Women's History Month: Jane Glover

We continue our Women's History Month celebration of trailblazing female conductors with groundbreaking British conductor Jane Glover. Maestro Glover, known around the world as a Mozart and early music specialist, received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Oxford University, and is currently Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music in London and Music Director of Chicago's Music of the Baroque.

In 2013, Maestro Glover became the third woman ever to conduct at the Metropolitan Opera, and last year she made her debut with the New York Philharmonic. Her book Mozart's Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music tells of the women who shared their lives with Mozart and those women who inspired and embodied his operatic roles (yes, composers often wrote roles for specific singers!).

Maestro Glover speaks passionately about what she does, how she brings music to life, and how young women interested in conducting today should just go out and do it! Read about her journey from conducting her friends at Oxford University as a student to her incredibly successful present-day conducting career.

SFGC: When did you know you wanted to be a conductor?

JG: I think at Oxford University, when I started to conduct my friends and colleagues in small concerts, and then bigger concerts, and then an opera....

SFGC: What advice do you have for young women looking to have a career in conducting?

JG: Just do it! Seize any opportunity that comes your way—church choirs, madrigal groups, brass bands, groups of friends—and, to use a gardening metaphor, get your hands dirty. It is important to get to know what it feels like to have music flowing through your hands as well as your head and your heart.

SFGC: What is your favorite piece of music to conduct, and why?

JG: Impossible question! But any of the Mozart-Da Ponte operas (Le Nozze de Figaro, Don Giovanni, Cosí fan tutte) are right at the top of the list. But then so are Britten's War Requiem and the Bach Passions. And there are smaller pieces, too. Sometimes I think Brandenburg 6 is the most perfect piece of music ever written.

SFGC: Who was your biggest inspiration?

JG: As a conductor, I was (and still am) enormously in awe of Bernard Haitink, with whom I worked at Glyndebourne and Covent Garden at the beginning of my career. I am also greatly inspired by the conducting of Simon Rattle and Mariss Jansons.

Learn more about Maestro Glover on her website.

BlogKara Whittington