No women’s changing rooms were planned for NY Philharmonic

No women’s changing rooms were planned for NY Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2016

A reminiscence from cellist Evangeline Benedetti, one of the first two women to gain tenure in the New York Philharmonic:

When Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center was built, they were certain that there would be no women in the orchestra.  Fortunately, they were wrong, but they built no dressing rooms for women. Therefore when Orin O’Brien, the first tenured woman, and I, the second, won our respective auditions and were admitted to the orchestra, they originally solved the problem by having us change into our orchestral black costumes in a public women’s bathroom.  They just put lockers in there. Finally after a few years and more women came aboard, they built a dressing room for us. I suppose they realised women were here to stay.

Read more here. Evangeline has a new book out at OUP.



  • Peter says:

    Yawn. No tranquilizers were used for root channel operations 50 years ago.
    No teflon pans had been available and pans had to be scrubbed rigorously in the sink.

    • jim says:

      Says the man who has never known what sexism is.

      • Peter says:

        Huh? Sexism is not limited to women, you know? Men are also forced to live under gender stereotypes and comply with societal norms.
        There is a reason, why men also live shorter than women in average.

        • Bruce says:

          …and one of those gender stereotypes/ societal norms is to be dismissive of women’s experiences and opinions. You might have a longer, happier life if you gave that up. Just a thought 🙂

  • AnnaT says:

    Oh, for heaven’s sakes, it’s an interesting anecdote and part of NY Phil history. Leave off with the male fragility for ten damn seconds.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    I presumed they just changed at home.

    I recall encountering a Dallas Symphony player after a concert, in his tux, picking out a box of corn dogs from the freezer at Sac-and-Save. He wasn’t changing at the concert hall.

    There are a lot of musicians I would not want to see semi-clothed in a common dressing room if I were a colleague but perhaps dressing at home isn’t as practical in NYC where most of them are taking the subway in from their distant lodgings.

  • William Osborne says:

    When the Gasteig Cultural Center was built, the home of the Munich Phil, they also neglected to include dressing rooms for women. This was in 1985, 20 years after the NY Phil faced the same problem.