iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Laurence Vittes

GET UPDATES FROM Laurence Vittes
 

Could President Obama's Tweet Save America's Orchestras?

Posted: 09/07/2012 4:18 pm

When President Obama tweeted, "she's the conductor and I'm second fiddle," after his wife's speech at the opening session of the Democratic National Convention, he provided the perfect tool for a long overdue revolution in the classical music orchestra industry.

It couldn't have happened at a better time. Orchestras in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Atlanta, Indianapolis and Detroit are or have recently been in crisis stage. The President might not have had this in mind, but the advent of women conductors on a large-scale could grow the classical music industry exponentially by uniquely illuminating classical music in ways that have not been heard before.

2012-09-05-JeriLynneJohnson.jpg


The arrival in a meaningful way of women conductors would provide inspiring role models for children, give a boost to music education, and hand America's orchestras something new and exciting to sell at a time when they desperately need the help.

Before the President's tweet, women like Michelle LaVaughn Robinson stood a better chance of becoming the nation's First Lady than they did of becoming the conductor of an American orchestra. Post tweet, however, the situation could quickly change.

With Michelle Obama the conductor in the White House, and the President only the second fiddle, it's time for America's orchestras to take their cue. This is the right time to invest in woman conductors.

It's a curious fact about the classical music industry: Women have been kept off the podium for so long that not only audiences but musicians, critics and management have no idea how much they would bring in terms of unique expressive content and emotional dimensions to classical music's most beloved symphonies and concertos. The women know, but theirs has been a largely unheard legacy.

Until Tuesday night, if you wanted to avoid heartache, you wouldn't let your daughters dream of growing up to be conductors. Now that the President has tweeted, hand your girls a baton and Beethoven, watch out!

 
FOLLOW ARTS