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A major event in the classical music world, MAWOMA (for Music And Women MAestra) is the first worldwide itinerant competition devoted to women orchestra conductors.

The result of the passionate commitment of pianist Clémence Guerrand, MAWOMA will showcase the talent of female musicians of all nationalities in the art of orchestra conducting, in which they largely remain a minority.

As an itinerant competition, MAWOMA will take place on all six continents in succession, making stops at Vienna, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Rio and Sydney beginning in April 2019.

The grand finale, to be held in late 2019, will choose among the six finalists, naming the Maestra of this first year of the competition.

« Music is not about opposition. It is an invitation to bring people together.
Music knows no gender.»

Clémence Guerrand,  Founding President of MAWOMA

21 women, 586 men

If so many professions once reserved to men are now open to the female gender, only 4% of orchestra conductors on the international stage are women.

In tune with this fact, pianist Clémence Guerrand founded this rare and unusual Competition. MAWOMA will show the world the virtuosity of young women musicians from the four corners of the planet as orchestra conductors. It will be a launching pad for their artistic talent.

Music is universal, it knows no gender. Leading an orchestra is not the prerogative of men.

This disproportion today is the result of preconceptions and persistent myths that keep too many vocations in check: the archetype of the all-powerful Maestro, along with a supposed demand for authority and physical strength in order to conduct and ensure cohesion in an orchestra.

Just as women are rare as religious leaders, this under-representation in music is imprinted in the collective imagination. In the absence of models, female musicians are unable to assert themselves and hesitate to embark on a career as orchestra conductor, or to enter competitions, even those open to them. And the women who aspire to conduct often find themselves forced to organize orchestras of their own.

Musical brio disregards gender and nationality; it takes root in self-confidence. MAWOMA intends to bypass bias and encourage women’s audacity.

A worldwide dynamism 

This itinerant Competition, unique of its kind, transcends frontiers, harmonized in one great major chord all over the globe. The program foresees stages on six continents and in six capitals, to rally the talents of women of all nationalities as orchestra conductors.

This global sounding-board will trigger an opening of frontiers, to encourage a crescendo in vocations as Maestra on the international scene.

As the first and only worldwide competition reserved exclusively to women orchestra conductors, MAWOMA will help loosen the bonds that set women apart from this “profession/passion”.

Conductiong is not dominating

Clichés have a long shelf life: women, we are told, are too emotional, too fragile to lead an ensemble, or they need to appear tyrannical if they want to be credible… But conducting is not dominating. Nadia Boulanger, one of the first women conductors, in the early twentieth century, exerted full leadership thanks to her fundamental musical charisma.

Conducting an orchestra is a subtle art, an interpretation in its own right. Alchemy results from the encounter, unique each time it occurs, between the energy of the person conducting and the energy of the orchestra, which in turn is made up of individuals. This human component, basically unpredictable, is what allows the magic to occur and to unify an ensemble.

Music depends on complementarity. Far from rejecting the masculine contribution, the female dimension in the leading of an orchestra can be no less forceful and unique than what a female voice contributes in a chorus. This is the voice that MAWOMA wants the world to hear today.