Unequal UK orchestra ‘is making progress’

It appears the Ulster Orchestra has taken on board some of the troubling issues recently raised by Slipped Disc and widely discussed among musicians. The orchestra has fewer women outside its strings that any other in the UK and we have received reports of cronyism and bulling.

In a speech to the ABO this afternoon, managing director Richard Wrigley is about to say that measures are in hand to ensure a level playing field. From his statement:

‘The outstanding partnership we have formed with Rafael Payare, as you experienced last night, has lifted the Orchestra to new heights of performance and creativity.

‘This journey was not only a musical one – we have re-invented ourselves to become relevant to twenty first century Northern Ireland; to be an orchestra truly of society. This hasn’t always been an easy journey and we are making steady progress towards being a more diverse and inclusive company.

‘We will soon be announcing a 2019/20 season that continues our policy of more diverse programming and artists working with our orchestra; featuring female conductors as we have been in recent seasons. We look forward to announcing additional initiatives in the near future.’

We’ll report back on any real progress. Members of the orchestra have been asked meantime not to respond to any media queries about bullying and inequality.

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  • Bruce says:

    Current male orchestra members can’t be fired just because the management wants to replace them with women… can they?

    I was about to write that as a declarative statement, but then realized that realized things might be different on that side of the pond.

    Anyway, if people can’t be fired “just because,” then it will likely take many years for enough current players to retire to make a difference.

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