We’re thrilled to announce that Josephine Korda will take up our annual 9-week Female Conductor Traineeship, while studying for her masters at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
Addressing the gender imbalance in classical music – and on the podium in particular – this intensive programme offers emerging conductors wide-ranging experience and support within the UK’s national opera company in the north. Josephine will take part in masterclasses with the Orchestra of Opera North and participate in our education work, as well as sitting in on preparations for our three winter season operas and orchestral concert programme. The Female Conductor Traineeship is enabled by the Harewood Young Artists Fund as part of the Opera North Future Fund.
“I am so excited to be the Female Conductor Trainee at Opera North this season. It is going to be invaluable to be a part of the development of three such different and impressive operas; to see how they come together in a professional environment and through the collaboration of an extremely experienced team. The bespoke nature of this traineeship will allow me to develop enormously as an operatic conductor, and to gain knowledge from the mentorship and guidance of Opera North’s in-house and guest conductors. I’d like to thank Opera North sincerely for this wonderful opportunity”.
Josephine has maintained a busy and impressive conducting schedule alongside her studies. She studied composition and conducting at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with maestri Dominique Rouits and Julien Masmondet and composer Regis Campo; and advanced contemporary repertoire conducting at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana with maestro Arturo Tamayo.
She was a guest conductor at Marin Alsop’s Women’s Conducting Masterclass with the Philharmonia at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; and has participated in numerous international competitions, notably as a finalist in the 2021 International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors, semi-finalist in the Orchestra’s Conductor 2022, and quarter-finalist in the Lake Como Conducting Competition 2021. Having conducted the London Schools Symphony Orchestra as a teenager whilst also acting as principal trumpet, she returned to conduct the ensemble in their anniversary concert at the Barbican Centre last year. She has conducted ensembles including Orchestre Victor Hugo Franche-Comté, Ensemble Variances, Ensemble des Apaches, the Dartington Festival Orchestra.
Opera, as well as orchestral music, has been an important area of Josephine’s practice: she was Assistant Conductor (2020-21) at the Opera de Massy, Paris, and Musical Director for Fréderique Lombart’s Féminin-Masculin, a production exploring the role of gender and sexuality within opera.
She founded the Paris Sinfonia, with whom she conducts concerts featuring classical and contemporary music. A composer herself, Josephine is a strong advocate of contemporary music and the repertoire of living composers, and strives to include this music in her programmes alongside works from the canon. During degree studies at Oxford University she created the Occasional Orchestra, for which she commissioned new works from choreographer Charlotte Edmonds to enhance symphonic repertoire with performance art. She also enjoys dabbling in the theremin in her spare time.
Before the Christmas break, Josephine attended rehearsals and music and language coaching sessions for the three productions in Opera North’s winter season, Tosca, The Cunning Little Vixen and Ariadne auf Naxos, as well as concerts in the Howard Assembly Room and one-to-one sessions with Opera North’s Music Director Garry Walker and guest conductor Andrew Gourlay.
Beginning the New Year, a masterclass with Garry and the Orchestra of Opera North offers Josephine a rare chance to work on a score in detail with the award-winning ensemble under her baton. Mainstage activity steps up as opening nights approach, with Josephine attending stage and orchestra rehearsals, and a session on Ariadne auf Naxos repertoire with Opera North’s Principal Guest Conductor Antony Hermus and a singer. She will also sit in on rehearsals for the Orchestra’s next Kirklees Concert Season performance at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Garry Walker, Music Director, Opera North, comments:
“Once again we had a high level of interest in the Traineeship, and we’re delighted to welcome Josephine to the Opera North family. She will enjoy the benefits of observing three operatic productions over the coming weeks, masterclasses with myself, Antony Hermus and other members of our staff, and will gain from a wide range of experience across the Company’s hugely varied work.”
Opera North is a signatory of the PRS for Music Foundation’s Keychange initiative, a global movement working towards gender equality in the music industry. On the concert platform, the Orchestra of Opera North has claimed UK debuts for Dalia Stasevska – now Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra – and Ruth Reinhardt, Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Valentina Peleggi, Music Director of the Richmond Symphony, recently made her Opera North debut in a programme of Puccini, Tchaikovsky and Dohnányi, with Isata Kanneh-Mason as soloist.