How few women in today’s Vienna Phil?

We didn’t watch the New Year’s Day concert, but reliable observers counted five.

Just five.

That’s fewer than recent years and contrary to the orchestra’s recent pledges of gradual reform.

This is an orchestra that has discrimination written into its DNA, into its everyday attitudes.

The reason to be concerned about its Nazi past is that nothing much has changed.

vienna phil pose

 

 

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  • Carl says:

    I am appalled by that. It is time to boycott this orchestra , and focus now on it s Nazi past rather than celebrating their ( questionable ) musical achievements.

  • beckmesser says:

    Yeah, this is so old and tired. I’ve never seen someone with such a grudge.

    • sdReader says:

      OK. So how do *you* explain an orchestra in 2015 with 5 women players?

      • Greg Oswald says:

        Quality.

        • sdReader says:

          Is your wife watching?

          • Greg Oswald says:

            You read me wrong – if you read me at all. I assume the Vienna Philharmonic wants the best players – and unlike you guys, they’re not totally obsessed with what the players have between their legs. So that’s my answer. Please tell me when the VPO appointed the poorer candidate because he was a man – I’m willing to change my mind.

        • NYMike says:

          Quality?? I guess the Royal Concertgebouw, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, NY Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, etc. HAVE NO QUALITY!

      • Stereo says:

        The reason there are so many ladies in British orchestras is because salaries are so bad,therefore men would not consider them enough to support a family. VPO salaries encourage real competition as do most American orchestra salaries.
        If women are the best candidates they will get the jobs.

        • william osborne says:

          The personnel of The Zurich State Opera, The National Orchestra of France, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz is over 40% women. They have no quality problems and the ratio of women among new hires is almost 1 to 1 while in the VPO it is 10 to 1. Why do women compete better for these orchestras than for the VPO?

          • Max Grimm says:

            Can you give us a number of how many men vs women apply for any given vacancy in the VSO/VPO and what the breakdown is after candidates were selected and invited to auditions?

          • william osborne says:

            Only the VSO/VPO can supply those numbers. It is telling they have remained silent about that. We know other important facts. Women on average represent about 70% the high string classes at Vienna’s University of Music. The numbers are similar for some of the wood wind classes. And yet men have outnumbered women by 10 to 1 in new hires in the VPO.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    VPO past… BIG problem… Neo Nazi present? Not a word against it…
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-25571805

  • BVIOLINISTIC says:

    Why such antaganism? The orchestra currently has 12 women players, a number that will inevitably increase in the future (and rightfully so). Six of them played which is about right given that half the orchestra were not on stage today because an entire orchestra is required for the performance of Die Fledermaus in the opera (last night). The other six ladies played there. As for naziism amongst the current members, I would imagine (though we have not met, Mr Lebrecht) that they are about as much nazi as you are (or are not). Do you base your dislike on knowing individual members?

    • BVIOLINISTIC says:

      Please understand Mr Lebrecht, I mean you no disrespect and I am a guest on your blog. I can imagine that there are one or perhaps two members of the orchestra who you dislike because of comments they made many years ago. I was refering to musicians who make up today’s VPO and who are trying their best.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        There’s nothing personal in it. I have good contacts with several VPO members and animus towards none.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        There’s nothing personal in it. I have good contacts with several VPO members and animus towards none. I would like them to obey the law and conform to civilised practice.

  • MacroV says:

    I don’t recall previous years, but this is the first time I’ve seen a woman (piccolo) in the wind section. By my rough count on the VPO website there are 8 women who are now regular members of the VPO. Make of that what you will.

    • Mike M. says:

      OK, maybe only five or six women on stage, but two of them, the second flute & piccolo player Karin Bonelli and the harpist Anneleen Lenaerts stole the show.

    • sdReader says:

      5, 6, 12, 8. Why don’t they annually publish the rosters of the Philharmonic and the whole State Opera Orchestra, so the world can see?

    • Anon says:

      Hi, Makrov. You’ve right. That was VPO’s 1st female piccolo player. Her name is Karin Bonelli, she won a very competitive audition for the position of 2nd flute with VPO about 2 yrs ago and is now coming thru the ranks & is in her 2nd yr. of probation as a member of Vienna State Opera. If she makes it thru the next year, she will be the 1st tenured female member of the VPO in the wind/brass or perc sections in history.

