Dallas Symphony Orchestra announces Women in Classical Music Symposium

The Future is Female – Inspiring Women in Top Leadership Positions

Presented by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

November 7-10, 2021

Award of Excellence

Chosen by Fleming for Career Advancement Award

Registration Now Open at www.womeninclassicalmusic.com

Dallas, TX (June 7, 2021) – Today the Dallas Symphony announces its 2021 Women in Classical Music Symposium. Titled “The Future is Female – Inspiring Women in Top Leadership Positions,” this year’s symposium is presented by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and will be held November 7-10, 2021 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Texas. Administrators, educators, musicians and conductors from all over the world will gather in conversation, panels and discussions for this year’s event. Additional support for the symposium is provided by Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Women’s Foundation, Nancy Bierman, Joanne Bober and Yon Jorden. This event is presented as part of the DSO’s extensive Women in Classical Music initiative, which is supported in part by Capital One, The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Martha Wells.

The third year of the DSO’s Women in Classical Music Symposium will focus on inspiring women in top leadership positions. Despite the fact that women outpace their male counterparts in graduation from prominent conservatories and schools of music, they are underrepresented in titled conducting positions, in programming by major orchestras, on stage as soloists and in management leadership positions. The Dallas Symphony’s symposium strives to be a catalyst for broad-scale change in the industry. Panel discussions and conversations during the symposium will bring to light the strategic changes and pathways that can be created to advance the next generation of leaders.

Panel topics at this year’s symposium include: The State of the Industry; The Road to Equity: Goals and Strategies for Equal Representation; Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Leaders; The Many Careers in Music; Sexual Harassment On and Off the Stage; Remaining Relevant in a Digital Space and more.

The 2021 symposium will continue its tradition of networking opportunities with the ever-popular Coffee-Hour Chats and Mentorship Speed Dating Sessions. Individuals in all roles of classical music – orchestra members, soloists, composers, conductors and administrators – and at all stages of careers are welcome to attend, mingle and meet other industry professionals.

“I am pleased to welcome our industry colleagues to Dallas for meaningful conversation and discussions motivated by our unique experiences,” said Kim Noltemy. “Now that the world seems to be moving past a very challenging year, it is important for those of us in the classical music world to continue looking forward and working toward an inclusive future for our female colleagues. This year’s symposium will focus on the female leaders of our field and how we as women can support one another to make positive change.”

This year, the DSO will honor GRAMMY® Award-winning Soprano Renée Fleming with the annual Award of Excellence. Hailed as “America’s reigning diva” by the Washington Post and “ingrained in America’s cultural memory” by the New York Times, Fleming is a four-time GRAMMY® Award winner and a recipient of the US National Medal of Arts, presented by President Obama. As a recording artist she has recorded complete operas and song recitals, film soundtracks, indie rock and jazz; and her album Signatures was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for the National Recording Registry. Fleming was recently appointed co-director of the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS, and is the Artistic Director of SongStudio at Carnegie Hall. She is Artistic Advisor to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall, the Board of Sing for Hope and the Artistic Advisory Board of the Polyphony Foundation. Her memoir The Inner Voice, published in 2004, is currently in its 16th printing and was most recently published in China. Among her awards are the Peabody Medal, the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music, and honorary doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, Duke, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon Universities, the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School.

Furthermore, as a part of the symposium, Fleming will present a lecture entitled “Music and the Mind.” In her role as Artistic Advisor to the Kennedy Center, Fleming launched a collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, with participation by the National Endowment of the Arts, focused on the science connecting music, health and the brain. Over the past few years, she has given more than 40 presentations with scientists and practitioners on this subject around the world, including delivering the Compton Lecture at MIT, speaking at the Fifth International Vatican Conference, and earning Research!America’s Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion.

Fleming has chosen soprano Leah Hawkins to receive this year’s Career Advancement Award which will be presented at the conference. A native of Philadelphia, Hawkins began the 2020/21 season as Desdemona in 7 DEATHS OF MARIA CALLAS at Bayerische Staatsoper, and later debuts at Portland Opera, Tulsa Opera and Internationales Musikfest Hamburg. A recent alumna of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera, she appeared at the Met to great acclaim as the Strawberry Woman in the GRAMMY® Award winning Porgy & Bess and Masha in The Queen of Spades. Hawkins is an alumna of the Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera, where stage appearances included Mazzoli’s Proving Up; Champion, an “opera in jazz” by Terence Blanchard; and Justice at the Opera with the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

On the concert stage she has appeared with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra and Yale Philharmonia, among others. Additionally, she has performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, at the Musique et Vin au Clos Vougeot Festival in Beaune, France, in concert in Accra, Ghana, and at The White House, singing for the President of France. She has received awards from the Sullivan Foundation, The Shoshana Foundation, The Young Patronesses of the Opera/Florida Grand Opera Vocal Competition, The Chautauqua Opera Guild, Yale School of Music, George London Foundation, Marcello Giordani Foundation and Opera Ebony. Leah received her Master of Music in Voice from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University.

