NY Philharmonic drops Anton PolezhayevToo many female violinists?
Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:37 PM
"For Anton Polezhayev, a promising violinist with a few midlevel competition victories under his belt, winning a coveted seat at the New York Philharmonic at the tender age of 26 was deeply fulfilling.
Anton Polezhayev accuses the New York Philharmonic of giving preference to women. But, he says, as the months of his probationary period went on, he watched a parade of seven violinists win permanent jobs or march past him in the section. They all had one thing in common: they were women.
And one day, orchestra officials abruptly told Mr. Polezhayev to pack up his violin and leave after the 2003-4 season. He had failed his probation despite, he says, strong reviews of his playing..."
I wonder if there is any truth to Mr Polezhayev's argument that the orchestra is favoring the selection of women?
Whether or not it's true, 20 of 33 violinists at the NY Philharmonic are women and several of them are Asian Jiulliard graduates.
Posted 22 July 2005 - 07:53 PM
The classical music world is very small. On the face of it, it doesn't seem like a smart move.
Posted 22 July 2005 - 10:43 PM
PetipaFan, on Jul 22 2005, 08:37 PM, said:
Since racial reverse discrimination wasn't cited in the article, I'm curious as to why it is relevant that "several" are Asian. In fact, 10 of the violinists in the orchestra are Asian, 9 of them women, 5 of whom joined the orchestra between 1977 and 1998, before Mr. Polezhayev arrived at the NY Philharmonic.
While pedigree doesn't always an orchestral musician make, of the seven women who joined the orchestra during Mr. Polezhayev's tenure, one was hired as the Assistant Concertmaster -- not a position that one expects the person filling it to fail probation -- two were Concertmaster Glen Dicterow's students, one had substantial experience playing for the Pittsburgh Symphony orchestra and was Associate Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Theatre orchestra, one studied with Joseph Silverstein at Curtis and then played for the New Jersey Symphony, one won the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition and played in an orchestra under Menuhin, and one was a child prodigy growing up in St. Petersburg before playing in the New Jersey Symphony and is a world-renowned chamber music player.
NY Philharmonic auditions are blind, which means that of the eight musicians who were on probation, seven were women who had earned their spots through their playing ability, not their gender or race or name, although it would be difficult to imagine that Dicterow couldn't recognize the playing of his own students, if he were among the selection committee.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 05:06 AM
There was a certain conductor at the Metropolitan Opera once in the 50's who sued after being fired because he was not up to the job. The Opera won in court. Had he not sued no one would ever have known he was let go because of incompetence going to court did nothing to help his career.
If it is that the NY Philharmonic seeks the best players, and the best are women, and typically Asian, then it says something about the state of things.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 05:19 AM
PetipaFan, on Jul 22 2005, 10:37 PM, said:
The Philharmonic's violin gender breakdown signals how far women have come in orchestra ranks, or at least in some of those ranks, as a quick look at rosters confirms. According to the Philharmonic's Web site, women count for 7 of the 12 violists, 6 of 11 cellists and 2 of 9 double bass players. At the Boston Symphony Orchestra, men trail in the violins 13 to 18, and lead 7 to 5 in the violas, 9 to 1 in the cellos and 9 to 0 in the double basses. In Cleveland, women outnumber men by only one in the violins, and at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, men dominate that section, 18 to 10.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 06:09 AM
"During his Philharmonic probationary period, Polezhayev was supposed to have 13 meetings with orchestra leaders so they could give him feedback and progress reports, court papers say. The papers say no such meetings were held with him.
After Polezhayev complained to Schiebler and Dicterow about what he considered gender discrimination, they brought his complaints to Maazel's attention.
Maazel told Polezhayev in a meeting that he was being fired for ``unprofessional behavior'' and because he ``was not good for the orchestra,'' despite being a good violinist, court papers say..."
Let him have his day in court.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 07:00 AM
The court will have to make the decision in this case, and one never knows about these kinds of things. What makes a great musician is partially a subjective process.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 07:19 AM
I don't see what 'Asian' has to do with anything though. That's just being obnoxious - not to mention bigoted.
[Edited to add:] I think we've come a long way when a white male with a surname like Polezhayov is suing an orchestra on grounds of discrimination.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 07:49 AM
PetipaFan, on Jul 23 2005, 01:06 PM, said:
Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:35 AM
As for the Asian women: In many areas of Asia, Western art music plays a far greater role in a child's education than it currently does in America or Europe. Thus the influx of talented and already well-trained Asian musicians in our conservatories. On a possibly less positive note, the predominance of women may have something to do with the fact that in Korea, at least, mastery of a musical instrument is considered beneficial to marrying well. (I don't know if this is true in other Asian cultures.) While many of the Korean women do indeed go home and get married after graduating from our conservatories, others decide to stay here and make a go of it as a professional musician. And thank goodness. Unless we start exposing our kids to music, make them take lessons, bring them to concerts, give them the chance to discover a vocation for music, we better hope Asia continues filling our orchestral ranks or we won't have any orchestras left in another generation or two.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:35 AM
Why are there not 9 African American female violinists at the NY Philharmonic? or Poles or Russians or whatever. Apparently Asian families are encouraging their children to study classical music?
Posted 23 July 2005 - 09:43 AM
PetipaFan, on Jul 23 2005, 01:06 PM, said:
Do you mean Bruno Amaducci? Bing mentions this whole incident in his autobiography. The Met offered to buy out his contract at a very favorable rate but he refused and went to court.
This was Bing's point, and although I find some of his actions petty I agree with him here, was that no one would ever known what was going on if he had kept quiet, and that the guy either crippled or killed his career as an opera conductor.
Not only was he a trouble maker , which is a "soft" black mark, but the court upheld the MEt's position that he was incompetent, which is a very "hard" black
But the Amaducci thing was in the 60s, around the time the Met moved to Licoln Center. Bing spells out the years and the repertory in 1001 Nights at the Opera (or something like that).
Edited by richard53dog, 23 July 2005 - 09:45 AM.
Posted 23 July 2005 - 09:58 AM
GWTW, on Jul 23 2005, 08:19 AM, said:
Posted 23 July 2005 - 11:50 AM
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