Working to address a long-standing issue at the podium, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, multifaceted program—one of a mere handful in the world—designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors on the cusp of major international careers.
Out of that initiative came the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera. This year, 12 distinguished professionals were selected to participate.
“One of the ways we advance our art form and engage more people is by providing career advancement opportunities for gifted women conductors, ensuring they have the chance to compete for top-level positions in classical music,” said Ian Derrer, The Dallas Opera’s Kern Wildenthal general director, and CEO.
“That’s why the Hart Institute was founded and why it will be needed for years to come. The support and passion of the TDO Family are behind this effort—more than ever.”
A total of 90 women conductors and professional musicians heeded the call in 2019, despite even more stringent admissions requirements initiated last year.
Applicants from 27 countries included music directors, principal and assistant conductors, concertmasters and music staff from top-ranked symphonies, opera companies, and conservatories.
The 12 distinguished professionals will include six conductors, three administrators, and four American observers.
The six conductors include Tiffany Chang (USA), Jiannan Cheng (China), Tamara Dworetz (USA), Marta Kluczyńska (Poland), Madeline Tsai (Taiwan), and Molly Turner (USA).
“Big D is my Big W,” Polish conductor Marta Kluczyńska said about being selected for the program. “I feel awesome.”
U.S. participant Tamara Dworetz said she was beyond thrilled to hear of her acceptance into the Hart Institute.
“The opportunity to learn from world-class conductors, instrumentalists, opera singers, and leaders will strengthen my skills and broaden my dimensionalism as a conductor while bolstering my career and professional network; I cannot thank Linda and Mitch Hart and the Dallas Opera enough for initiating and supporting this progressive and powerfully impactful program,” Dworetz said.
The institute takes place from Oct. 29 to Nov. 9 in Dallas.
This initiative received vital foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart.
Additional support for the 2019 Hart Institute comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baker Botts LLP, Cindy and Charlie Feld, Jenifer and Peter Flynn, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, and Martha and Max Wells.
“Even for the most talented artists, a journey to the forefront of the conducting profession is difficult, and particularly so for women,” wrote Taiwanese conductor Madeline Tsai. “The Dallas Opera’s Linda and Mitch Hart Institute gives its residents a strong gust of wind forward as they sail toward their dreams on the horizon.
“I am immensely grateful and honored for this incredible opportunity to learn from an amazing faculty and other talented artists at the Institute.”
As is the case each year, four talented U.S. Observers were chosen to audit the 2019 Institute: Rebecca Henry, Jane Kim, Vera Volchansky and Rachel Waddell.