Nathalie Stutzmann named second ever female conductor of major American orchestra

13 October 2021, 15:30 | Updated: 13 October 2021, 16:19

Nathalie Stutzmann conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Nathalie Stutzmann conducts the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Picture: Brice Toul

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

French conductor Natalie Stutzmann announced as the new Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a historic appointment for the ensemble.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) in Georgia, United States, has announced the appointment of Nathalie Stutzmann as its fifth Music Director.

Not only will she be the first woman to hold the position of ASO Music Director, but she will also be only the second woman to lead a major American orchestra.

As trailblazer, Marin Alsop who became the first major American orchestra music director in 2007 of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, steps down from her role at the BSO, Stutzmann will be the only female conductor currently conducting one of the major American orchestras.

Stutzmann is a French contralto and conductor and in 2020 was announced as the next Principal Guest conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra with a three-year tenure.

Read More: Eight of the world’s 100 top conductors are now women, compared to just one in 2013

Nathalie Stutzmann with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra
Nathalie Stutzmann with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. Picture: Heida Gudmundsdottir

Nathalie Stutzmann will make her first appearance as Music Director Designate on 13 and 14 October 2021, with a program of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Verdi’s La forza del destino overture and the U.S. premiere of Dark with Excessive Bright by Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli.

Stutzmann has been named both “Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur,” France’s highest honor, and “Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” by the French government.

Commenting on the new appointment, Janine Brown, Chair of the ASO’s Board of Directors said, “Nathalie is a formidable conductor, bringing vibrancy and excitement to the podium.

“She is charismatic, passionate about music and, as Sir Simon Rattle says, ‘The real thing.’ I am looking forward to introducing Nathalie to our audiences and to the broader Atlanta community.”