Exclusive: Vienna Philharmonic admits 3 more women

Exclusive: Vienna Philharmonic admits 3 more women


norman lebrecht

December 10, 2019

Three young women in the second violin group of the Vienna Philharmonic were given full time jobs at the end of their  trial periods – Adela Frasineanu as Stimmführerin (pictured) and Julia Gyenge and Lika Yakupova as tutti players.

An audition for a further position ended without anyone being selected.


The orchestra is on the way to becoming an equal opportunity employer.


  • Axl says:

    Yeyy!! Ms. Frasineanu was originally second violin tutti player and now she has promoted to stimmführer/associate principal. And Ms. Yakupova is Liya – not Lika

  • anon says:

    3 more men out of a job.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    Can anyone answer this: has a woman ever conducted the VPO? Just curious.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      JoAnn Falletta came close, as she did guest conduct the Czech Phil. My guess is that Marin Alsop is setting the precedent in Wien, but that’s with the radio orchestra.

    • Andreas B. says:

      Simone Young for the first time at the state opera in 1993

    • Nils Angmar says:

      Simone Young has.

      • I don’t think a woman has ever conducted a *regular* concert of the VPO. Simone Young conducted the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in 1993, which technically isn’t the same as the VPO. (If memory serves, she was 5 months pregnant at the time.) The State Opera administration selects the conductors for the house, but the VPO selects its own conductors. If I remember correctly, the only time a woman has conducted the VPO was for an informal Proms type concert where there was no seating. All in the audience stood–so it wasn’t a regular concert, which I don’t think a woman has ever conducted. Probably no surprise to many…..

        • Nils Angmar says:

          For someone who has written and commented so extensively about women’s rights in the classical music scene and particularly in regard to the Vienna Philharmonic, I would have thought you better informed.

          Simone Young conducted the Wiener Philharmoniker at the Musikverein. The concerts took place on the 12. and 13. November in 2005 and were regular concerts, not some „informal Proms”. On the programm were Bernstein (Candide Overture), Copland (Clarinet Concerto), Mahler (excerpts from Des Knaben Wunderhorn) and Schumann (4. Symphony).

          • Yes, that is correct. As I wrote in my post, I was speaking from memory which I was not sure about. The article below has the details. And regarding the claims in some posts below, the article also explains:

            “The Vienna Philharmonic was forced to break with its tradition of male exclusivity under pressure from feminists in America who threatened to disrupt their US tours in the late 1990s.

            “They were backed-up by the powerful International Alliance of Women in music, an organisation representing women musicians in 31 countries who organised anti-Philharmonic demonstrations.”

            The VPO agreed to admit women in 1997, but not make any members except for harpists for another ten years. Good old Austria. And now there are efforts to erase this whole history. Good old Austria….


  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Your final sentence and penultimate sentence contradict each other somewhat!!

  • Predictions says:

    Everyone get ready! Here comes William Osbourne to take credit (laughable!) for women being admitted to the VPO. #predictions

    • The actual story, as reported by MSNBC in 2000.


      It is notable that people outside Austria obligated the the VPO to accept women, and that some in Vienna wish this embarrassing history could be erased.

      I should also note that being denounced in an internet commentary section so consistently trashy as this one is a badge of honor.

      • sam says:

        1) “being denounced”

        oh c’mon, more like a little ribbing.

        2) “consistently trashy”

        you know you like it, you keep coming back for more

        3) “badge of honor”

        maybe not quite an honor, but at minimum you know people read your comments seriously

      • Larry W says:

        You should also note that you consistently contribute commentary here.

      • Predictions says:

        Yes the article is full of interesting “factoids” – a “5,000 seat Carnegie Hall” “95 percent of conductors” represented by one management company.
        Still laughing here.

        Congrats to these fine musicians who won their jobs, no thanks to anyone but themselves and their fine work and training!

        There will always be the William Osbornes of the world grasping the coat tails of the truly successful.

        • John Borstlap says:

          That last line is an uncalled-for ad homnum attack entirely besides the point.

          And then, what does ‘successful’ really mean? We only see the outward signs and we know how thin they are.

          It’s just good news that apparently dedicated players have been promoted and their sex is irrelevant.

    • And for German readers, this recent article in Der Spiegel also notes in its final paragraph that American public pressure forced the VPO to admit women.


      Yet another bit of history some Austrians are trying to erase…

      • John Borstlap says:

        The invented problem of female players in the VPO is in itself crazy. Any club has the freedom to decide upon the composition of their gathering, and an all-male club does not mean it is discriminatory. Football teams, London clubs, mandoline ensembles, needlework societies for the elderly, autism support groups, LGBT communities, Roman Catholic Debate Societies, etc. etc. are free to choose with whom their members will feel comfortable with. Given the fact that most orchestras are gender mixed, there is no reason why a traditional orchestra would want to be an all-male one. It is a moot point. If the VPO changes their policy towards gender, also that is entirely moot, both the decisions of male exclusivity and mixed gender have nothing to do with the music making. It is really sickening that pressures from outside which are merely caused by PC politics would force any club to change their policy, they should be free to do so because they decide for themselves.

        Well-intended PC urges to protect people from prejudice can in themselves turn into the very type of bigotted pressures that created the problem in the first place.

  • Benjamin Ljubas gyenge frasineanu says:

    Nice hat

  • Korean bbq says:

    Great job, orlando

  • Bruce says:

    Congratulations to all three!

  • Rachele Goldberg says:

    With reference to the fact that American public pressure forced the VPO to admit women I do not think is correct. It was because Austria had joined the EU and the Orchestra would have lost its state subsidy