Northern Lights Orchestra and Kate Milligan is a rising female composer and arranger, who has just been named one of the ANAM Set by the Australian National Academy of Music to commission a new work for Australia.



Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Perth Symphony is delighted to continue this ground-breaking program in 2021 and, if we reach our fundraising target, to provide this opportunity to even more female musicians in Western Australia this year.

We will have the opportunity to invite previous participants to join our Elite Program and take their careers to the next level and work with WA Arts companies like West Australian Ballet and WA Opera. 16 new female musicians will have the chance to enter this program and begin their careers as professional conductors and we will launch a professional development program for female music teachers who are responsible for shaping the next generation of female leaders in our schools.

This program is ambitious, but it is critical. Interest from female musicians across Western Australia looking to be part of this program only continues to grow and we are dedicated to ensuring the longevity of this.


If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to support our program, this can be made here. If you would like to find out more about this program and how you can support us, please contact our Brand and Development Manager, Georgina Harvey. We would love to share this success with you!