Montreal’s hiring women horns

Montreal’s hiring women horns


norman lebrecht

March 08, 2020

The OSM is down to three tenured horns ans can’t audition any more until the next music director is in place – which could be two or three years. In the meatnime, it’s hiring women.

Six of the eight horns in this week’s Bruckner 9th were women.



  • Adrian says:

    Nothing wrong with women horn players – what exactly is the point of this post!

    • Brian v says:

      Why not we have had female racing drivers . Priests. Rabbis. A profession should be open to anybody.

      • Ordinatio sacerdotalis says:

        Who is meant by ‘we’? My ‘we’ have not had (and will never have) female priests. (Horn players, sure–there is no ontology connected with playing an instrument!)

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Female priests…some religions don’t allow male priest. At least, I have never heard of a male celestial virgin.

    • TG says:

      Agreed. Being down to three tenured horns is worthy of comment in its own right.

      • Emil says:

        I believe Montreal’s regular roster has four – at most five horns, so they’re one or two short. That being said, the vacancies at the OSM are concerning:
        -1 1st violin
        -4 (!) violas
        -1 cello
        -3 double basses (incl. 2 current interim positions)
        – 1 flute+1 piccolo (both interims)
        – at least one horn, incl. principal horn
        – 1 trumpet (interim at the moment)

        That’s about 1/7 of the orchestra that needs to be renewed/filled.

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Quite, the implication is that female horn players are just stop gaps until real men can fill the posts!

  • Axl says:

    It’s interesting that who would be succeseeding legendary John Zirbel in principal horn. Like hiring principal horns – I think that it would belong journey also in this case

  • Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Makes me horny.

    For #MeToo complaints please call my lawyer directly.

    • Karl says:

      That’s not how #metoo works. No one bothers to get your side of the story. They just post their slander online or in the media and your employer cans you after the ensuing outrage.

  • Frustrated Musician says:

    Maybe check your stuff for spelling errors before posting?! And I agree with Adrian, you break this story as though ducks are being permitted to vote.

  • Carl says:

    Welcome to the world Norman.

  • Bruce says:

    I’m pretty sure female horn players aren’t “news” anymore. (Hiring them isn’t, either.)

    • Bruce says:

      ^ (Sorry, didn’t mean to repeat myself. My browser was having trouble with SD and my comment wasn’t showing up as “awaiting moderation” so I thought it had disappeared.)

  • Bruce says:

    Female horn players haven’t been “news” for a long time. Hiring them hasn’t been, either.

  • Malcolm James says:

    Engaging people for particular concerts is one thing. Hiring them is another.

  • Karl says:

    Not news. Instead you should be reporting that Montreal now has THREE octobasses.

  • MacroV says:

    First, the OSM generally has five permanent horn players (maybe six; don’t recall if they have both an assistant and an associate). Anyway, not a huge number of vacancies.

    Second, lots of female horn players out there; they’re not nearly as underrepresented as with trumpet/trombone/tuba.

    Move on; nothing to see here.

    • Emil says:

      There’s no assistant horn at OSM, as far as I know – I’m not even sure there’s a separate third horn (I seem to remember the associate and third horn being one position).
      It’s also worth mentioning that 2/3 current horns on the roster are women – Catherine Turner and Nadia Côté. And they’ve been there for some time, so this is not a new development.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Well, I would think that old Bruckner would have been astonished.

  • Erin says:

    What’s wrong with hiring women horn players? This post seems to suggest that hiring women was something exceptional to note, and comes across as misogynistic and sexist.

  • Donna says:

    Why on earth is this “news” – they hired horn players – just horn players ….

  • John Wills says:

    Isn’t that a good thing?