Dallas Presents Women in Classical Music Symposium

Kim Noltemy CEO of the Dallas Symphony

By: - Nov 10, 2023

Kim Noltemy, the Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, joined the Dallas Symphony Association (DSA) in January 2018. (She had worked for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 21 years). One of her first initiatives was a symposium for Women in Classical Music. Noltemy moves fast and the first conference was held in 2019.  

Noltemy has said: “The goal of the DSO’s Women in Classical Music Symposium is to nurture and ultimately elevate women in the industry. I wanted to create a safe space for women in our field to gather and openly discuss issues that are unique to us, ways we can support each other, and ideas to facilitate real change. WICM has evolved into so much more than I imagined when we launched the initiative back in 2019. Not only are we providing space for open discussion, we’re also fostering connections and allyship between women and leaders both in the industry and outside of it. I’m extremely proud of the conversations and ideas that continue to come out of our symposium and the work the DSO is committed to doing to conquer the issues faced by women in the classical music industry.”

The 2023 Symposium begins on Sunday in Dallas, and starts with a discussion of the power of music in Ukrainian survival stories. World events of crushing importance often have music stories attached to them.  Olivier Messiaen wrote a Quartet for the End of Time in a prisoner of war camp. Music performance groups formed in concentration camps when they were permitted. The Defiant Verdi Requiem is still performed. 

The Symposium is brave and forward-thinking.

Tina Davidson, an American composer, will discuss her memoir, Let Your Heart Be Broken, Life and Music from a Classical Composer, with Joyce Griggs, Provost of the Manhattan School of Music. 

A spotlight will shine on the remarkable women who have ascended to the heights of classical music, challenging norms, and breaking barriers. They are paving a path for future generations.

Mentoring and making a musical career possible for others is regarded as a key to success. The panel on mentoring includes Elena Dubinets, Artistic Director, London Philharmonic Orchestra
Shanta Thake, Chief Artistic Officer, Lincoln Center. Kathleen van Bergen, CEO and President John and Joanne Fisher Chair, Artis-Naples. It will be moderated by Kim Noltemy.

Four women composers discuss how they’ve used their influence across the music spectrum - in the film industry, as Miss America, as programmers, producers and activists - to shape audiences’ experience of “classical” music while advocating for change. Composers Kathryn Bostic, Nia Imani Franklin, Alison Loggins Hull,  and Sophia Jani, DSO Composer-in-Residence will speak. Vanessa Reed, President & CEO, New Music USA, moderates.

Conducting has been the most difficult glass ceiling to shatter.  Three women, Katrin Hendrickson, Natalie Murray Beale, and Stephanie Rhodes Russell, will participate in a panel moderated by Quodesia Johnson, Equity specialist and healing practitioner, whose work is highly regarded in the industry. 

Concerts will celebrate women composers. Conductors will participate virtually from Germany and China, two countries whose appetite for classical music does not wither. Advice on unleashing an entrepreneurial spirit can be heard in the nooks and crannies of the Symphony’s home, led by the CEO and her powerful example. 

Nine countries and twenty-two states are represented by the attendees, who number somewhere between 150 and 200 guests.