Opera North has announced Joséphine Korda as its 2022-23 Female Conductor Trainee. She takes up
the intensive 9-week scheme at the Leeds-based company while studying for her masters at the Royal
Northern College of Music in Manchester.
Addressing the gender imbalance in classical music – and on the podium in particular – the annual
programme offers emerging conductors wide-ranging experience and support within the UK’s national
opera company in the north. Joséphine will take part in masterclasses with the Orchestra of Opera
North and participate in the Company’s education work, as well as sitting in on preparations for its
three winter season operas and orchestral concert programme. The Female Conductor Traineeship is
enabled by the Harewood Young Artists Fund as part of the Opera North Future Fund.
“I am so excited to be the Female Conductor Trainee at Opera North this season. It is going to be
invaluable to be a part of the development of three such different and impressive operas; to see how
they come together in a professional environment and through the collaboration of an extremely
experienced team. The bespoke nature of this traineeship will allow me to develop enormously as an
operatic conductor, and to gain knowledge from the mentorship and guidance of Opera North’s in-
house and guest conductors. I’d like to thank Opera North sincerely for this wonderful opportunity”.
Joséphine has maintained a busy and impressive conducting schedule alongside her studies. She
studied composition and conducting at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with maestri
Dominique Rouits and Julien Masmondet and composer Regis Campo; and advanced contemporary
repertoire conducting at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana with maestro Arturo Tamayo.
She was a guest conductor at Marin Alsop’s Women’s Conducting Masterclass with the Philharmonia
at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; and has participated in numerous international competitions, notably as a
finalist in the 2021 International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors, semi-finalist in the
Orchestra’s Conductor 2022, and quarter-finalist in the Lake Como Conducting Competition 2021.
Having conducted the London Schools Symphony Orchestra as a teenager whilst also acting as principal
trumpet, she returned to conduct the ensemble in their anniversary concert at the Barbican Centre last
year. She has conducted ensembles including Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté, Ensemble
Variances, Ensemble des Apaches, the Dartington Festival Orchestra.
Opera, as well as orchestral music, has been an important area of Joséphine’s practice: she was
Assistant Conductor (2020-21) at the Opera de Massy, Paris, and Musical Director for Fréderique
Lombart’s Féminin-Masculin, a production exploring the role of gender and sexuality within opera.
She founded the Paris Sinfonia, with whom she conducts concerts featuring classical and
contemporary music. A composer herself, Joséphine is a strong advocate of contemporary music and
the repertoire of living composers, and strives to include this music in her programmes alongside
works from the canon. During degree studies at Oxford University she created the Occasional
Orchestra, for which she commissioned new works from choreographer Charlotte Edmonds to
enhance symphonic repertoire with performance art. She also enjoys dabbling in the theremin in her
Before the Christmas break, Joséphine attended rehearsals and music and language coaching sessions
for the three productions in Opera North’s winter season, Tosca, The Cunning Little Vixen and Ariadne
auf Naxos, as well as concerts in the Howard Assembly Room and one-to-one sessions with Opera
North’s Music Director Garry Walker and guest conductor Andrew Gourlay.
Beginning the New Year, a masterclass with Garry and the Orchestra of Opera North offers Joséphine a
rare chance to work on a score in detail with the award-winning ensemble under her baton. Mainstage
activity steps up as opening nights approach, with Joséphine attending stage and orchestra rehearsals,
and a session on Ariadne auf Naxos repertoire with Opera North’s Principal Guest Conductor Antony
Hermus and a singer. She will also sit in on rehearsals for the Orchestra’s next Kirklees Concert Season
performance at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Garry Walker, Music Director, Opera North, comments:
“Once again we had a high level of interest in the Traineeship, and we’re delighted to welcome
Joséphine to the Opera North family. She will enjoy the benefits of observing three operatic productions
over the coming weeks, masterclasses with myself, Antony Hermus and other members of our staff,
and will gain from a wide range of experience across the Company’s hugely varied work.”
Opera North is a signatory of the Keychange initiative, a global movement working towards gender
equality in the music industry. On the concert platform, the Orchestra of Opera North has claimed UK
debuts for Dalia Stasevska – now Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra – and
Ruth Reinhardt, Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Valentina Peleggi, Music
Director of the Richmond Symphony, recently made her Opera North debut in a programme of Puccini,
Tchaikovsky and Dohnányi, with Isata Kanneh-Mason as soloist.