There is only one woman I know of who could never be a symphony conductor, and that’s the Venus de Milo.

– Margaret Hillis

(1921 – 1998) American conductor. She was the founder and first director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.

  • James Koenig

    She was magnificent!!!  While at Northwestern I had the privilege of studying conducting with her and doing independent study in score analysis.  She was the greatest influence on my musical life as a musician and singer.  First was the conducting class– over 100 had signed up and 8 were to conduct, chosen by audition.  I didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in hell.  But I did the audition and got to conduct.  I always remember singing in a concert with her and seeing her in her conducting gown.  I said “You look nice Miss Hillis.”  She responded  ”Just my overalls!”  I still have my notebook from the conducting class that had to be turned in and graded.  She wrote in it:  ”A++ Can I have a copy of this?”
    I wouldn’t have traded that for my diplomas!

    • elena

      Thank you for the wonderful testimony, James!