Patron of the Vienna Philharmonic,
Are you aware that the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra still discriminates against women musicians? In 1997, our protests led the orchestra to begin admitting women for the first time in its 150 year history, but in the six years since, the orchestra has hired 21 men and only 3 women. Women thus represent only 2 percent of the orchestra.
facts to consider:
For complete information and documentation of the orchestra’s employment policies, see the full press release of the International Alliance for Women in Music at: http://www.osborne-conant.org/iawminfo.htm
collection of statements that illustrate the gender and racial ideologies of
the Vienna Philharmonic.
Vienna Philharmonic musician in a recent interview with the Austrian magazine profil
(February 24, 2003):
“Three women are already too many. By the time we have twenty percent, the orchestra will be ruined. We have made a big mistaken, and will bitterly regret it.”
his memoirs, Otto Strasser, a former Chairman of the Philharmonic, describes
the problems blind auditions caused :
“Even a grotesque situation that played itself out after my retirement, was not able to change the situation. An applicant qualified himself as the best, and as the screen was raised, there stood a Japanese before the stunned jury. He was, however, not engaged, because his face did not fit with the 'Pizzicato-Polka' of the New Year's Concert.”
Flury, the orchestra's solo-flutist, in an interview with the West German
State Radio (February 1996):
soul does not let itself be separated from the cultural roots that we have
here in central Europe. And it also doesn't allow itself to be separated from
gender. So if one thinks that the world should function by quota regulations,
then it is naturally irritating that we are a group of white skinned male
musicians, that perform exclusively the music of white skinned male composers.
It is a racist and sexist irritation. I believe one must put it that way. If
one establishes superficial egalitarianism, one will lose something very
significant. Therefore, I am convinced that it is worthwhile to accept this
racist and sexist irritation, because something produced by a superficial
understanding of human rights would not have the same standards."
A statement from an Asian woman musician as documented by Dr. Elena Ostleitner, director of the Institute for Music Sociology at the University of Vienna (1995):
auditioned for an orchestra, and I led in the point tabulations as long as I
played behind a screen. Due to my name it was not apparent that I am an Asian.
But when the screen was removed [for the final round], I was rejected without
comment. Friends in the orchestra confirmed my assumption. They do not take
foreigners, and if they do, then only those in which foreign appearance is not
Prof. Roland Girtler, of the University of Vienna, in interview with the West German State Radio (1996):
I have noticed that is interesting, is that the Vienna Philharmonic would also
never take a Japanese or such. If they took one, this also would somehow by
appearances put in question the noble character of Viennese culture. But this
is not racist!"
Wolfgang Schuster, Press Secretary of the Vienna Philharmonic (1997):
"Many musicians, even if they won't admit it, secretly believe there's a difference in the sound produced by a man and a woman. I know three conductors who say this. […] I know a lot of men that sound like women. But not with us, mind you. [...] This is something that we label our personal style. And it is, if you want to characterize it, masculine."