Vienna Philharmonic Still “Old Boys Club”

One year after the Vienna Philharmonic announced its decision allowing women to join, the National Organization for Women says the orchestra has made little progress and remains dedicated to a “racist and misogynist philosophy.”

Sonja Ablinger, a member of the Austrian parliament, said that the orchestra’s hiring procedures are designed to keep women out. “These men are making difficulties …. They do everything to keep women out. They change the rules. They create new obstacles. I would say half of the orchestra is very anti-women–still,” said Ablinger.

Gertrude Rossbacher, a 35-year-old native of Vienna who graduated at the top of her class from Vienna’s Academy of Music, one of twenty-one women denied auditions in the past year. Rossbacher applied last April to the Philharmonic for the solo violinist chair. Officials said they had instituted a 30 year-old age limit for the position, despite Austria’s law stating that the limit is 35. Officials instead hired Christian Frohn, a 32-year-old second violinist from the State Opera Orchestra in Vienna, to fill the chair.


Los Angeles Times - February 27, 1998

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