The Oscars will feature a female conductor for the first time

A woman will conduct the Oscars for the first time on Sunday, February 9, the Academy announced today.

Irish-born composer and conductor Eímear Noone will conduct excerpts from the five nominated scores. She is the first woman to lead the orchestra in the history of television awards, the Academy said.

Details beyond that are sketchy, sources said. It’s not clear whether the five themes will be presented as a medley or separately, or whether the 42-piece Oscar orchestra will be performing at the Dolby Theater or in the Pit.

Reached this morning in Dublin, Noone tells Variety: “The wonderful producers at the Oscars decided that they would finally like to see a female presence on the catwalk after all these years.”

She praised Oscar Music Director Rickey Minor as “an incredible family spirit who strives to elevate music and musicians at every turn possible”.

Minor is expected to lead the rest of the show, as he did at his first Oscar concert last year. “[How] generous as he is, to convey this incredibly poignant moment, as these [composers] are my heroes and my deer, who will be seated in the audience, whose music I can perform, ”adds Noone.

When asked if, despite her long experience leading orchestras, she will find directing the Oscars a nerve-racking experience, she replies, “I would be dead inside if I had no worries.” Lucky for me, I have friends in the orchestra and I have friends on the page in front of me. The background changes, but the little black dots on the page are still with me. It doesn’t matter what country I’m in or what concert hall, it doesn’t matter – the sheet music is where my mind and heart are.

Noone, who with her husband, songwriter-producer Craig Stuart Garfinkle, divides his time between his homes in Dublin and California, conducts 40 to 50 concerts a year around the world. She has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, the National Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic of London, and the Sydney Symphony in Australia, among others.

She was the first woman to conduct at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and for four years she conducted the Dublin City Concert Orchestra, an ensemble she founded at age 21 for the performance of film music. A frequent conductor of Video Games Live, she is widely regarded as the world’s premier conductor of video game scores.

“It’s an honor to be there, to help standardize something I do every day,” she notes. “Little girls everywhere will see this and say, ‘I think I’m going to do this.’ This is what we want.

About Roy B. Westling

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