In an effort to foster inclusivity in the field of classical music, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra is partnering with the Girls Who Conduct organization to launch a new fellowship program for women conductors.

“The women’s conductor fellowship program is a tribute to Betty Shipman Bennett, the GSO’s first conductor, who led the orchestra from 1955 to 1990,” said GSO Music Director and Conductor Timothy Verville. “Betty was a trailblazer in the world of symphonic music, when women conductors were a rarity,” he commented.

Up to six fellows will be selected to participate in the program, which will take place throughout the GSO’s full 2021-22 orchestra season. Participants will observe GSO rehearsals, participate in conducting workshops, receive mentorship by GWC members and GSO’s music staff, and engage with GSO education and outreach programs.

The GWC initiative was created in 2020 to empower and encourage the upcoming generation of women, women-identifying, and non-binary conductors by providing a program for training, mentorship and camaraderie.

According to GWC founder Chaowen Ting (pictured above, right), the aim of the program is to work with aspiring women conductors from all backgrounds and with different experiences, including candidates from minority ethnic communities and those with disabilities, who currently are underrepresented in the field of classical music. Since its inception, GWC has mentored 50 women conductors from six countries. Ting also is an associate professor of music and director of orchestral studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

For complete information on the fellowship program, visit georgiasymphony.org/women-conductor-fellowship-program/.

Corporate and individual sponsorships are available to help fund the fellowship program. For more information, contact Pat Torres, GSO development director, at ptorres@georgiasymphony.org.