MU Music student chosen for NCH-RTÉ NSO Inaugural Female Conductor Programme

Monday, September 4, 2017 - 10:15

The National Concert Hall announced MU Music student Raimonda Zalisauskaite as one of twelve chosen participants to take part in it inaugural Female Conductor Programme for 2017/2018. Led by acclaimed British conductor Alice Farnham and supported by Grant Thornton, the programme aims to encourage high calibre female musicians to take up the baton and become orchestral conductors.

Speaking of her selection, Raimonda states,

"I am thrilled to be a part of such an amazing programme. I was always fascinated by conducting but found that there wasn't many opportunities out there to become involved in this particular field of music, therefore as this opportunity arose I knew I had to get involved. It's brilliant that such programme has come about as it highlights the unfortunate gender inequality that still exists in this field and allows for more females to get involved with conducting.  I believe that this programme will give me a true insight into conducting and the skills required to become a success in the future. I am truly excited to be working with conductors such as Alice Farnham, Eimear Noone and other mentors from around the world and am sure that this programme will be an amazing and an unforgettable experience."

Alice Farnham, as quoted in The Guardian, states:

“I want to inspire young women and show them that conducting is an option, something that they may not have even considered …these workshops offer a safe place to have a go.”

The twelve candidates are: Raimonda Zalisauskaite, Lithuanian/Irish music student of Maynooth University; Lynsey Callaghan, Dublin-based conductor and Trinity College graduate; Molly Rose Lucy Burke from Co. Cork; Hilda Chan, graduate of CIT Cork School of Music; Emma-Jane Stoker Phelan, current music student at Trinity College Dublin; Raeghynya Zutshi, Trinity College Graduate; Grace Bergin, graduate of Kodály Institute, Kecskemét; Síobhra Quinlan, student of composition at Trinity College Dublin; Santa Ignace, practising musician and piano teacher; Meabh Martin, Graduate of University of St. Andrews; Naoise Whearity, graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Catriona Clarke, teacher and student of MA in Conducting at CIT School of Music.

Paul Jacobs, Partner at Grant Thornton, states,

“Grant Thornton are delighted to partner with the NCH on this cutting-edge initiative which aims to provide opportunities for female conductors who may wish to pursue conducting professionally. We will be actively participating in the programme through professional advice and mentoring workshops with the 12 participants to assist with their development and leadership skills, so as to assist with their prospective conducting careers.”

Together, the participants will engage in a specially curated 10-month programme of workshops and tutorials, starting 29th September designed to coach, mentor, encourage and promote talented female conductors at the outset of their careers. It provides expertise and hands-on practical experience on preparing and interpreting musical scores, leading rehearsals, practical conducting sessions, career advice, shadowing opportunities as well as a showcase concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in summer of 2018. It will be supported by Irish conductors David Brophy (leading Irish conductor), Eimear Noone, (LA based Irish conductor of Video Games Live) and renowned opera and orchestral conductor Fergus Sheil.
NCH Female Conductor Programme Outline 2017/2018

Three intensive weekends with visiting conductor Alice Farnham over the course of 10 months:

  • September 29th – 1st October 2017
  • February 17 and 18th 2018
  • June 2018

Series of six online tutorials to include one-on-one tutorials with Alice and other female conductors connected with similar projects around the world:

  • Mentoring by visiting international conductors
  • Ongoing mentorship with local conductors and musicians
  • Finale concert with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Summer 2018
  • Professional advice and support from Grant Thornton

Full Details of the NCH Female Conductor Programme can be found here.