Gemma New on Gender Equality in Contemporary Music
New Zealander Gemma New, associate conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and director of the Lunar Ensemble, talks with Bachtrack’s Meg Wilhoite about the question of gender equality in the world of new music.
When Wilhoite asked New if she had experienced male-to-female imbalance in masterclasses and competitions, she replied, “Absolutely, we’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time, for over a hundred years … and now we’ve got many more female musicians in the orchestra.
“The leadership roles? That’s the last step. In principal roles in the orchestra as well … that’s something that we’re still seeing progress in. But I think, give it some time and we’ll see more women in those positions.”
New has conducted orchestras including the Danish National, BBC Scottish, Baltimore, and Christchurch Symphony Orchestras as well as Canada’s Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivières.
In September this year, she was hailed on New York’s classical music radio station WQXR as one of the “Top Five Women Conductors on the Rise”.