Launching Today, New Video Series Marks Centennial of 19th Amendment
It was conductor Marin Alsop who founded the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowshipto promote gender diversity in music and help other women follow in her own pioneering footsteps. Over the past 18 years, the fellowship has provided intensive coaching, mentorship and financial support to 24 aspiring female conductors. Today, all 24 recipients are working to ensure a more equitable future for classical musicians, and 18 now serve as music directors or chief conductors of orchestras around the world. In recognition of Alsop’s historic contribution in this field, the fellowship is delighted to announce a change of name, and will henceforth be known after its Founder and President as the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship (TACF).
Coming today, on August 18, the announcement marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote. To honor the centennial, TACF launches a new daily video series, showcasing the Taki recipients and their groundbreaking achievements on the podium. The first in the series is excerpted from the world premiere performance of Roxanna Panufnik’s Across the Line of Dreams, given by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the leadership of Alsop and 2016-18 Taki Fellow Valentina Peleggi. Set to a text by Jessica Duchen, Panufnik’s work celebrates two iconic 19th-century women: legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman and Rani Lakshmibai, who symbolized Indian resistance to British rule. To introduce additional Taki recipients, a new video will be released at TACF’s YouTube channel each day.
The Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship is fortunate in its strong leadership. Besides Alsop herself, the Board of Directors comprises co-founder Tomio Taki, the global entrepreneur and author of Zennovation; Kati Guerra, VP of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Voices; and Leigh Ryan, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer of Teleperformance and a board member at La Jolla Music Society. Speaking for the TACF Board, Ryan says:
“The Board of Directors of the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship has unanimously voted to change the name of the fellowship to the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship in recognition of Marin Alsop’s enormous contribution and commitment to gender equality in the field of conducting.”
The Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship is currently an award offering two years of intensive coaching and mentorship from Alsop and other industry professionals. Hailing from 16 countries, the 24 recipients conduct the world’s top orchestras and lead operas and ballet productions at major houses worldwide. Past recipients include Karina Canellakis, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and first Principal Guest Conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra; Mei-Ann Chen, Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta; Lina Gonzalez-Granados, winner of the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Award and the 2019 CSO Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition and Apprenticeship, and Conducting Fellow of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Seattle Symphony; Carolyn Kuan, Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; Jeri Lynne Johnson, Founder and Music Director of Philadelphia’s Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra; Holly Mathieson, Music Director of Symphony Nova Scotia; Valentina Peleggi, Music Director of the Richmond Symphony, Mackerras Fellow at English National Opera and former Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Chorus; and Lidiya Yankovskaya, Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater. Twenty-one of the Taki recipients have given masterclasses, 16 have started their own music programs or ensembles, and 14 serve as mentors to other emerging female conductors. Together, they are continuing Alsop’s campaign for gender equality in music.
“I started the Fellowship in 2002 because I saw that if I didn’t try to change the landscape for women in terms of opportunity, I didn’t know who else was going to do it. Since then we’ve had 24 recipients and they’re doing phenomenally well. Not only are they great conductors but they’re also great citizens of the world. These women help each other, mentor each other and offer each other an invaluable resource. They come from all over the world – it’s become a huge community. “I also want to pay tribute to my non-musical mentor in establishing this fellowship, Tomio Taki. He supported my orchestra, Concordia, for 18 years and it was he who led me to establish the Taki Fellowship, to thank him in perpetuity.”
The Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship also benefits from the unsurpassable experience and artistry of its Advisory Council. This includes Deborah Borda, President & CEO of the New York Philharmonic; JoAnn Falletta, Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Jennifer Higdon, Pulitzer Prize laureate and three-time Grammy-winning composer; Laura Liswood, Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders and Advisor of Global Leadership and Diversity; Leonard Slatkin, Music Director Laureate of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony and Founder & Artistic Director of the New World Symphony; and three-time Grammy-winning composer Joan Tower.
One of the foremost conductors of our time, Alsop herself is responsible for breaking some of the most resistant glass ceilings in music. The first woman to serve as the head of a major orchestra in the United States, South America, Austria and Britain, she is currently Chief Conductor of Austria’s ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of Honor of Brazil’s São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, and the first Chief Conductor and Curator of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, where she looks forward to curating and conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at its annual summer residencies. Now in the final season of a game-changing 14-year tenure as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, she is, as the New York Times put it, not only “a formidable musician and a powerful communicator” but also “a conductor with a vision.”