Martha: How many times have you conducted the Rite of Spring?
Mirga: Including the 3 performances now?…..Four.
Audience: “I’m a musician, and that was a great collaboration, and I want to know if you two ladies know your relative ages?
Karen: “Did you just ask how old we are?
Martha: In musical terms….
Mirga: I had a teacher at school, a physics teacher, he was 68 and was always saying “I am 18, and a bit”
Audience: What was the encore?
Mirga: “In fact it is was a world premiere of a young Lithuanian composer who is 19. The idea was to connect a little encore to Stravinsky because the bassoon solo at the beginning is a Lithuanian folk song in origin. I am from that land, so it is something very particular. So I asked Gustas Raudonius, the young Lithuanian [composer], “Couldn’t you write a very little tiny thing for us to possibly have an option of an encore?”
Audience: “Why are there so few women conductors? I only know one.
Mirga: “I am absolutely sure we will have a lot of women conductors, as we already have. A lot of young very talented ones, probably it still needs a little bit of time for all of us and society to be absolutely quiet that it’s about professional[ism] and music, not gender.
Martha: If I could just add to that, there are an increasing number of women conductors on the podium, and we are starting not to talk about it. We are talking about them only as conductors and not women conductors. I think, obviously, my generation is a little bit different than Mirga’s and there was a time that, I think, people didn’t even perceive it as an option. Probably people were not inclined to engage women, but that [time] is really long past. There are a number of really fine women now coming into this profession… I might add there was a time there were not a lot women violinist soloists either.
That is certainly not the case anymore.