Friday, 2 September 2016

Proms conductor selection too conservative

Pliable makes a good case for non-pink-skinned conductors at the BBC Promenade Concerts. An equally glaring omission is that of female conductors apart from Marin Alsop. How good Ms Alsop is was brought home to us in this season's Prom 51 which included the most moving performance of Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances I have heard in a long time. It seems she is now established as a regular Prom conductor - and quite right too - but also that she has filled a quota in the minds of the BBC, a quota that should not exist.

The royal household has moved with the times in appointing a female Master of the Queen's Music (joining a female Poet Laureate),  appointed on merit. Recent Proms controllers or directors have ventured beyond the format established by Sir Henry Wood, embracing jazz and pop (though why has Indian classical music fallen off the agenda?), so why should their choice of conductors and soloists be so conservative?

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