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Group shot of the women who participated in the Women in Musical Leadership Masterclass

Empowering the Baton

A Collaboration Ushers in a New Era of Women and Non-binary Conductors
July 12, 2023

Amidst a crescendo of empowerment, the Women in Musical Leadership (WML) program ushers in a new era of conductors ready to lead the way. On June 17, the TSO, in partnership with Tapestry Opera, hosted this year’s WML master class at Roy Thomson Hall.

The event provided a unique opportunity for the four talented WML fellows—Jennifer Tung, Juliane Gallant, Naomi Woo, and Maria Fuller—to work closely with our Music Director, Gustavo Gimeno, and the entire Orchestra in a public setting. This exceptional masterclass not only showcased the incredible talent of these accomplished conductors but also served as an educational platform for their growth and development in the field.

In describing the experience, Gallant said, “Conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is an indescribably exhilarating feeling, and I am grateful to have been able to experience their sound from such close proximity. Gustavo Gimeno’s mentorship approaches conducting holistically, and in my short time on the podium, I have gained invaluable practical knowledge about rehearsing, about stick technique, and about musicianship.”

Each conductor was granted 30 minutes to rehearse sections from a standard symphony. With Gustavo’s guidance, they worked to hone their skills, delving into the intricacies of orchestral dynamics and interpretation.

“Conductors always learn tacitly and explicitly from instrumentalist collaborators in the orchestra,” said Woo. “Gustavo Gimeno’s generous and thoughtful guidance made the whole experience feel so well supported. I’m immensely grateful to the TSO for offering this opportunity—a truly memorable and transformative learning experience.”

The fellows not only had the opportunity to conduct a full orchestra but also received valuable coaching and feedback from our renowned Music Director. This mentorship aspect of the masterclass was crucial in providing the conductors with insights and knowledge that will help them to enhance their craft.

Tung described the experience of conducting an ensemble that responded with such sensitivity to every nuance of her gesture as incredible. “Maestro Gimeno really helped me to get out of my shell to make music with the musicians by focusing on connecting with them through better eye contact.”

The WML event drew an enthusiastic audience of more than 300 donors, subscribers, and guests from Tapestry Opera. It was heartwarming to witness such support and energy from the community as it gathered to experience this special educational moment.

Learn more about the Women in Musical Leadership initiative.
Read about the announcement of the new Women in Musical Leadership fellows.