      She played on last yr’s New Year’s Concert but was given a minor role – section flute on just one or 2 pieces. For a probationary player to be placed in the spotlight, as she was on solo piccolo last night is a daring move on VPO’s part. Karin was not hired specifically as a piccolo player. That job, esp. in a concert of such importance as a televised New Year’s program, would invariably go to a senior player, the tenured piccolo soloist of the VPO.

      For whatever reason, Karin played this important part, not him. Her performance could have made or broken the whole concert, that’s how big a deal the solo piccolo part is on Strauss concerts. The VPO took a big chance on her and as we all saw she came thru splendidly! This tells me a lot about how VPO really regards women players and it’s in their favor.

      Maybe there are still outward appearance of racism, sexism, etc, but when they take a woman into their orch. it’s clear from Karin’s assignment on this program, that they are treated as trusted, highly regarded members of the orchestra. They are not hiding Karin in the back of the section because she’s a woman,counting on her token appearance as a female to placate criticism. They are entrusting her with big parts, putting her in the spotlight, and treating her with the equality they would a male player.

      This is progress, to me, and Karin Bonelli is proving worthy of their trust. She’s a promising young player with a great future. I hope VPO continues to recognize this!

  • Petros Linardos says:

    “Nothing much has changed?” Since when? I don’t get it. Please explain. Thank you and happy new year.

  • Andrew Condon says:

    I reckon there were 6, not 5: 1 each of 1st violin, 2nd violin, viola, cello, flute/picc and harp

    • Max Grimm says:

      It doesn’t matter whether there were 5 or 6 or all 12. Even if there had been 50 tenured women members playing on stage, we’d probably hear some here berating the VPO for the shameful lack of, oh I don’t know, lesbian single mothers from Swaziland with an upbringing in a non-musical, working class environment…

      • AnnaT says:

        Yes, criticizing the VPO for its well-known resistance to admitting women to its ranks, and retaining them there – women of any background, ie, roughly 50% of the population – is the same thing as creating an arbitrary list of characteristics and orientations and demanding equal representation for all possible combinations thereof. The very same thing! *end sarcasm

        • Max Grimm says:

          One can justly criticize but I’m sorry to say that this constant criticism serves little purpose. TIME WILL TELL! And it seems to me that the most ardent critics of the VPO’s hiring practices expect things to change within a year or two. Look at the available vacancies available in the VPO and the average age of the orchestra. It will unfortunately take decades for numbers to potentially change and for anyone to know if the VPO really did change it ways or not. Until then, the constant lamenting of the absence of women is merely flogging a dead horse.

          • sdReader says:

            Obviously you don’t know the first thing about fighting discrimination. Hint: it isn’t to do nothing.

          • JayPee says:

            I guess firing half of the orchestra would be your solution, right?

          • william osborne says:

            In the 17 years since the VPO agreed to admit women, it has replaced over half the orchestra, but women still only represent about 6% of the personnel. By international standards for women among new hires, about 15 to 20%% of the orchestra personnel should now be women.

            I have noticed that the VPO’s employment of women loses momentum when it faces less pressure. Hence the need for continued scrutiny.

      • Stereo says:

        Well said!

  • Alain Louy says:

    Celà tourne à l’obsession maladive!

  • Alain Louy says:

    Est-ce la langue française qui est censurée ou mon commentaire ?

  • beckmesser says:

    Nothing the members of the orchestra or their leadership say on the matter is enough to console NL on this issue. I think it would be interesting and instructive to ask someone like Zubin Mehta what he thinks of the orchestra. He is an honorary member of the group, but independent enough, and a man of integrity and professionalism. Or ask Riccardo Muti, who led a New Year’s concert in 2003 or 4. Same. Would these men corroborate this story of a rotten orchestra with hatred and bigotry at its core? I doubt it.

    • another musician says:

      In interviews Zubin Mehta claims that having been with the Israel Philharmonic for so long, he now has an orchestra made up of musicians he personally chose. Considering that I can only count one woman principal in the entire IPO, I would first ask him about that number, and how does one separate that number from hi.s Viennese professional training.

