Season of the Female Music Director

December 18, 2018

— posted in THE INTERVAL

Last year, composer and music director Georgia Stitt founded Maestra, which she described as a “community of female composers and music directors working in the theatre industry,” after a woman approached her at New Year’s Eve concert asking for career advice. Stitt and a few composer colleagues invited the woman to come have lunch with them. Realizing how meaningful it was for this woman to interact with other women in the music industry, Stitt went home came up with a list of all the female composers she knew. Initially she invited about 20 or 30 women to a party, and it organically expanded from there. “The group kept growing,” Stitt recalled. “They seemed so grateful to have access to each other and to be in this social space where they weren’t competing with each other.”

The Maestra group now meets regularly at New York SongSpace, where they often host industry guest speakers, ranging from music copyists to Broadway producers. “It shows we’re actually providing a service and we’ve built a community,” observed Stitt. For those who do not live in New York, Stitt has built a community online, as well. Tired of seeing Facebook posts about people struggling to find female music directors, Stitt decided to create her own archive of women who music direct. She started by writing her own Facebook thread, asking friends, and friends of friends, to tag female music directors. Like the main Maestra group, the list of music directors grew exponentially. Maestra MDs, an offshoot Facebook group for female music directors all across the country, currently has over 400 members. “I think it’s just seeing a need for that opportunity, understanding where you have the power to create opportunity for someone else, and then just making it,” Stitt said.

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