Two chamber music concerts will also be performed during the Symposium. On Sunday, November 7 at 7:30 PM, DSO Principal Oboe Erin Hannigan (Nancy P. & John G. Penson Chair) will present chamber music in the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall. DSO Composer-in-Residence Angélica Negrón will curate a chamber music program on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:30 PM. “During this past season I was incredibly honored to be the composer in residence at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra working on my new piece En otra noche, en otro mundo which was premiered earlier this year by the orchestra under the direction of Fabio Luisi, “ said Negrón. “Unfortunately most of the in person plans for my residency were cancelled due to the pandemic, but I’m thrilled to finally have the chance to visit Dallas in person for a very special chamber music concert I’m curating in November featuring the wonderful DSO musicians performing works by some of my favorite composers and celebrating the voices of women who are shaping the sounds of today.”

Panelists, speakers, soloists and moderators at this year’s symposium include:

  • Elizabeth Askren, Ph.D, Master Teacher, The Dallas Opera Hart Institute for Women Conductors
  • Nishi Badhwar, Personnel Manager, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Sara Davis Buechner, Concert Pianist
  • Marlah Bonner-McDuffie, Vice President of Development, League of American Orchestras
  • Velyncia Caldwell, Senior Lighting Technician, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Kelly Corcoran, Artistic Director & Conductor, Intersection and Interim Artistic Advisor, Lexington Philharmonic
  • Zenetta Drew, Executive Director, Dallas Black Dance Theatre
  • Arna Einarsdottir, Managing Director, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra
  • Renée Fleming, Soprano
  • Gillian Friedman Fox, Executive Director, Newport Music Festival
  • Shannon Gonzalez, Stage Manager, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Jen Guzmán, Thomas & Roberta Corbett Director of Education, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Erin Hannigan, Principal Oboe, Nancy P. & John G. Penson Chair, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Eunice Keem, Associate Concertmaster, Marcella Poppen Chair, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Jill Magnuson, Vice President of External Affairs, Nasher Sculpture Center
  • Stephanie Matthews, Founder and Creative Director, StringCandy and Co-Founder, Re-Collective Orchestra
  • Michelle Miller Burns, President and CEO, Minnesota Orchestra
  • Angélica Negrón, Composer-in-Residence, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Mona Patel, Vice President Human Resources & General Counsel, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
  • Ilana Ransom Toeplitz, Artistic Director of Musical Theatre & Dance, Musical Mentors Collaborative and Broadway Director, Choreographer & Writer
  • Jessica Ruiz, Director of Artistic Planning, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Maria Schleuning, Violin, Norma & Don Stone Chair, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Karen Schnackenberg, Principal Librarian, Jessie D. & E. B. Godsey Chair, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Shoshana Yavneh Shattenkirk, Composer, Lyricist & Pianist
  • Alexa Smith, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President for Special Initiatives, Manhattan School of Music
  • Cece Smith, Chair-Elect, Dallas Symphony Association Board of Governors
  • Johnnia Stigall, Manager of Pre-College & Pathway Programs, Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Charmaine Tang, BNY Mellon, Senior Client Strategist
  • Melia Tourangeau, President & CEO, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Lydia Umlauf, Violin, Dallas Symphony Orchestra
  • Mark Volpe, Eunice and Julian Cohen President and CEO, Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Dina-Marie Weineck, Business Coach for Classical Musicians
  • Lily Cabatu Weiss, Executive Director, Dallas Arts District
  • Beth Willer, Director of Choral Studies, Peabody Conservatory and Founder & Artistic Director, Lorelei Ensemble
  • Simon Woods, President & CEO, League of American Orchestras

Registration for the in-person event is now open at www.womeninclassicalmusic.com. The full panel lineup and guest speakers is available at www.womeninclassicalmusic.com/schedule.

Limited digital attendance will be available and details will be available in the fall.

About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra 

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Fabio Luisi, presents world-class orchestral music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s top-rated concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches more than 243,000 adults and children annually through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives. The DSO’s involvement with the City of Dallas and the surrounding region includes an award-winning multi-faceted educational program, community projects, popular parks concerts and youth programming.

During the pandemic, the Dallas Symphony was among the first major U.S. orchestras to present socially distanced concerts with live audiences during the 2020/21 Season. Furthermore, the orchestra has offered more than 200 outdoor chamber concerts in neighborhoods throughout the Metroplex since the summer. The DSO continued online music lessons to more than 200 students as part of its Young Strings and Young Musicians programs and increased its online dissemination of concerts through a newly designed website and on social media.

The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900 and is a cornerstone of the unique, 118-acre Arts District in Downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks – the largest district of its kind in the nation. The DSO is supported, in part, by funds from the Office of Arts & Culture, City of Dallas.

Denise McGovern | Vice President of Communications | Dallas Symphony Orchestra
d.mcgovern@dalsym.com| 214.718.7094

Kristen Turner | Communications Manager | Dallas Symphony Orchestra
k.turner@dalsym.com | 214.871.4063