You go, girl!

March 21, 2010 at 10:26 PM ·

Replies (27)

March 21, 2010 at 11:08 PM ·

Wow this is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     Can't hide that I found this all-male concept so... (well maybe it's better to not tell a slash word!)      

Let's just say it's a big day!     Hope they'll learn from this and really judge their musicians for their talent regardless of the gender from now on! 

Good luck to her!   It's wonderful!


March 22, 2010 at 12:30 AM ·

Wow!  Well done to her.  She must be one tough cookie to thrive in that  male-dominated environment.  

Interesting article here worth reading:


March 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM ·

Oh, phuleeze... Must gender and race really be injected into most every argument?

Nobody mentions that fact the VPO is (was?) chartered as a men's club/association and as such has its own bylaws and membership rules. End of story! That they are giving in to outside PC pressure and enforced quotas is unfortunate. Yes, they should, if they so decide, change their rules, have blind auditions and be as honest and unbiased as they want. But only if THEY themselves decide... Regardless, for my money, had she had any integrity and gender loyalty, she would have declined the VPO offer without hesitation...

Anyway, why don't all the talented and enterprising women form the Vienna Women's Phil and amaze everyone instead of continually knocking at the wrong door and childishly whining that is doesn't open? What EXACTLY is stopping them? So they don't like the chauvinistic VPO tradition – why not start their own exclusive philharmonic club to rival the VPO in excellence? Now, THAT would be true Girl Power!

In the same spirit of obliterating traditions, I myself look forward to concerts by the "improved" VPO featuring culturally-sensitive instrumentation: a bagpipe, some Ugandan bongos, a Peruvian flute, a synth, couple of cow horns, an electric ocarina, perhaps a Japanese gong or two... I'm sure the Viennese elite would pay $1000/ticket for that... And why not have VPO string quartets do community outreach in emo bars, rehab clinics, train stations, and McDonalds joints, while we're at it? Some Punk Palestrina, anyone? Maybe some Bossa Nova Bach? No? Why not? Not enough white elitist guilt? Can we have the Berlin Brass on "American Idiot"? Simon and Paula would just adore them, don't you think? Also, let's consult the street mob experts on repertoire, soloists, conductors, phrasing, articulation, attire, venue, etc., etc... All in the name of inclusion, diversity and sensitivity, of course!

Please, let's focus on achievement and results and remember that we are defined not only by what we create, but also by what we choose not to destroy.

... will you excuse me as I catch up with the incredible Tibetan Underwater Crochet Team, the Brazilian Igloo-makers Federation, the United Negro College Fund scholarships for Norwegians, the Ukrainian Dancers of Micronesia, and the Sub-Saharan Water Polo Players...

March 22, 2010 at 05:26 PM ·

It's about time -- she must have been ten times as good as the others to have gotten the job.  Congratulations to her!

And I don't know honestly know why people insist on injecting gender and race into everything, Andrei.  It's a mystery to me as well.  Perhaps you can ask the men who have retired from the old-style Vienna Phil why they did so when they specified whites and males only.  They seemed to feel that it mattered enough to them.

March 22, 2010 at 06:35 PM ·

"Nobody mentions that fact the VPO is (was?) chartered as a men's club/association and as such has its own bylaws and membership rules. End of story!"  

Adrei, respectfully, IMHO and that of those who complain, perhaps everything is in the NAME.  If it was named Austria's men orchestra or so, no one would ever complain since it would be implied woman can create an Austria's woman orchestra.

But the fact is that is't the Vienna philarmonic orchestra the "top" orchestra, the best that Vienna has to offer and this implies you couldn't have another # 1 orchestra in Vienna... So it implies they exclude woman of the top orchestra.  No "tradition" in 2010 is strong ennough to excuse this!  It is not because something has been done for many years that it is more ethical! May we just look what happens in some countries with the "tradition" excuse behind it. 

This is something very sexist and probably the reason why many people complain.  You should have the word "men' in the name of the orchestra as we have men and woman hockey teams... And it's even worst than a sports team where we know they don't put men and woman together.  So this is also why it's crucial to put the word "men" in the orchestra's name... 

As for the concertmaster voluntarely declining the offer, it would show that she agrees with this sexist.  If it was Austria's "men" orchestra, then it would be respectful for the spirit of the orchestra to decline the offer. But it's the VPO...    what is suppose to be the # 1 the city has to offer regardless of gender!

And of course comments like in the article don't help...


March 22, 2010 at 07:10 PM ·

That said, I also think the achivements are # 1 to consider just that I though the name thing was important since it implies so many things...



