The Metropolitan Opera, representing arguably the most traditionalist musical form in an already innovation-wary field, has twenty-three conductors on rotation this season, all of whom are men. And many women in opera who are credited as assistant conductors are often restricted to piano accompaniment, the recently-appointed Chicago Opera Theater music director Lidiya Yankovskaya told me. Of the top twenty world orchestras as ranked by a panel of esteemed music critics—which Gramophone published in 2008—not one has a female conductor on staff. Some, including the Vienna Philharmonic, do have female guest conductors in rotation.
On August 14, Korea and Taiwan unveiled two statues commemorating the 80,000 to 200,000 “comfort women,” primarily from Korea, but also from Taiwan, China, and Southeast Asia, who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese army during World War II. Into this fractious space comes a new poetry collection by Korean-born poet Emily Jungmin Yoon. By fluidly adopting the voices of those who experienced the comfort system, Yoon shares stories that were silenced for decades.