Men extend their advantage in German orchestras

Men extend their advantage in German orchestras


norman lebrecht

March 02, 2021

Latest figures from the German Music Information Center show that men are leading women by  60.4 percent to 39.6 percent in the composition of 129 leading German orchestras. That’s about one percent more than last year.

Although women amount to just under half of all string players, only 32.7 percent of concertmasters are female.

Cliché alert: women hold 93.7 percent of all harp positions.

In all, 9,884 musicians were surveyed.


  • Basso Continuoso says:

    This demonstrates the rampant discrimination against male harpists. Ironically, before 1940, most professional harpists were male. A male majority is necessary for the strength and body it gives the orchestra’s tone quality. Women can match it, but rarely have it. Nor do they dress properly. If men have to wear tuxedos, so must the women. Equal discomfort.

    • Rogerio says:

      This comment is proof that not all women align themselves with the current left-oriented, anti-male worldview.
      Thank you for speaking up Mrs. Continuoso.

    • Gustavo says:

      There may be anatomical constraints.

      What about Cello?

  • Minnesota says:

    A movement of 1% is not a meaningful change here or in most situations. The news–which is admittedly boring–is that the gender composition is essentially the same. You would not notice any difference of this size visually or aurally. One would not expect much of as change in a pandemic year.

  • Jacky Muir says:

    Could it just possibly be that very few men choose to play the harp? How many women choose to play the tuba? As for concertmasters, if you are good enough you will rise to the top, whether you are a man, a woman or a chimpanzee…

    • Rogerio says:

      Considering the amount of minutes the Harp plays during an entire season and assuming the principal harp gets paid the same as other principals who must put in 50000% more playing time, then let me tell you this;
      Those women are the cleverest human beings in the whole goddam orchestra.

      • Rogerio says:

        The corollary to this observation is simple;
        The Principal Harpist should be the Concertmaster.
        98% women concertmasters.

        • Roland Maurer says:

          Viola? The viola requires big strong hands. So does the Harp. Woman can handle it. How about female conductors, GMD? The Swiss Lady Silvia Caduff was probably the first female GMD in Deutschland.

  • Kenneth says:

    Equality of outcome for Harpists!!! Outrageous!!

  • Such a nothing burger of a subject.

  • Joe says:

    Germany has 129 orchestras????? Australia has 9 full-time professional orchestras for its 25 million people. They are all around the 50% mark for gender split. Of course this means they are woefully bigoted toward non-binary folk. And none of the Australian orchestras have any indigenous musicians, and are predominantly white and Asian. So lots of news fodder for Norman there.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      What about disabled people, indigenous disabled people or lesbian disabled indigenous jewish? Let’s keep parsing this until the SJW nutjobs go away.

  • Birchley Poundbottom says:

    Absurd. Don’t you all know there is a deadly global pandemic… oops sorry, wrong thread.