Women composers in classical music – online discussion panel

In the spirit of World Womens Day last week, Adeline Wong joined an online discussion on women composers in classical music, organised by Singapore's Theatres on the Bay, moderated by Senior Producer Christel Hon on Friday 12 March.

“Worldwide, many works played by orchestras are composed by male composers. Join us for an online panel discussion which brings speakers from Singapore and the Francophonie countries to shed light on the representation of women leaders in the sphere of classical music,” read the invitation to the virtual event on Facebook.

“This discussion will explore the role played by women #composers, #conductors and #artistic directors could make things change, and how the #classical #music ecosystems could adapt to better promote gender equality.”

The speakers were:

1. Mihaela Cesa-Goje, Professor in conducting at Academia Națională de Muzică „Gheorghe Dima" in Cluj Napoca 

2. Adeline Wong, Senior Lecturer, Composition at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music; President, Malaysian Composers Collective - MCC

3. Nancy Yuen, Artistic director of Singapore Lyric Opera

(L to R) Adeline Wong, Nancy Yuen, Mihaela Cesa-Goje, Christel Hon


The classical music sector struggles with gender inequality. Worldwide, the vast majority of works played by orchestras are composed by male composers, while very few works by female composers are presented. The disparity also lies in who conducts the orchestras; only 6% of orchestras in Europe being led by women conductors.

This online panel discussion brings together speakers from Singapore and Francophonie countries to discuss gender representation in the industry and career paths, exploring the reality of the classical music sector in different countries as well as presenting specific opportunities and examples of good practices.

The discussion will explore how, in a sector largely dominated by male figures, the role played by women composers, conductors and artistic directors could make things change, and how the classical music ecosystems could adapt in order to better promote gender equality

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