    • william osborne says:

      Actually, Muti shares a history of gender discrimination with the VPO. In the summer of 1979, my wife, the well-known trombonist, Abbie Conant, who was first trombone of the Munich Philharmonic for 13 years, won the audition for the Maggio Musicale in Florence. Mr. Muti, however, vetoed her employment, an authority given him since he was the GMD, even though he was not present at the audition. He was in Philadelphia on that day where he was also GMD at the time. The orchestra’s management telephoned Mr. Muti in Philadelphia and told him about the audition results. He vetoed hiring Abbie with the explanation that there were already too many women in the orchestra. The orchestra thus hired the man who came in second, Jeff Haigh, who now plays in the State Opera in Mannheim. Two years later Jeff met Abbie in Germany and apologized even though it wasn’t his fault. Jeff clearly felt the whole situation was an outrage, as did many members of the orchestra.

      Mr. Muti was on the jury that recently granted the VPO the one million dollar Birgit Nielson Prize. It’s likely that Muti’s long association with the VPO shaped his sexist views at the time. I had hoped he had changed since 1979, but like every other major conductor in the world, he has steadfastly remained silent about the VPO’s sexist and racist bigotry. The VPO sets a horrible example for the musical world that over the decades rippled out to people like Muti. This is another reason that the orchestra’s slow change is a very positive development for classical music. Its bad example is being eliminated, even if slowly.

  • Stereo says:

    Well said. NL’s obsession with this subject is getting rather boring. Better the VPO anytime than Rieu or Bocelli!

  • Peter Sallis says:

    Norman Lebrecht is right: the VPO is still influenced by Nazi ideas and as such needs to be boycotted until they conform .
    We cannot let them get away with it.
    [redacted: class libel]

    • John Borstlap says:

      According to my Viennese spies, there are three vegetarians in the VPO, two (male) members who love and keep big dogs, and a majority that abstains from smoking cigars. We know that Hitler had comparable sympathies. So, the only solution for the VPO to escape New Year’s Bashing is to turn, over time, into an all-female, cigar-smoking, meat-eating and dog-hating orchestra.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        You nailed it, Mr. B. You just forgot one thing: Hitler really liked classical music. So the WPh should also stop playing any kind of classical music.

  • Bviolinistic says:

    Indeed, all the information about who is employed and what their status is (Staatsoper or VPO) has always been readily available for public scrutiny.

  • JayPee says:

    What you won’t read on this blog:

    There are less African-Americans in the five best American orchestras than women in the Vienna Philharmonic.

    The Vienna Philharmonic will give 100 000 euros from this new year’s concert profits to the caritative organization Licht in Dunkel.

    What you will soon read on this blog:

    The Vienna Philharmonic plays at the Musikverein. The word “musikverein” contains 11 letters. Same number as in “adolf hitler”. Coincidence? I think not.

  • william osborne says:

    It’s interesting that among the blogs for professionals in classical music, the condemnation of the VPO is almost unanimous, but that here on SD many classical music fans use the cover of anonymity to defend the orchestra and discount its discriminatory employment practices.

    It is also interesting that there are wiki articles about the VPO in 29 languages, but the only one that doesn’t mention the orchestra’s sexism and racism is the one in German.
    As the discussion section for the article shows, some have tried to include information on the topic, but it has been consistently deleted. There seems to still be a good deal of denial on this topic in the German-speaking world, including that the Berlin Phil has the 3rd lowest ratio of women in the world. Even “VivaVoce,” the advocacy journal published in Germany for women in classical music, has never printed an article about the VPO’s exclusion of women.

    • John Borstlap says:

      ANY organisation, be it a corporation, club, orchestra or rabbit breeding Verein, is free to constitute their membership and if they don’t like to work / to be with the opposite sex, like Italian women mandoline orchestras or London gentlemen clubs, or gay community dance nights, they are free to exercise their preferences. Any freedom that is forced upon people is not freedom at all but totalitarian. PC culture seems to have turned into conformist authoritarianism.

      An orchestra is already cum facto discriminative because it only allows membership to musicians.

