×

Oscars to Feature Female Orchestra Conductor for the First Time

Irish-born composer-conductor Eímear Noone will conduct excerpts from the five nominated scores.

A woman will be conducting at the Oscars for the first time on Sunday, Feb. 9, the Academy announced today.

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

Details beyond that are sketchy, sources indicated. It is not clear whether all five themes will be presented as a medley or separately, or whether the 42-piece Oscar orchestra will be onstage at the Dolby Theatre or in the pit.

Reached this morning in Dublin, Noone tells Variety: “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 praised Oscar musical director Rickey Minor as “an amazing kindred spirit who endeavors to elevate music and musicians at every possible turn.”

Minor is expected to conduct the rest of the show, as he did during his initial Oscar gig last year. “[How] generous he is, to hand over this incredibly poignant moment, as these [composers] are my heroes and she-roes, who will be sitting in the audience, whose music I get to interpret,” Noone adds.

Asked if, despite her long experience leading orchestras, she will find conducting the Oscars a nerve-wracking experience, she responds: “I’d be dead inside if I didn’t have any concerns. Luckily 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 always home for me. No matter what country I’m in or what concert hall, it doesn’t matter – the score is where my mind and my heart are.”

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

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

“It’s an honor to be there, to help normalize something that I do every day,” she notes. “Little girls everywhere will see this and say, ‘I think I’ll do that.’ That’s what we want.”

More Film

  • Pari

    Berlin: Siamak Etemadi on Finding His Path in Panorama Player 'Pari'

    Stunned to discover that her son has vanished while studying abroad in Athens, an Iranian woman sets off on a desperate search across the Greek capital to find him. Navigating a foreign and forbidding landscape, she’s forced to also travel deep within herself, uncovering buried truths and offering a chance for her own reinvention. “Pari” [...]

  • Cocoon of Stone

    Japan’s Wowow Makes Move Into Theatrical Releasing (EXCLUSIVE)

    Japanese pay-TV leader Wowow is to expand into theatrical releasing. The company made its theatrical buying debut this week at the Berlin Film Festival’s accompanying European Film Market. With linear channels and a movie-driven on-demand service, Wowow is already one of the leading consumers of movie content in Japan, and boasts 2.8 million subscribers. These [...]

  • Stormtroopers'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' film

    What Disney’s CEO Shake-Up Means for Its Movie Business

    After rocking a quiet Tuesday afternoon with news of leadership changes at the very top of the Walt Disney Corporation, attention has turned to respective divisions at the Hollywood superpower — and to what the side-stepping of Bob Iger and ascension of new CEO Bob Chapek might mean for the future. This includes Disney’s Goliath [...]

  • Jeremy Renner

    John Ottman Hosts Jeremy Renner, Michael Keaton, More at 'Aiding Australia' Benefit

    Film editor and composer John Ottman, who won an Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2019, hosted members of the film, television and music communities at the “Aiding Australia” charity dinner and concert held at his West Hollywood home on Sunday evening (Feb. 23). The benefit raised funds to help in the recovery of fire-ravaged Australia, [...]

  • Eric Bana The Dry

    Film News Roundup: Eric Bana Boards 'Mike the Bike' Motorcycle Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Eric Bana and Melissa Leo launch movie projects, Paradigm names four agents, Michael B. Jordan is being honored and Hilary Swank’s “Fatale” gets a release date. PROJECT LAUNCHES Eric Bana’s Pick Up Truck Pictures and Robert Connolly’s Arenamedia have secured rights to the “Mike the Bike” motorcycle story. Bana will [...]

  • A still from Miles Davis: Birth

    Film Editor Lewis Erskine on Finding the Rhythm for Miles Davis Doc 'Birth of the Cool'

    On-the-beat editing for the documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” comes courtesy of Lewis Erskine who brings rhythm to the images apace with that perfect flow of the jazz icon’s horn. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019 and earned a nomination at the NAACP’s 2020 Image Awards for outstanding documentary [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content