March 22, 2010 at 07:17 PM ·

 Nice post, Anne-Marie. :)

As someone who competed in another field (unrelated to violin) for a hobby that was dominated by men, I much admire what has been accomplished here.  It's so tough being a woman in a man's field, and part of the reason why I stopped said hobby (not before proving that women can be just as fierce though ;).  Anyway kudos to her for paving the way for the others that will follow in her footsteps.  As one of the top orchestras in the world, I'm sure that the best one at an audition will be a woman at some point... and it is in the best interests of the musical world to take the best one, not the most male one. ;)

March 23, 2010 at 03:23 AM ·

Two thoughts:

(1) I wasn't aware of women musicians whining that they couldn't get into the Vienna Philharmonic.  The outcry seems mostly to come from observers (not necessarily musicians) who have noticed that in most areas of life a 100% male work force is an anomaly.

(2) Is the fabled Vienna Philharmonic sound a matter of learning the style, or is it inextricably tied to maleness?  As a comparison, I'd be interested to know if people think the Berlin Philharmonic's quality has deteriorated since it started admitting women.

March 23, 2010 at 12:48 PM ·

In general, one of the things I love about music is that it appears to me to be completely open with regard to gender, age, race and everything else. If you're good enough, you're old enough. When I was young and playing in a youth orchestra, there were some brilliant players who got some professional work from the age of around 16 (one of whom went on to be principal oboe in the LSO). This doesn't happen very much in the outside world where you get promotion etc. partly on the grounds of "seniority". And now I'm a lot older, hopefully I won't be considered as "past it" until I can no longer perform. And sitting in a section with much younger people helps keep me feeling young. Living in Belfast now for over 35 years, when I came here, a lot of things seemed to polarise on sectarian lines - and I've always been delighted that that never happened in music. Much more important criteria would be applied - such as "does he buy a round"!  Music is probably the most equal profession I know of, and long may it be so.


March 23, 2010 at 01:31 PM ·

"(2) Is the fabled Vienna Philharmonic sound a matter of learning the style, or is it inextricably tied to maleness?  As a comparison, I'd be interested to know if people think the Berlin Philharmonic's quality has deteriorated since it started admitting women."

But why they don't just put a screen and take "the best sounds" they want no matter the gender???  Some girls play more "male" than males and some boys play more "girly" than girls so...   why not just take the sound caracteristics they want for their orchestra with a screened "selection"???   It would be interesting to see what comes out of such an audition...  And then, no matter the result, it would be really fair.   


March 23, 2010 at 04:49 PM ·

In fairness, much of the rhetoric about the Philharmonic isn't just the ability to get notes, or even the sound, but the communication between players and their connection to the VPO tradition.  You have a lot of father/son teams and students sitting next to teachers, etc. 

Of course, there's no reason that one couldn't work young women into the tradition, but Austrians have often done things in a way that I don't really understand.

March 23, 2010 at 05:08 PM ·

One of the underlying "problems" as far as the men in the orchestra see the situation, is that in Austria, women are entitled to a long period of maternity leave each time they have a baby - up to 2 years is possible.  So the men argue that a female player could be offered a job, integrate into the orchestra, and then later on get pregnant and need to be replaced for possibly up to 2 years, which they claim would destabilise the orchestra.

Sexist?  Discriminatory?  Yes of course it is.  But it is also a very cultural thing, there's unfortunately still a lot of feeling from many older generation Austrians (mainly men, but not exclusively so) that the woman's role is still:  "Kinder, Kueche, Kirche" -- that is "children, kitchen, church".  

There's a lot  more I could say about this but I won't!

March 24, 2010 at 04:43 PM ·

I'd have to look it up, but I believe the Vienna Phil. is the group that once 'justified'  their exclusion of women with arguments such as  women couldn't handle the rigorous travel schedule.

March 24, 2010 at 05:37 PM ·

Looks like progress to me. Congratulations to Albena Danailova, and to the Vienna Phil.

March 24, 2010 at 09:35 PM ·

Congratulations to that new wonderful female concertmaster! This is indeed a great progress and I can´t wait to see more women involved in the orchestra.


March 26, 2010 at 09:30 PM ·

Aha... it's the Vienna State OPERA orchestra, not the Philharmonic.  The members overlap, but Opera members are not necessarily Philharmonic members.  Think of the Philharmonic as a sort of VIP club within the larger Opera orchestra.

My mistake, based on ABC News's mistake, based on Associated Press's mistake...

