Newspaper Article (Anadolu Ajansi 12.03.2011)
The conductor Lisa Xanthopoulou has enchanted music lovers. As a woman in a male-dominated profession, she has encountered many difficulties and has been able to succeed only with a great deal of work.
On the occasion of International Women's Day, Greek conductor Lisa Xanthopoulou conducted the Izmir State Orchestra in the Ahmed Adnan Saygun concert hall. Bahar Birick was the violin soloist for the evening. On the programme were a piece by the female composer Ebru Güner Cambey, and the violin concerto by Cemal Recit Rey. After the intermission, the orchestra played Suite No.1 by J. Konstantinidis, and the Suite “Zorba” by Mikis Theodorakis.
Music lovers gave them a standing ovation.
Anadolu Ajansi interviewed Lisa Xanthopoulou, who has been in Izmir for five days.
L. X.: “The city of Izmir is closely linked historically and culturally with the Greek people. I am greatly inspired by this. Even our cuisine and general outlook are very similar.”
In the world of classical music there are very few female composers and conductors.
L. X.: “In this sphere, which is dominated by men, female conductors have a hard time.”
She herself has had it hard and has had to push herself forward. In many countries she experienced doubts about her ability as a conductor, but after the first rehearsals the ice melted.
L. X.: “A woman is expected to stay at home and look after the children. I have experienced this repeatedly even in advanced countries. Few women become pilots, managers or bosses. I have come this far with great difficulty. The only way to develop as a conductor is to practice as a conductor. But to do this as a woman, you have to convince the people, who have the power to invite her for engagements. In comparison with male colleagues, she must work with greater conviction. On the other hand, the public is open, and happy and disarmed by the sight of a woman at the conductor's podium. The Izmir State Orchestra has the great opportunity to make every rehearsal at the concert hall. It is a very good orchestra. The members of the orchestra have received me most warmly and also given me 100% from the first rehearsal. The excellent concert hall, the skill of the musicians, and their lack of prejudice towards me as a woman have made my very happy.”
The director of the IZDSO said that he had wished to put on a special concert and that he was most fortunate in working with a female conductor to achieve it. The idea of performing the work of a female composer with a female conductor and a female soloist pleased the audience very much.