Galway’s Eimear Noone to be first woman conductor at Oscars

Galway’s Eimear Noone to be first woman conductor at Oscars
Eimear Noone

Irish composer and conductor Eimear Noone will become the first woman to conduct at the Oscars in February.

Galway native 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.

Noone told 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.”

She also said she would be wishing fellow Irish nominee Saoirse Ronan success at the Oscars, tweeting: “I'm a huge @saoirse_ronan fan, keeping my fingers crossed for her this year…”

It is not clear whether the five nominated themes (Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) 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.

Noone moved to Los Angeles in 20014 and has worked on almost 30 film and video-game titles. She is married to a US composer, Craig Stuart Garfinkle, and the couple have two children. They live in Malibu.

Noone’s first love was video game music, and her first job was with Blizzard-owned World of Warcraft. She told the Irish Examiner in 2016: “When I was in school, my job didn’t exist so it was my passion for orchestral music that led me to my first job on World of Warcraft.

“Seeing the cinematics for that game, that’s what really made me want to go into video game music — it was just overwhelming. They were beautiful.”

She added: “Huge, bombastic scores that require a giant orchestra and choirs — I’m like a kid in a candy store. I’ve followed my love of the orchestra to its most unimaginable conclusion.”

Noone also had an interesting take on the intersection of video gaming and orchestral music, saying: “People are listening to more orchestral music through their consoles that people have ever listened to symphonic music in history...World of Warcraft alone has had more than 100 million players and all of those players are listening to orchestral music on a daily basis.”

The Oscars take place in Hollywood on Sunday, Feb 9.

Why are there not more female conductors?

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