In Good Hands: The Making of a Modern Conductor

Faculty of Music alumna Alice Farnham (St Hugh's College, 1989) has published a book which sets out to explore what it means to be a conductor in modern times. Uniquely, she draws on a wealth of insights from fellow conductors, each with their own perspectives and specialisms – from luminaries such as Antonio Pappano and Jane Glover, to a new generation making their own distinctive mark on the profession.

The author writes: ‘As a child I could never have imagined I would become a conductor, but there’s something about pursuing this strangest of careers that somehow wouldn’t have surprised my childhood self. I loved music, I loved entertaining and interacting with people, I wanted to travel, and I thought sitting in an office must be very boring and to be avoided at all costs. I have found a varied career that ticks all those boxes. Stressful and uncertain though it can be at times, it is never dull, and I cannot imagine a time when I will stop learning.’

Alice Farnham is listed in the Classic FM Today’s Ten Best Women Conductors and in the BBC Woman’s Hour Music Power List. Recent engagements include concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Southbank Sinfonia. She has been a Guest Conductor on productions at the Royal Opera House, Mariinsky Theatre, Calgary Opera, Folkoperan Stockholm, Wermlands Opera Karlstad, Grange Park Opera, Singapore Lyric Opera, and Teatru Manoel Valletta. She was Music Director for award-winning productions at the Welsh National Youth Opera and returned for Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki in 2022. Alice has conducted much of the standard ballet repertoire with companies including the Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Danish Royal Ballet. In 2022 she conducted Swan Lake at Opéra de Rouen.

She is Artistic Director of Women Conductors with the Royal Philharmonic Society and National Concert Hall Dublin Female Conductor Programme and is much sought after as a teacher. She was Organ Scholar at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University and trained for three years with the legendary pedagogue Ilya Musin in St Petersburg.

For more information on the publication, please visit Faber's website.