Advanced Search Module


Close Search

The Conductor (De Dirigent)



Original Language: Dutch | 256 pp. | October 2019

2 Seas represents World excl Dutch rights

Rights sold: Germany (Hoffmann & Campe, in a pre-empt), France (Leduc.s/Charleston, at auction), Italy (Longanesi, at auction), Spain (Duomo), Brazil (Planeta, in a pre-empt)

For the fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Hidden Figures

English sample available

Watch the movie trailer here


Timely and relevant. — NRC Handelsblad

In these times of #MeToo and discussions on the glass ceiling, Peters brings a fascinating woman from history back to our attention and gives us the right story at the right time. — de Volkskrant

Whoever thinks that we’ve come a long way over the past 100 years, had better realise that the first fe-male conductor of Radio Philharmonic Orchestra was appointed in 2019. — Trouw

When Maria Peters started working on The Conductor thirteen years ago, she could not have fathomed how relevant it would be today. Antonia Brico was at least a century ahead of her time. —

The Conductor is based on the engrossing life story of Antonia Brico, the world’s first successful female conductor. A captivating tale of ambition, love and courage, set in early 20th century Amsterdam, Berlin and New York.

Willy Wolters has a dream: to become a world-renowned orchestra conductor. But there is one problem: Willy is a woman. In 1926, women were rarely allowed to enrol at the conservatory to study a musical instrument, let alone study conducting. But Willy is determined. She has a side job at the Royal Concert Hall, spends hours behind her piano every day and searches tirelessly for a conducting teacher.

Under her new name Antonia Brico, Willy sets off from Amsterdam to Berlin and eventually New York. Her journey introduces her to a great many new people, including the immensely wealthy and attractive Frank Thompson, who is well-connected in the music world. At first, the two can’t stand each other, but the more they run into each other, the more they realise their mutual affection. In the meantime, Willy’s efforts are finally paying off. But if she decides to chase her dreams, she’ll have to leave Frank behind.

Maria Peters (1958) is a Dutch film producer, director and screenwriter. She created various golden and platinum films, including Kruimeltje, Pietje Bell and Sonny Boy. After filming The Conductor, the story of Antonia Brico continued to fascinate her, which led her to turn her screenplay into a novel.