  • Jim says:

    How many Muslims do they have? Hindi? Gay? Transgender people? Chinese? African? Maori? Dwarves? Refugees? Ukelele players? Palestinians (or maybe we don’t go there) C’mon NL, it’s time you really stood up for a properly inclusive orchestra.
    Or maybe let’s just acknowledge that this is one of the truly wonderful ensembles of the last century. Warts and all.

    • william osborne says:

      The Instanbul Phil has a fairly high ratio of women. Perhaps that Muslim country could send a delegation to the Vienna Phil to help them with integrating women….

      • Bviolinistic says:

        And yet the principal conductor of that orchestra is Mr Sascha Götzel, a Viennese violinist who tried more than once to audition for the Vienna orchestra (unsuccessfully, despite the fact that his father, Professor Peter Götzel, was a first violinist with the VPO for his whole career).

  • Greg Oswald says:

    Did a quick count on the Berlin Phil homepage, and noticed 19 female players. So if 12 female musicians make the Vienna Phil 100% racist, sexist and nazi, 19 makes the Berlin Phil a little less, but still – should we say 88% racist, sexist and nazi?

    • Olaugh Turchev says:

      Yeah but since it’s the beloved Rattle at its helm, all is gooood, regardless of the average music making coming out of Berlin under his baton.

  • wundertier says:

    What a nonsense. What a waste of time. This blog has become completely useless, and no one can possibly believe Mr Lebrecht when he says: “There’s nothing personal in it.” Every single post on Vienna Phil proves the opposite. What a bigotry from someone on the payroll of Sinfini. In order to restore his credibility, he should ask Sinfini to ban all Vienna Phil recordings…then he should force Sinfini to feature ethnic minorities and women composers only…also, he should ask Sinfini how many female employees they have – and if they do not “obey the law”, he should boycot Sinfini with a grand gesture. He should open all his sources of income, and prove to us that nothing is linked to discriminating institutions. He should no longer interview any artist that does not share his positions. He should point at all the injustices of the (musical) world and fight them with all his journalistic (tabloid?) power. And once all this is achieved, he can call this blog: I AM THE ONE AND ONLY ROBESPIERRE.

  • Pandora says:

    Are there any scientific studies out there, about differences in playing techniques and instrument specific articulation, bowing, breathing etc. regarding differences between the sexes?
    Because it seems there could be said differences, e.g. a less physically involved bowing technique for string instruments in the average of women compared to men. It certainly looks like it sometimes, looking at string sections with lots of women compared to string sections that only contain men.
    After all nobody would question that there are physical differences, also mental ones, between men and women. In sports nobody sees a problem to separate men and women.
    So maybe in music – of course it is not sports, but it also has a very strong physical aspect – there are similar effects?
    Can we have a rational discussion about that or is it forbidden to discuss this, due to prevailing ideologies of gender “mainstreaming”?

    • Bviolinistic says:

      Women are in no way different to men as musicians. If you have seen orchestras with lots of women not playing as well as orchestras with men, then it is simply the quality of the orchestra that is to blame. One can either play well or not.

  • Caroline Brown says:

    While the VPO continue to keep women out, I would be interested to know whether the orchestra is still considered internationally to be artistically on a more superior level as compared to other great orchestras around the world who do have a balanced number of men and women?

  • Andrew Condon says:

    I hope someone out there actually enjoyed the concert as much as I did – and for Mr Osborne’s benefit I am a music lover and admirer of the VPO who has never been anonymous on this blog. For anyone with ears to hear and any sort of musical sensibility, the VPO – especially in this repertoire – are in a class of their own. Contrary to views expressed above they do not play all this stuff on autopilot – it was obvious to me the very close interaction between players and conductor. Lets all put the music first for once. I thought Mr Varga’s cello solo in the Suppe was world class. No one has commented on the fact that as he is 65 in August this was probably Prof Kuchl’s last New Year concert as concertmaster – a very fine player who I’m sure will be much missed – remarkable that

    • Andrew Condon says:

      .. he has held this position since he was 21

      • Bviolinistic says:

        I thoroughly enjoyed the concert! I agree that Mr Varga is a world class musician. As for concertmaster Mr Küchl, it has not yet been decided if he will recieve an extra year (due to the fact that nobody played well enough at the concertmaster audition (his replacement) in November last year, and the position was not filled). When he does retire he will indeed be missed!

