The Women’s Musical Leadership Online Project (WMLOP), funded by The Open University, explores women’s musical leadership in the contemporary music industries. Musical leadership remains one of the most male-dominated musical areas. As late as 2013, for instance, female conductors achieved a significant first when Marin Alsop became the first woman to direct the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Although female composers, songwriters, and performers have attracted significant scholarly attention, women’s musical leadership remains intriguingly under researched. WMLOP aims to address this.
Although musical leadership is often seen as residing in authority figures – quintessentially exemplified through the maestro conductor – this project moves beyond considering those who hold senior positions to embrace artists, educators, and activists who have influenced and driven change within the contemporary music industries.