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Hear a complete recording of this year's edition of the program celebrating a century of women in American music.
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Hour 1
Hour 2

Learn more about the pieces featured in the program.

See the notable women who are involved in this year's program.

Instrumental Women: Conducting Business
As MPR celebrates Women's History Month with Instrumental Women, host and producer Lauren Rico talks about the issues explored in the 2002 special and the inspiration for the series.

Related Links
International Alliance of Women in Music

American Symphony Orchestra League

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MPR Broadcast Dates:
Monday, March 4, 7-9 p.m. | Sunday, March 10, 3-5 p.m.
Check local listings for broadcast date and time.

In 1900 it was virtually unheard of for a woman to play in an orchestra—let alone conduct one. A century later, audiences are still surprised when the person who steps onto the podium is female. Instrumental Women: Conducting Business looks at the challenges facing women in the field of conducting—from education to community outreach.

In the early part of the 20th century, a woman who wanted to conduct needed to found her own all-women orchestra to do so. As the decades passed, music schools were turning out female graduates in record numbers, but where were they all going? Relegated to youth and community orchestras, it was only in the last 25 years that they have been able to conduct prominent ensembles. In fact, they travel around the globe to guest-conduct the finest orchestras in the world—and, like all working women, try to balance the needs of career and family. Still, the question remains, when will a woman be chosen to head a major American symphony?

Lauren RicoAbout the Host
Classical 24's Lauren Rico addressed these issues with an array of conductors. They discuss their own personal experiences including the special requirements of being a conductor in the 21st century, the importance of mentoring and the "maestro myth." These stories and interviews are woven together with musical performances featuring all-female ensembles as well as female composers and conductors.

For over a dozen years, Lauren Rico has been able to combine her love of music with her passion for public radio. A longtime student of the French horn, Lauren holds a master's degree from George Mason University. She has worked at numerous radio stations in Tampa; Washington, D.C.; New York City; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Lauren has been on the staff of Classical 24, Minnesota Public Radio's national classical music service, since 1999. She and Tasha, her miniature schnauzer, call St. Paul home.

From the Archives
Instrumental Women 2001: Explore last year's program, the first of the Instrumental Women series, winner of the 2002 Gracie Allen Award.


At top (left to right): Giselle Ben-Dor, Gwendolyn Freed, Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Apo Hsu, Kate Tamarkin, Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes, Jane Glover
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