        • Bviolinistic says:

          And the concert was made even more enjoyable for me by the playing of Alina Pinchas (first violin), Patricia Koll (second violin), Ursula Ruppe (viola), Ursula Wex (‘cello), Anneleen Lenaerts (harp) and Karin Bonelli (Flute and piccolo).

  • Ellingtonia says:

    There are many things that I would disagree with NL on regarding music but I am 100% behind him in highlighting the blatant gender and racial discrimination practiced by the Vienna Philharmonic. If they believe that women don’t play as well as men why the hell do they ever invite female soloists………..or could it be something to do with money?

    • BVIOLINISTIC says:

      ??? Women are welcomed by the VPO. Nobody from that orchestra has said anything to the contrary (not recently anyway!) and that is because things really are changing.

      • william osborne says:

        The resistance against women has decreased, but it did not pop like a soap bubble. It still exists though in a weaker form. The racism against Asians continues.

        • Bviolinistic says:

          Mr Osborne, are you aware that a Japanese man was accepted to audition for the recent concertmaster position? It is sad that nobody played well enough to win.

          • william osborne says:

            For the last 40 years about a quarter to a third of the students at Vienna’s University of Music have been Asian. Many remain active in Austria after graduating and deeply absorb Austrian styles. The orchestra claims that none of these people have been qualified to enter the orchestra. Over a 40 year period, it strains credibility. Still, I believe the orchestra is changing and am hoping the first fully Asian person with an Asian family name will enter within the next few years. Unfortunately, we must continue to scrutinize the orchestra until this happens. I wish the younger generation in the orchestra, which is now sizable, all good success with this.

        • Greg Oswald says:

          You sound like a Swede. Every time the world isn’t what they like, people are racist, sexist, nazi or whatever bad adjective they can gurgle up. Save us the boredom, be a man, grow up.

  • william osborne says:

    It is against both Austrian and EU law for organizations that receive public funding to discriminate on the basis of race or gender.

    • Andrew R. Barnard says:

      William,

      Like you, I don’t think discrimination should go on in orchestra hiring. However, in what way can it be proven that this is happening in the Vienna Philharmonic? I am aware that the orchestra has had a prejudice against women members, as the entire musical world did at one point. Lately they have made a point to have blind audition and have hired more women. It must be noted that the many members of the orchestra are older. Should the orchestra fire male members to make room for women? Is that your proposed solution?

      And frankly, why does more men in an orchestra automatically signal discrimination. Perhaps more men what the job. Perhaps more of the suitable candidates are men. Should the Vienna Philharmonic put hiring women ahead of the most suited candidates musically?

      • william osborne says:

        A considerable majority of the students at Vienna’s University of Music are women. In the high strings and some of the wood winds its about 70%, and yet men have been about 10 times as likely to win auditions since the orchestra opened its doors to women in 1997.

        There is no need to follow specious (and corny) suggestions about firing men to make places for women. Orchestras actually have fairly high turn over rates. The average tenure is about 30 years, so about 5% of the personnel is replaced each year, or about a third of the personnel each decade. That’s why the VPO has replaced over half its members since 1997. That means about 70 members since 1997, but there are only 7 women in the VPO — a 10 to 1 ratio that is far below the international norm of 2 to 1. The VPO’s rates have improved a bit since 2007, but are now slowing again.

        • Andrew R. Barnard says:

          William,

          If you don’t want to see the male members fired, then you must acknowledge that this is a very slow process. To assume that the orchestra would instantly jump from not admitting women to admitting as many as other orchestras seems a little unfair. Two decades isn’t that long.

          Some commenters around here have raised an interesting point. Considering all the press people like Norman and yourself give to the discrimination, wouldn’t women be less likely to want to join?

          In order to have any proof of discrimination, I’d have to see reliable evidence that there are women auditioning who are more musically capable than male competitors. So far, no one has shown me any. And frankly, as someone who listens to recordings, both the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics have a higher quality musically than any other orchestra in the world. If they were turning down the world’s best musicians, one would think their quality would rapidly decrease, as other orchestras would gain these great musicians. That simply hasn’t been happening.

