There are a lot of happy faces at The Dallas Opera. The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera has been receiving kudos throughout the operatic world. Established in 2015, it was created to “support the career aspirations and advancement of women conductors and administrators in the field of opera, while addressing the thorny problems resulting from ingrained gender inequality at the top of the profession.”
According to TDO, “In 2015, when the program was launched, only 4% of the total spots for conductors at “Budget One” opera companies in North America (as defined by OPERA America) were assigned to women. Today, that number stands at approximately 9.6%–more than double the previous total. Furthermore, over half of those assignments have been filled by either women faculty or alumnae of the Hart Institute.”
Of the eight women who participated in in the initial program, all “have acquired worldwide artist management.”
One of the original organizations that realized the importance of such an undertaking was The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that provided a $500,000 grant.
Now, it was just been revealed that the next Institute will take place from Sunday, October 28, through Saturday, November 10, “with participants (six institute fellows, plus four additional American observers) selected from a field of qualified applicants from countries around the world.”
TDO will also “coordinate annual spring or summer reunions and an ongoing support network consisting of peer-to-peer discussions, experienced mentoring, regular career consultations on specific media and management issues, and steps to encourage other music organizations to develop solutions that address gender imbalance.”
And once again the Mellon Foundation has come on board with a half million dollar grant.
According to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Arts and Cultural Heritage Program Office Susan Feder, “We are exceedingly proud of our involvement with the Institute for Women Conductors and I hope that the renewal of this grant will leverage other support to TDO’s twenty-year commitment.”
In turn, The Dallas Opera will undertake a mission to raise $500K “to take advantage of the total matching funds available.”
Newly named TDO General Director/CEO Ian Derrer reported, “The renewal of this generous grant is an extraordinary honor and a tremendous vote of confidence. We are particularly proud of the Hart Institute for Women Conductors’ remarkable success stories in its initial years, as well as the program’s increasing impact for promoting these highly talented women.”
* Graphic courtesy of The Dallas Opera