Exclusive: Two more women join Vienna Philharmonic list

Exclusive: Two more women join Vienna Philharmonic list


norman lebrecht

March 08, 2017

We hear that first violinists, Ekaterina Frolova and Petra Kovačič have both fulfilled their trial periods in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and are confirmed as full members from today.

They become eligible for membership of the Vienna Philharmonic in three years’ time.


  • Ungeheuer says:

    Good for them. What I am about to say is possibly unrelated to the orchestra admitting women to their ranks since the majority of the orchestra’s musicians are men. But this orchestra’s fabled sound and style are rapidly disappearing. The quality of their unique musical instruments remain the same so it must be that the cultural competence of a younger generation of players is getting in the way or that today’s conductors simply lack the, well, competence or will to coax the best the orchestra, as a unit, has to offer. For example, Dudamel’s new year’s concert was a total non-event.

    • B says:


      I wouldn’t fully agree that the instruments themselves have not changed. The horn players play on modern Wiener horns, some are made by Yamaha. These horns don’t have quite the same timbre as the Wiener horns of old. The trombonists also now play more modern instruments that brings their tonal character more in line with other orchestras. Trumpets are playing vastly superior rotary trumpets than they used to, and they are more secure.

      Even the oboe doesn’t have quite the same timbre of old, which was VERY distinctive. I can’t comment on the manufacturing of new Viennese oboes, though. This may be more of a cultural/style shift.

      To play devil’s advocate, conductors may actively TRY to even out the sound and textures of the Vienna Philharmonic to be more homogenous. I certainly don’t agree with that practice, but in the age of jet-setting conductors, ensembles are certainly losing their uniqueness.

  • Bviolinistic says:

    Well done and congratulations!

  • Rachelle Goldberg says:

    As regards the fact that the sound and style is rapidly disappearing could be in some measure for the fact that some of the musicians were not taught in the Viennese method. Up to some years ago all the string players came from the same fold as it were. They studied with violinists,violists and cellists who not only played in the Vienna Philharmonic but were Professors at the University. Some of the players were nephews,sons or grandsons of members of the orchestra. I am fortunate that I studied with three leaders of the Vienna Philharmonic, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Franz Samohyl and Gunter Pichler at the University and I am told that I have the Viennese sound.

  • Kenneth Berv says:

    Mr. Ungeheuer, could you please explain “cultural competence”? I think I understand, but would appreciate further explication. The “golden age” of orchestral playing had musicians who were more literate in books, art, music. And they weren’t exposed to modern media distractions, internet, etc. However, even though I agree that the wonderful unique sound of the Vienna Philharmonic has changed, we just heard two concerts at Carnegie Hall which were absolutely glorious. It is clear that the love and dedication of every musician in this ensemble (and several other European orchestras) is not equalled in the USA, except for the marvelous Philadelphia Orchestra, under Nezet-Seguin.