Viennese bias?
January 17, 2003 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Ursula Plaichinger, a 27 year-old viola player, is the first woman to be (partially) admitted into the Vienna Philharmonic since the orchestra's creation 161 years ago. Except for hiring temporary, underpaid, unmentioned and unseen harpists ("Cameramen were instructed to show only her hands, never her face or figure"), the Viennese Phil not only tried to ignore several pleads for gender equality but took seven years to comply to the Austrian government's injunctions. Does this kind of resistance reflect a general trend? Is Ursula's case merely an example of "Rent-a-Frau" ? On the other hand, since the Viennese orchestra is a private association, could this be just a modified version of the Battle of Augusta?
posted by 111 (12 comments total)
These women won't stop until we have a gender integrated Vienna Boy's Choir!!
posted by jonson at 10:07 PM on January 17, 2003

Would that really be so bad?

Won't somebody please think of the children?
posted by geekhorde at 12:27 AM on January 18, 2003

No....but I will think of the women.

posted by lazaruslong at 12:41 AM on January 18, 2003

Kinda puts a whole new twist on the Sound of Music [scroll down to story]. Julie Andrews, we need more subversives like you.
posted by newlydead at 6:50 AM on January 18, 2003

Oops! Sound of Music link above is 404'd. Will try to correct.
posted by newlydead at 6:52 AM on January 18, 2003

Corrected SoM link [scroll down to story].
posted by newlydead at 6:59 AM on January 18, 2003

Wow, this story makes me mad. Most of the reports would have you believe that she has been admitted to the orchestra, but by tenure requirements, she is really only on a waiting list for 2004 and will be competing against 15 men to be voted in by -guess whom? The all male anti-women Philharmonic! It's a good example of why you need to read beyond the headlines and not take news at face value or from one source.

Music, Sexism and war is another interesting essay on the topic that poses the question "Why do we forget that women’s rights and human rights are inseparably intertwined?"
posted by madamjujujive at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2003

Taking on the Vienna Philharmonic includes an interesting audio quiz where you have to guess if a man or woman is playing. I scored a dismal 3 out of 5.
posted by Ljubljana at 7:48 AM on January 18, 2003

And then there's the Eroica Trio.
posted by condour75 at 8:52 AM on January 18, 2003

If the Vienna Philharmonic wants to cripple itself by cutting in half the pool of excellent musicians from which they can draw, then it's their loss. Who cares?

I wouldn't buy any of their overpriced recordings anyway. Give me a formerly-starving from Eastern Europe on the Naxos label any day.

(the link-making applets don't seem to work in K-Meleon, and I'm too lazy to do it manually)
posted by straight at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2003

sure you didn't misspell that name, condour75?
posted by Vidiot at 11:45 AM on January 18, 2003

I don't know the Eroica Trio, but I am partial to Lara St. John.
posted by mmascolino at 5:53 PM on January 19, 2003

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