Vienna Philharmonic prepares to meet a woman conductor

The French baroque conductor Emmanuelle Haïm, who is directing the Vienna Phil at the Lucerne Festival, has been talking about the melting ice-cap:

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‘The conducting world is not easy for a woman, and certain situations are more difficult than others. Definitely, when I am asked by an orchestra to conduct them, I want to make sure that the request comes from the players of the orchestra, that it’s not imposed on them, and that they want to have this kind of experience. Because if not, then I’m not interested in coming; I’m not interested in fighting when I already have plenty of things to do. You also have to accept, as a conductor, that not everybody is going to like you, and this might not be because you are a woman. I try not to think about it and come as I am: I happen to be a woman.

‘Also, I think society is changing and progressing. If we think back, when my father died when I was five, women in France were just allowed to have a bank account, sign a contract, or make a cheque on their own. That seems to us extraordinary, no? So, I think the lives of tomorrow’s generations are really going to be quite different. The young people are building a new model and I’m just one of those who are perhaps opening the big doors for the future, which I don’t think men are against.’

More here.

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  • “…when I was five, women in France were just allowed to have a bank account, sign a contract, or make a cheque on their own.”

    When was Mrs. Haïm born…in the late 1870s? As far as I was aware, women in France have been allowed to open a bank account in their own name since 1881 and allowed to open a bank account without their husbands’ consent since 1886.

      • To be precise, married women couldn’t open a bank account without the consent of their husband. They were considered as minors and couldn’t sue in court, sign a contract, work, etc. without their husband accepting it. Those rules were relaxed in 1938, and disappeared in 1965. Unmarried women, or widows, didn’t suffer from the same restrictions. Strangely though, adultery was considered a misdemeanour, whereby the wife could face jail time, and the husband only a fine. This monstrosity was abolished only in 1975.

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