Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wiener problems

When I was in college, we talked often about the discriminatory practices of the Vienna Philharmonic and various German orchestras. (Here is the best example of German discrimination.) It has now been almost ten years since the Vienna Philharmonic announced that it had stopped prohibiting women from being members, when on February 27, 1997 it shifted harpist Anna Lelkes from an associate (she had been playing with the orchestra for 26 years) to an official member. William Osborne, the husband of Abbie Conant from the German story, has checked in on the VPO to see how things are going a decade later. The highlights:
  • The harpist was forced into retirement after four years.
  • The ratio of male to female is 136 to 1 in the Philharmonic, 141 to 4 in the Opera Orchestra.
  • There is only one person of color in the orchestra
  • The only female violinist was fired in very troubling circumstances.
Read all of the maddening details in Osborne's thorough article.

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