Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"First woman to head a major US orchestra"

Good news for women. (I grabbed this one from editinggod).

The first woman to head a major US orchestra has been appointed, despite opposition from musicians. Marin Alsop was confirmed as musical director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after an overwhelming vote in favour by the board of directors. (link).

Of course, some are complaining:

Her appointment to the role of maestro in one of the world's top orchestras means she has broken through what has traditionally been a male preserve.

But it has not been without opposition from some of those who will be working under her.

When it became clear she was going to be appointed, a statement from the musicians said a "vast majority" wanted the search to continue.

But on Tuesday, the board of directors overwhelmingly affirmed her selection.

The orchestra was rehearsing at the time and received the news in silence, according to one musician.

Another, who had sat on the search committee, said their artistic expertise was being disregarded.

It never fails to surprise me how patriarchal this world is. Artistic expertise being disregarded? I certainly hope that was said because people disagree with her methods. Otherwise, that's utterly disgusting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to look more closely at the situation which led to the musicians' opposition and pay less attention to media hype. It is ignorant to assume that this has anything to do with sexism or homophobia.

11:44 PM

Blogger Cass said...

Well, the big problem here is there's not much we can do when it comes to looking "more closely at the situation." The Baltimore Sun reports that nearly everyone, including the musicians, are declining to comment beyond pre-written statements. We have only what is available to work with, and Harper made a point of expressing her hope that the disagreement was because of Alsop's style (of which I was able to find a short reference to something that might be a problem with her conductorship, in the form of "her self-described sarcastic sense of humor.").

We know Alsop would be the first woman conductor of a major US orchestra -- we know there has been a dispute over her appointment. There may be no correlation whatsoever between the two. On the other hand, there's nothing that tells us there isn't. Based on the information available, it would seem ignorant to automatically assume there isn't the possibility of a bias. If you have a source (or are one yourself) in the Baltimore orchestra and can clarify the issue, we'd certainly welcome such statements here.

1:15 PM


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