By Afton Wooten
Canadian Conductors Maria Fuller and Naomi Woo are to take part in the Women in Musical Leadership conducting program. They will work with Tapestry Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra during their three-year residency.
Maria Fuller is a sought after conductor, but also for her specialties in vocal coaching, piano, trumpet, composing, and arranging. Fuller was the 2019 David Effron Conducting Fellow at the Chautauqua Institute and competed in the inaugural La Maestra International Conducting Competition in Paris in 2020.
Naomi Woo was named by the CBC in 2019 as one of the “Top 30 Classical Musicians under 30.” She currently holds the positions of Assistant Conductor of Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and the first-ever Music Director of Sistema Winnipeg. As an advocate for new opera, Woo will lead the Canadian premiere of “Angel’s Bone” and the world premiere of “The Night Falls.”
Tapestry Opera’s Artistic Director Michael Hidetoshi Mori and the Interim Executive Director Stephanie Applin, said in a joint statement, “We’re delighted to welcome Maria Fuller and Naomi Woo to the Women in Musical Leadership program, two leaders who emerged at the top of a highly competitive second year. Both women are conductors with substantial talents. This program will match their experience, skills, and ambitions with the opportunities, connections, and mentorship required to accelerate their individual growth.”
The Women in Musical Leadership conducting program launched in 2021 with Jennifer Tung and Juliane Gallant who have had masterclasses with world-renowned women conductors and have conducted with Pacific Opera Victoria, Vancouver Opera, New Music Concerts, and Opera Kelowna.
Tapestry Opera did research that shows the importance of this program for Canadian women conductors. Their results which were released in 2022 show that “less than 3% of titled conductor positions in major Canadian orchestras are currently occupied by Canadian women. In Canadian orchestras with budgets over 5 million Canadian dollars* there are 37 titled roles for conductors. Out of those 37 positions, only three are occupied by female conductors (8.1%). Of those three conductors, only one is Canadian (2.7%).”