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Briefly: A Positive Step in the Changing Face of Leadership in Classical Music

Updated: May 3, 2021

Barcelona's Orquestra OBC breaks a centuries-old industry practice by celebrating a season of women-led programs.

What's the big deal?

Yesterday, La Vanguardia published an article about a Barcelona orchestra's conscious decision to hire, for the first time in its history, more women guest conductors than men. Considering that only 6% of conducting gigs in Europe are held by women, it was a refreshing surprise to read that this season 4 of 6 guest conductors at Orquestra OBC are women.

The appointment of women has a tremendous impact on future generations of music-lovers and leaders. Not only do young girls see what is possible for themselves, the entire concept of creative leadership shifts. Women as leaders in our largest cultural institutions is normalized. It is thanks to organizations like Orquestra OBC, La Maestra Paris, and the Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors that we see more women from around the world taking their places at the podium.


My eldest son and I at a performance of OBC and Des Knaben Wunderhorn at L'Auditori in Barcelona, April 2021. The performance was led by conductor Marta Gardolińska.

"We do not need a strong leader, but one who is empathic and fluent in communication, who knows what they want and knows how to convey it. The orchestras are full of artists who want to be free, with a direction to know how to play together, while drawing the music from their own knowledge and their hearts. Everyone must feel that they want to go in the same direction, and the public feels that." - Anja Bihl­maier, Las mujeres toman la batuta
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