Listening Party Podcast Episode 16

Friday
Mar 05, 2021 1:00pm

Venue Online

Cost Free

Podcast #16

Friday, March 5, 2021 | 1 pm | On Demand

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Pacific Opera and Rebecca Hass as she chats with Rosemary Thomson, conductor, Music Director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, and mentor for the Women in Musical Leadership Initiative, and Jaime Martino, the Executive Director of Tapestry Opera about the Women in Musical Leadership Initiative and their hopes for the future of conducting and for music as a whole. Continue the celebration while listening to the accompanying Spotify Playlist, created by Rosemary Thomson!

Less than five percent of all Canadian Music Directors are women. That’s a startling number. A number that we hope to change through The Women in Musical Leadership conducting residency. Led by Tapestry Orchestra, the program lasts for three years and includes companies across Canada, such as Pacific Opera Victoria, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera, Edmonton Opera, Manitoba Opera, the Hamilton Philharmonic, and more. You can find out more about the program here.


Jaime Martino speaks to how the Women in Musical Leadership program is designed to address three things: opportunity and experience, networks and relationships, and sectoral attitudes. She explains how success is limited if we are not addressing the fact that women, particularly women of colour, have to work much harder to receive the same level of credit as men, succinctly stating “their success adds up to less and their failure adds up to more”. This program is meant to be a safe space to fail and to grow without that pressure, hopefully leaving the door to conducting and to music a little more open than it was before.


At the beginning of her career, when Rosemary Thomson first thought about applying to a university conducting program, she wondered if they would accept a woman. Now, she waits for the day when she is simply referred to as a conductor, not a female conductor, and hopes that the Women in Musical Leadership program helps that day come quicker. As a mentor, Rose talks about how excited she is that the women are being mentored by women, sharing in the unique experience that it is to be standing on a podium as a female conductor. She wants to teach skills and tools that give confidence to the women to bring their own voices to the podium, something that can be challenging while under the immense pressure of being a part of a minority in an industry.

Image by Glenna Turnbull


This episode of the podcast featured conductor Rosemary Thomson. Our conversation focused on women in musical leadership through a national conducing residency, in which Rosemary is a lead female mentor. The program was initiated by Tapestry Opera in Toronto, and Pacific Opera is a lead partner in the opera division, and the Toronto Symphony is the lead partner in the orchestral division. Rosemary is currently the Music Director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra and has had a wonderful career working with many terrific conductors, like Richard Bradshaw and Bramwell Tovey.

I invited Rosemary to share music that she loves, that connect with her, that are guilty pleasures and that might highlight women. What she provided is an eclectic playlist that I hope you will enjoy listening to and spending some time exploring.

Here are her choices and her thoughts on some of these selections.

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Rosemary Thomson, Conductor

I love harmony.

  • Beati Quorum Via – Charles Villiers Stanford
    I chose it because I LOVE harmony.
  • Rosenkavalier Trio – Richard Strauss
  • Women’s quartet from Peter Grimes – Benjamin Britten
  • Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
    A self- confessed cheeky choice.

Confession: Sometimes I want music that is full of serenity and hope. Here are a few choices that reflect that:

  • Le jardin feerique from Ma Mere l’Oye – Maurice Ravel
  • Intermezzo Op. 118 No, 2 – Johannes Brahms
  • Nothing but the Light – Sarah Slean
  • Mehcinut – Jeremy Dutcher

Another confession: Sometimes I want music that is visceral, and powerful.

  • Born to Run – Bruce Sprinsteen
    In the case of the Springsteen, he makes me feel like I can do anything!
  • Finale from Symphony No. 7, Ludwig van Beethoven 
  • Dies Irae from Requiem, Giuseppe Verdi

Opera ETC
Physically Distant | Socially Connected


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