Historically, only men conducted orchestras. In the last few years women have started to become more prominent. Symbolic turning points were the appointments of JoAnn Faletta as the principal conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic in 1999, followed by american violinist Marin Alsop as principal conductor of the UK’s Bournemouth Symphony in 2003 and the Baltimore Symphony in 2007. Since then the situation for talented female musicians has started to improve.
In the spirit of this year’s festival theme “PrimaDonna”, the 2016 Lucerne Festival turns the spotlight on female artists: conductors, soloists, composers. This Sunday’s “Special Day Event” features five female conductors, four women composers, a violin virtuoso, a master pianist, and a blues singer.
According to the event website, never before has there been such a concentration of “woman power” at the event. The various halls of the KKL Luzern will resound with a varied program of works from the Baroque to the present, with “greatest hits” and rarities, classical music and jazz. This summer’s theme will be explored in depth by a panel looking at the role of women in contemporary musical life.
No concert tickets cost more than CHF 50 CHF. And if you reserve tickets for three performances or more you’ll get a discount of 20% and free tickets for your children.
The festival runs until 11 September 2016. Ticket information can be found here.
Switzerland is making rapid progress on gender equality. Before 1971 women were not allowed to vote in federal elections. Many cantons had granted women the right to vote much earlier. By 1960 women could vote in cantonal elections in Vaud, Geneva and Neuchatel. Many other cantons including Basel, Zurich and Lucerne had followed suit by 1970. The last canton to open the ballot boxes to women was Appenzell Innerrhoden, after a federal court decision forced their hand in 1991.
By 2015, 64 of the 200 members (32%) of Switzerland’s National Council were women. In 1971, only 10 were. The number of women in senior political positions in Switzerland is ahead of the UK, where in 2015, only 29% of parliamentarians were women.
This Sunday in Lucerne, cries for gender equality will become music to some ears.