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Call for Female Conductor Residency

Following a successful pilot year, Opera North is again offering a non-resident part-time position to an aspiring female conductor, as Associate Assistant Conductor for the 2020/21 season.

The Opera North Female Conductors programme is designed to support the development of early career female conductors through providing mentoring, shadowing, training and practical opportunities. It will run over a non-consecutive 10-week period, between September 2020 to May 2021.

Sian Edwards conducts the Orchestra of Opera North in Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, November 2019 © Justin Slee

Enabled by the Harewood Young Artists Fund as part of the Opera North Future Fund, the scheme was launched by the Company in recognition of the fact that talented female conductors are less likely to find a way into opera than their male counterparts.

The residency, aimed at female conductors who have shown extraordinary potential, is spread across a full opera season, and will include observing opera rehearsals, being mentored by Opera North’s Music staff and guest conductors, and engaging with Education and outreach programmes.

Sonia Ben-Santamaria © Roger Way

The Associate Assistant Conductor will receive conducting opportunities at Opera North and take part in repertoire sessions with Music Director Garry Walker, Head of Music David Cowan, as well as other members of music staff and visiting conductors. They will have access to all conductors, directors and Opera North staff for information and advice during this year.

The first Associate Assistant Conductor, Sonia Ben Santamaria, during her residency in the 2019/20 season, conducted site-specific performances with the Orchestra of Opera North, observed rehearsals of mainstage operas including conducting production rehearsals, and conducted Opera North’s chamber orchestra for a tour of the Company’s production of Robert Kapilow’s children’s opera, Green Eggs and Ham.

Performing Green Eggs and Ham at Leeds Central Library © Samantha Toolsie

To Apply:

Anyone interested in applying should send a letter of motivation, CV, a video clip of their conducting (rehearsal and/or performance), and letters of recommendation from two professional musicians, to They should also complete a diversity monitoring form.

The successful candidate will be provided with a fee of £6,000 for the 10 week contract, which includes a contribution to travel and subsistence.

Opera North wants to work with the most talented women from all backgrounds and with different experiences, and the Company is keen to hear from conductors who are interested in working with an opera company. Applications are encouraged from people from all backgrounds, including Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and candidates with disabilities, who are currently underrepresented in the workforce. As a specific role aiming to improve career development opportunities for women within conducting, the Associate Assistant Conductor role is open to all candidates who identify as female.

Closing date for applications: 10am on Monday 6 April 2020


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