Women in Musical Leadership | IWD 2024

We dream of a world where leadership is a matter of talent and drive, regardless of identity. Women in Musical Leadership has built pathways to success for exceptional women and non-binary music leaders for generations, overturning a deep and longstanding imbalance.

Meet the conductors who are changing the podium, the music industry, and the world.

We asked each conductor to share what excites them, from past performances to future opportunities to hobbies that help them relax while away from the podium.

Learn more about the Women in Musical Leadership program and sign up for the WML newsletter for updates here: https://tapestryopera.com/wml.

Juliane Gallant

 In 2023, I auditioned as a conductor for the resident conductor position at the Calgary Phil and was offered the role!

In 2024, I had my first experience of ‘jumping in’ as a conductor and had a great time doing it! The guest conductor meant to lead an all-Spanish program at the Calgary Phil that night became undisposed. With only a few hours notice, I conducted Turina’s Danzas fantásticas without prior rehearsal. Women in Musical Leadership mentor Sarah Ioannides led the rest of the program. 

Before being part of Women in Musical Leadership, I had never learned an entire symphonic work, let alone stood in front of a full orchestra. I am comfortable now in the symphonic world through score study sessions, masterclasses, and placements with orchestras across Canada.

I once voiced a cartoon character in Acadieman, an animated series from New Brunswick.

I love cooking. When I suddenly had tons of free time at the beginning of the pandemic, I cooked my way through at least half of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

Juliane Gallant with Maestro Gimeno at the 2022 TSO Masterclass. Photo by Dahlia Katz
Juliane on the podium for the Gould's Wall rehearsal. Photo by Dahlia Katz
Juliane Gallant photo by Dahlia Katz
Juliane Gallant with Maestro Gimeno at the 2023 TSO Masterclass. Photo by Dahlia Katz

Jennifer Tung

In 2023, I conducted two world premiere operas in two weeks:  Show Room by Rodney Sharman and Atom Egoyan and Of the Sea by Ian Cusson and Kanika Ambrose.

In 2024, I look forward to collaborating with superstar Jeremy Dutcher and the Kamloops Symphony in May.

As part of Women in Musical Leadership, I have learned I have more to offer others than I initially thought.

I have two lovely puppies that are the love of my life: 6-year-old Justice, a Husky Golden Retriever mix and my crazy 3-year-old Doberman, Jupiter!! They keep me sane amid the craziness of music-making 

I love to cook. Especially trying new recipes and making variations on existing recipes.  I am, however, not a baker.

Jennifer Tung with Maestro Gimeno at the 2023 TSO Masterclass. Photo by Dahlia Katz
Jennifer at the Of The Sea workshop. Photo by Elana Emer
Jennifer on the podium for Gould's Wall. Photo by Dahlia Katz.
The best dogos! Photo by Jennifer Tung

Maria Fuller

A highlight of last year was being a finalist (top 6 of 50 competitors) at the 11th Grezgorz Fitelberg International Conducting Competition in Poland. I was awarded a 4000 EURO “Distinction” prize, as well as opportunities to conduct at the Prague State Theatre, coach an opera, and assist a ballet in Łódź, Poland! 

This is my first season as Co-Founder and Music Director of Ammolite Opera in Calgary! It’s a joy to build this company from the ground up with my Co-Founding partner, Tayte Mitchell.

My involvement in the Women in Musical Leadership program has been like being an “assistant on steroids.” We assist 25 different orchestras and opera companies from coast to coast, and there is so much to learn and celebrate about each place. My favourite thing is witnessing each orchestral family’s unique spirit and distinct characteristics.

Something fun (or alarming) people don’t know about me is that I am from a 2000-acre grain farm outside of Earl Grey, Saskatchewan, and have my Hunters Safety License, meaning I own a gun and can hunt.

Something people might not know about me is that my piano recording, “Der Erlkonig,” with bass-baritone Philippe Sly, has a million views on YouTube and is played at major conservatories worldwide. I receive email requests to perform and teach it, and people recognize me at colleagues and opera companies as the girl who plays it. (All because of a last-minute 3:00 AM recording session!)

When I can catch a weekend off, my favourite hobbies are composing, learning new instruments, arranging holiday orchestral music, making videos, and editing MIDI tracks in a DAW. I love being with family and friends, and learning new things about my new acquaintances that I meet on the road. My latest ambition is to sing in an opera one day.

Naomi Woo

In December 2023, The National Youth Orchestra proudly appointed Naomi Woo as Music Director for its 2024/2025 seasons, marking a historic milestone as the first female Music Director of NYO Canada.

11 and 12 February 2024 | National Arts Centre Orchestra | Kevin Lau and Jodi Contin: The Spirit Horse Returns

​13 February 2024 | Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Lunar New Year Concert featuring soloist Timmy Chooi and presenter Dashan.

17 and 18 February 2024 | Symphony Nova Scotia | Winter Family Concert. Naomi helped program repertoire for TSO and SNS concerts.

Naomi had two appearances with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, where she is a music director finalist.

The TSO recently interviewed Naomi; please read that here: https://www.tso.ca/noteworthy/lunar-new-year-with-naomi-woo/

Monica Chen

2023 was an amazing year filled with new opportunities, starting work with WSO Sistema Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba Symphony Orchestra and finishing a fulfilling season, having worked intensely with the Vancouver Symphony Youth Orchestra.

2024 brings new challenges, including continuing some amazing concerts with all three Winnipeg organizations that I work with, such as the Winnipeg New Music Festival, Sistema, St John’s College Benefit Fundraiser, and UMSO’s third concert of the season featuring Schumann’s 4th symphony. There are also new opportunities coming up that will be revealed in due time!

Working with Opera Kelowna and Rosemary Thompson has taught me much about the first ropes of opera and the beautifully intricate world that it is

Outside of music, I am actually quite the stationary nerd and have a guilty collection…

If I ever have a spare moment, food is my next big love, especially dessert!

Kelly Lin

In 2023, I had the privilege of participating in the Women in Musical Leadership program. This experience connected me with remarkable mentors and artists. I’m also proud of a successful premiere concert with my non-profit organization, Lagom Music Society. The concert featured 40 talented musicians at the prestigious Chan Centre in Vancouver. Lagom Music Society aims to amplify underrepresented voices in music and create opportunities for young orchestral musicians aspiring to join professional orchestras in Canada.

Looking ahead to 2024, I am excited about my upcoming engagements, including my debut performances with the Calgary Philharmonic and Freeound Ensemble and my return to the Hatch Festival in July.

Through the Women in Musical Leadership program, I have learned valuable lessons that have stretched me musically and professionally. This program has equipped me with the skills to lead, influence, and effect positive change within the music community in Canada. I am grateful for the opportunity to refine my conducting skills and study under the guidance of top musicians, which has contributed to my professional growth.

Beyond music and conducting, I am passionate about exploring new interests and talents. I enjoy experimenting with painting, cooking, learning new languages, and playing different instruments.

In my free time, I find solace in strength training at the gym after a morning of score study and work. This routine relaxes my mind and enhances my posture and mobility, benefiting my conducting abilities.

Kelly Lin headshot

Learn more about the Women in Musical Leadership program and sign up for the WML newsletter for updates here: https://tapestryopera.com/wml.

Thank you to our Lead Partner, Pacific Opera Victoria, our Lead Orchestral Partner, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and all participating organizations nationwide.