March 27, 2010 at 01:20 AM ·

Home > Orchestra > Musicians


An asterisk * denotes confirmed members of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra who
do not yet belong to the association of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Rainer Küchl
Rainer Honeck
Volkhard Steude
Albena Danailova*

March 27, 2010 at 01:54 AM ·

I'm really anxious to hear of a female concertmaster at the Vienna philarmonic... Perhaps Ms Danailova is in good way to get there...  What she is doing is already so admirable. Hope I'll see such a "page" of history and progress one day!   There have to be a woman who auditions for them and impress them so much they won't have choice to take her...   I don't know who and when but it must happen...   The most "prestigious" place can't be for just one gender and I believe something will bring fairness one day or another!



March 27, 2010 at 02:49 AM ·


Thanks for your rebuttal!

Sorry I took so long, I was watching the "WORLD Series" while eating "the BEST" of dinners from "the MOST TRUSTED leading brand" in "the ENTIRE Universe". Their name says it all, honestly, and I always consider their brands' marketing claims, you know... They're all guaranteed authentic, no?   :)

On a side note and more to the point (!), I simply cannot imagine how confused Londoners must really be, having to decide which of their orchestras is "the representative London orchestra": LSO, RPO, BBC, Philharmonia, ASMF, etc., etc. The names, the labels, the brands, the logos, the slogans... Oh, no, what is one to do?

Sorry, I just can't buy the "but it says and/or is implied in their name" argument re: VPO... 

I just read "Acceptance of women" at   Most interesting!

And more importantly, from the VPO site: "The Vienna State Opera Orchestra is the basis of employment for the musicians who, as a private association, make up the membership of the concert orchestra known as the Vienna Philharmonic."

Also, "...approximately 300 opera performances are given each season... In addition to this, the Vienna Philharmonic performs approximately 90 concerts a year, including concerts in subscription, special concerts, and concert tours to all parts of the world..."

Sounds like a pretty grueling schedule to me, but nothing that pregnant women couldn't do...

Additionally, from the orchestra roster emerges that other women AND men are not members of the association, although their do perform in the VPO.

Best regards for a lovely non-gender specific, race-blind, and Wagner-free spring weekend,

March 27, 2010 at 02:29 PM ·

Good news!!!


March 27, 2010 at 05:16 PM ·

Looks like we'll have to temper our celebrations: Susan Elliott of Musical America reported in her blog Wednesday that 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. Maybe not the huge step for womankind we were thinking, but congratulations are still in order!

March 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM ·

Well done Lady ! That means that she has to be twice as good as her mail colleagues!

March 28, 2010 at 04:46 PM ·

No it doesn't, it just means that she auditioned for that spot and got it. Her "male colleagues" may not have even auditioned.

March 28, 2010 at 05:05 PM ·

The key time will be about 2 years from now, as that is when she will be given tenure in the actual Vienna Philharmonic.  Just checking, right now her name is still in italics on their orchestra webpage, so what will happen next is that after a year or 2 years, there'll be a vote amongst the players as to whether she should be made a full member or not...  Good luck to her.

(I reckon she'll be doing plenty of gigs as concertmaster/assistant concertmaster with the Philharmonic, especially on tour.  They've become acutely sensitive about the whole females in the orchestra thing.)

March 28, 2010 at 05:06 PM ·

Well what Maja tells may have a bit of the truth.  I saw an Havard debate on genders in science and while we can tell there is no link at all with music, an Havard teacher told that in music screen audition they take 50/50 (statistically) but 80% males in unscreened auditions...  Usually Harvard have accurate information. I don't know if this audition was screen or unscreen. If it was unscreen, maybe we could say that Maja is right... 

And Andrei, sorry if I insisted a little too much about this "best" seat... Perhaps this is my mistake since there are many people that could be rated as the "best" in such orchestras. But what I feel is true and that (I think) many would agree is that if they want an all male orchestra, they should put the word "men" in the name of the orchestra.  Since it's seems not acceptable in 2010 to name an all male orchestra something like VPO when most people usually agree and expect to see men and woman in an orchestra... It's not like in sports where we expect they'll seperate the genders so maybe it should be mentionned in the name...

Just my two cents.  


March 29, 2010 at 12:19 AM ·

That means that she has to be twice as good as her mail colleagues!

Anne-Marie, Maja's comment leads me to assume that the mail of her male colleagues was screened.

March 29, 2010 at 02:30 AM ·

Yes because the one who texts the fastest will play the fastest...    and let's hope they are not evaluate on there mail (ing) talent!  ; )   English language has all kind of funny "sound" synonyms!


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