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The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Is the concertmaster of your orchestra male or female?

March 27, 2010 at 10:38 PM

There was a whole lot of hullabaloo this week over the Vienna Philharmonic appointing its first female concertmaster, and guess what? They didn't!

As Susan Elliott of Musical America reported in her blog Wednesday, Albena Danailova was appointed permanent concertmaster of the Vienna Opera Orchestra, comprised mostly of Vienna Philharmonic musicians, not of the Vienna Philharmonic itself, as reported by AP, ABC and other news organizations.

She still has all our good wishes and congratulations.

While people pile on the Vienna Philharmonic over their gender mix, it made me think about the orchestras in my area, and the gender mix in those. Sometimes the mix is pretty even; then again, sometimes it really tilts in one direction or another.

In this spirit, I thought I'd poll everyone on the concertmaster situation in your own community. For the sake of this poll, please think about the orchestra where you play most often (whether it's a professional or community orchestra), or think about the orchestra whose concerts you see most often.

I'm going to consider the Pasadena Symphony as my local orchestra, since it is in the community where I live and I also occasionally play in it. The concertmaster for Pasadena is female, Aimee Kreston. As for other orchestras in the area, the concertmaster for the LA Philharmonic is male, Martin Chalifour.

On that even note, what is the situation in your community? Do you think there is an even balance?


From Michael Divino
Posted on March 27, 2010 at 10:51 PM

 National Symphony- Nurit Bar-Josef.  woman!

From Sue Buttram
Posted on March 28, 2010 at 6:30 AM

 The community orchestra that I play in has a woman as concert master as does the Seattle Symphony.  

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on March 28, 2010 at 3:25 PM

The problem of mysteriously having more male than woman in such seats isn't mostly with professionnal famous orchestras???   Of course this is another thing but I would be curious to see if the results would be similar with famous professionnals orchestra...   (I hope than yes of course!)  


From Janis Cortese
Posted on March 28, 2010 at 4:30 PM

LA Chamber Orch -- Margaret Batjer.  She rocks, too.  I saw their premiere this year and they did the box-office friendly stuff, Four Seasons and Mendelssohn's Italian.  They blew the roof off.

They aren't "my" orchestra, though.  :-)  They're just the local one and really good.

From Jenny Fischer
Posted on March 28, 2010 at 6:56 PM

I sub for two nearby orchestras and both have female concertmasters. My college symphony has a male concertmaster. I'm a woman and have been the concertmaster for my other college orchestra. I have personally seen more female concertmasters than males.

From Andrew Paa
Posted on March 29, 2010 at 2:36 AM

Most of the previous orchestras I've played in have had both male and female concertmaster's while I was there at some point.  Currently, two orchestra's I'm in has a the same female concertmaster and I'm concertmaster of the school symphony orchestra.  At the top professional orchestra level I have seen more male concertmaster's than female but at the regional orchestra level I have seen more female than male concertmaster's. 

From Justin Keck
Posted on March 29, 2010 at 5:09 AM

 does college count? lol. jk.  I think it's male for both local and school though.

From Tyler R
Posted on March 29, 2010 at 6:54 AM

Every concertmaster should be a male. Otherwise, she is a concertmistress.

From Valerie Coon
Posted on March 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

I was told to NEVER be called a concertmistress -- only a concertmaster.  the association with the word 'mistress' is far too great and does more damage than good.

From Laurie Niles
Posted on March 31, 2010 at 3:25 AM

I'm not real fond of "concertmistress" either! Hmmmm....I'm thinking of a new vote...

From John Cadd
Posted on April 2, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Call me old fashioned but why do so many people object to the word Mistress when so many lady recording artists do all they can to show as much skin as possible on their recording  sleeves ?     ( Thankyou Igor ,you can close the coffin now ).

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