          • william osborne says:

            I just spelled out why we see discrimination in the VPO, but you don’t see it. The nature of bigotry is that it can’t see the truth even when its standing right in front of them. So once again, since opening its doors to women in 1997, the VPO has hired women at a rate of 10 to 1 while the international average in top orchestras is 2 to 1. Austrian women receive excellent musical educations. Even in Austria they are hired at a 2 to 1 ratio except for the VPO. Now go ahead, deny, deny, deny.

          • william osborne says:

            I should add that since 2007 the hiring ratios for the VPO have notably improved. This is a trend created by younger members and that colleagues around the world hope will continue.

        • Gerhard says:

          I play with a smaller orchestra in Germany, and we have only three positions in my section. Currently we are one woman and two men. I’m the one closest to retirement, so my position will be coming up for audition in the foreseeable future. Experience tells that we can expect about roughly two thirds to three quarters of the applications to come from female candidates, and like in the past we are prepared to send out invitations in pretty much the same proportion. So mathematically chances are between 2:1 and 3:1 that my successor will be a woman, which would be fine for everyone. But as it has happened before, there is still a risk that a male candidate might win the audition against all statistical odds, which then would be statistically sufficient proof of our discrimination against women, of course. We can’t have this for sure. Perhaps you could enlighten me about the politically correct way to avoid it. Should we just simply not invite any male applicants at all to be on the safe side?

          • william osborne says:

            I assume you meant your comment to be a parody. One instance in one section is obviously not a statistical proof of anything. The 10 to 1 ratio in the VPO stands in contrast to the 2:1 or 3:1 norm for top orchestras and clearly raises concerns. In the first ten years after agreeing to hire women, the VPO did not take any outside of harpists. It has been hard for them to change. Hence the tenuous hope given by their more recent stats since 2007.

  • Bviolinistic says:

    And before anyone asks, no asian women applied for the position…

  • Daniel Farber says:

    Do any of you folks actually have a JOB to go to?

  • Bviolinistic says:

    Well said. Karin Bonelli is most certainly a valued member of the orchestra!

  • Bviolinistic says:

    (Comment directed to Anon)

  • Ben says:

    The mere fact that, even at this level, there is even a tinge of sexism and racism at this level in Vienna and abroad is certainly quite telling. In Chicago and elsewhere, where there are screens to the very end, even the audition to the very end during the in-the-orchestra probationary period should be proof enough. This, even setting aside the racism/sexism argument!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Andrew R. Barnard says:

    William,

    There are serious holes your logic that you are yet to address. We know that a considerable majority of the students at Vienna’s University of Music are women, as you say. But are a considerable majority of the candidates auditioning for the Vienna Philharmonic women? I’m not sure why the one fact logically leads into the next.

    The idea of discrimination is that skin color or gender is used to determine one’s credentials. If more men are being chosen for the Vienna Philharmonic than women, this proves nothing. Perhaps the men auditioning have more credentials! Perhaps the most talented women would rather play elsewhere.

    Do know what would be very sad? I’d hate to see the Vienna Philharmonic go out of it’s way to hire women simply to hire women, regardless of respective musical talent. The number one concern is that the most musically suitable players are chosen. If they are 90% women, go for it, but if they are 90% male, go for that too.

    I’ll ask the question again: can you cite obviously qualified women who audition for the job and are turned down in favor of less qualified males? That would be discrimination, but is it happening? Lazy citing of percentage figures isn’t the same as substantive proof.

    Again, are you more concerned about enforcing quotas or about seeing musical quality? I love the Vienna Phil for its amazing sound, one that, along with the Berlin Phil, puts it on the highest field in the orchestral world, at least as my ears hear it. More than anything else, I want to have that sound continue. I could hardly care less if the most qualified players are male or female. I’m looking for musical excellence.

    • Max Grimm says:

      +1
      I too would like to see either the percentage of women applying and being invited to audition or the percentage of women (out of the quoted 70% making up the music students in Vienna) wish/ed to join the ranks of the VPO. Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit!
      At the present, I see more of one man’s latent dislike for many things Austrian & German interlaced with his views on the subject and another man’s often less than objective views, coupled with at times doubtful or outright illogical interpretations of percentages and statistics.

