Not a woman's job? I proved them wrong

The Divertimento Symphony Orchestra in Paris, conducted by Zahia Ziouani

Samantha David talks to Zahia Ziouani about being in charge of an orchestra and taking classical music into prisons

Zahia Ziouani is the artistic director and conductor of the Divertimento Symphony Orchestra in Paris. As a woman, that makes her a member of a very select club, but as a young woman (39) of Algerian extraction, that makes her unique.

Even more remarkably, she founded Divertimento twenty years ago when she had only just finished her musical training. She has, among others, conducted the National Orchestra of Algeria, the National Orchestra of the Pays de la Loire, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Symphony Orchestra of Cairo, and has worked with numerous famous soloists and orchestras as far flung as Poland and Mexico.

She is also the director of the Stains School of Music and Dance in Seine-Saint-Denis and in 2008, she received the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and in 2014, the Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Her work schedule is hectic, so when we caught up with her it was fascinating to hear her views on families, prisoners and ...

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