BSO's First Female Maestro Takes The Baton

Women conductors are rare in major orchestras. The Boston Symphony Orchestra hired its first full-time female maestro in 2007.

Shi-Yeon Sung is the BSO's assistant conductor, and Thursday night she leads the orchestra from the podium at Symphony Hall for her first and only time this season.

Wearing black jeans and a striped button down, Shi-Yeon Sung works through Aaron Copland's "Suite from Appalachian Spring."

Standing, almost leaning into the musicians, this conductor strikes a very different figure on stage than the BSO's music director, James Levine.

"I'm just me, and I'm doing what I want," Shi-Yeon Sung says.

She also acknowledges the gender gap in her field.

"I don't want to say it's not," Shi-Yeon Sung says. "It could be and maybe it's still a boy's world, but if you have the ability and if you have a strong mind as a woman, or as a person, it doesn't matter."

America's first female music director was hired by the Baltimore Symphony in 2007. Shi-Yeon Sung believes conductor equality is only a matter of time.

This program aired on April 9, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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