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Galway native to be first woman to conduct the Oscars' orchestra

Eimear Noone is a successful composer and conductor who is based between Ireland and California.

Image: Isabel Thomas/Kiyhuri Photograph

IRISH COMPOSER AND conductor Eimear Noone is to become the first-ever woman to conduct the orchestra at the Oscars.

She will take to the pit with the orchestra this coming 8 February. Noone will be one of two high-profile Irish women at the event, as Saoirse Ronan is nominated in the awards for her role in Little Women.

Noone, who is originally from Kilconnell in Galway but divides her time between Ireland and California, has had a long and successful career as a composer and conductor. Much of her work involves composing for video games, such as World of Warcraft and Zelda. She’s currently working on the Maria Callas hologram tour. She’s also a presenter of the video game show High Score on Classic FM.

In 2017, she told our sister site Fora.ie that she studied classical music in Trinity College Dublin, where she participated in the choir for what would become Metal Gear Solid.

But it wasn’t until she met Russell Brower, an Emmy award-winning composer who is involved with gaming giant Blizzard, that she began to work in the video game space.

Speaking to Variety, Noone said of her upcoming Oscars appearance: “The wonderful producers at the Oscars decided that they would like to finally see a female presence on the podium after all these years.”

She added: 

“Little girls everywhere will see this and say, ‘I think I’ll do that.’ That’s what we want.”

Female conductors

In 2017, the National Concert Hall in Dublin set up a new course specifically aimed at training female conductors.

“I always thought orchestral conducting is a very male-dominated world – it still is, and that’s why it’s great having a programme like this which are encouraging more women to get involved,” said one of the participants, Raeghnya Zutshi.

“If you still look at it on a global scale it’s still primarily male dominated. It’s nice to try and see how can we break in.”

Noone’s selection for the Oscars is yet another sign that things are changing when it comes to gender parity and conducting.

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