    • Andrew Condon says:

      Quite so. And I would suspect that the standard required to successfully audition for Wiener Staatsoper/VPO is as high as anywhere in the world in that they are are primarily an opera orchestra and a part time symphony orchestra. As a violinist wanting to join Berlin, New York, Chicago or wherever you have you concertos and standard excerpts at the ready (eg Don Juan, Mozart 39, Schumann 2 etc) but for Vienna I would suspect you need to know the difficult bits of the Ring (e.g. last few pages of Die Walkure) plus the difficult bits in Strauss (eg most of Elektra), Janacek and Berg as well which takes the standard required to a fairly stratospheric level.

    • Olaugh Turchev says:

      Bravo. Under the guise of saving classical music, they lay cleansing campaigns against certain organizations or people introducing notions external to music making in order to legitimize their enterprises: gender, sexual orientation, skin colour quotas and/or chastise some for driving away potential audiences by simply requesting respect during a performance. The difference of treatment between the anointed and others during such incidents is revealing.
      I sympathize with Mr. Osborne’s wife misfortune with regard to the Muti incident as in that case the best musician was not chosen. However it is not a reason to replace that prejudice with another one through quotas.

  • rambonito says:

    I heard about auditions in Vienna where they prefered to take the woman at the end because it was happening at a time when a polemic came out about this gender discussion.

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

    In an article in the New York Times of July 27, 2005, it is reported that out of the 33 members of the violin section, 20 are women. The orchestra, at that time, had to contend with charges of bias against men! Mr. Lebrecht needs to search for another hobby horse. His present one is crumbling under the substantial weight of fatigue.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      If the article is referring to the Vienna Philharmonic, is it either untrue or referring to non-members of the orch who were co-opted on tour for window-dressing. There have never been 20 women violinists in the VPO. Do try to separate fact from prejudice.

      • Max Grimm says:

        His facts are quite right Norman. He didn’t however include the name of the orchestra he was referring to (New York Philharmonic).
        Here’s the article mentioned:
        http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/26/arts/26iht-violin.html?_r=0

      • Steven Taub says:

        “Do try to separate fact from prejudice.”
        Well said Mr. Lebrecht.
        But one would expect then a more balanced view of the VPO and the BPO then , as the only stories we hever hear about them here are negative ones.

        • norman lebrecht says:

          Untrue. You will find several articles giving the VPhil point of view.

          • BVIOLINISTIC says:

            Mr Lebrecht, would you please post some links to some of these articles? Please, only if they include more positive reports from the small improvements that are slowly being made over the last decade as everything else has little to do with what the orchestra is today; ie a group of talented young players who are suncerely trying to improve the situation.

  • Kyril Magg says:

    The incoming Principal Flutist of the Vienna Philharmonic is female. Any great orchestra must realize that it is at a competitive disadvantage if it ignores 51% of the potential talent pool by favoring male hiring. Of course, things are slow to change: if a male member of the orchestra was hired 30 years ago under different cultural biases, he can’t suddebly become female in order to satisfy newly improvied gender equality standards. Do any of you people really go to a concert in order to count the number of women seated on stage in front of you?

  • Anon says:

    Mr. Magg, you are mistaken. The Vienna Philharmonic has no incoming female Principal Flute. Perhaps you are thinking of the Vienna SYMPHONY which is a completely different organization. Vienna Symphony recently contracted the Italian Silvia Careddu as Principal Flute.

    What the Vienna Philharmonic DOES have, in case you haven’t been following here, is a young woman on probation for the position of 2nd flute. She’s been there for almost 2 yrs now and appeared in the New Year’s Concert. She is not incoming nor is she Principal.

    • Kyril Magg says:

      A lot of assumptions are flying around here, including mine. A colleague of mine in a German orchestra gave me the “information” about the VPO Principal Flute chair, which was evidently mistaken. I apologize. However, as to my ability to differentiate between Viennese orchestras, my father was the Principal Cellist of the Vienna Symphony at the age of 20. I was a colleague of Jasmine Choi (who was previously discussed at great length in this blog) in the Cincinnati Symphony, before her appointment to that same orchestra — so I have “been following here.” By addressing only the first sentence of my post, you have not diminished the remaining 85%, which stands unaffected.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Indeed! Maybe a silent VPO would stop the bashing.

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