Shock my socks off: They wear sneakers in the Vienna Philharmonic

Shock my socks off: They wear sneakers in the Vienna Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

January 03, 2014

I’m ashamed to say the orchestral footwear theme has taken off like … veruccas. The conductor Jesper Nordin has found that the Vienna Phil strays far from the traditional path in some of its concerts. Nix to Nikes, we say. More to follow.

mtt vienna phil nikes.

By the way, we hear the Scottish Chamber Orchestra are strikingly well-shod. Pics, anyone?



  • Sophia Welz says:

    This deserves a blog all of its own!

  • Not strictly relevant but there is a jazz shoes photo archive run by a gentleman called Jože Požrl from Divaca in Slovenia

  • Benedict Lea says:

    Dear Norman,

    this picture is actually me! I was on tour very shortly after an accident where I totally ruptured my achilles tendon and it was simply impossible to get into anything else. I’d just had the cast taken off and it was very painful still; I remember wearing white stripes so that people would see better because the thought of someone accidentally kicking me was too much!

    Best regards,

    Benedict Lea

  • Lisa Fogler says:

    OK so there you have it folks! At least Ben had a good reason for wearing Nike’s. But, there is never a good excuse for wearing white tube socks!

  • Looks like the 2nd flutist is the only woman in the pic — another daring orchestral gesture…

  • Benedict Lea says:

    No, not the only one, but this was also many years ago. The orchestra has changed a lot since this picture was taken

    • It’s true, Lea, that the orchestra has made progress since 2007 and has changed notably — though I would be cautious about saying it has changed a lot. For the first ten years after the orchestra agreed to admit women, no non-harpist women were hired. Since 2007 the rate of hiring women has been close to international normals — a VERY welcome and notable change that gives cause for hope.

  • Fantastic to have a story to go with the pic now, so many years later.The internet is an incredible place!

  • Alexandra Eldin-Taylor says:

    I couldn’t do anything well unless in high heels. Men do not have to wear heels but you will play better in good shoes.

  • A.A says:

    ” better listen than look.

    honestly, who cares??? ”

    unfortunately there are so many people who are living in a superficial world …..

    you are not there to judge, you are there to enjoy the work of those musicians … honestly …. come on!