Saturday, January 18, 2003

Behind the Music

Music, sexism and war. When I was younger and more of a television watcher, I loved to tune in to PBS in the beginning of the year to watch the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year Celebration. Actually, I listened more than watched because as a musician myself, music was first. Then my father pointed out, "There aren't any women in the orchestra." That's when I started paying attention to the screen. Indeed, there weren't any women in the orchestra, except maybe the harpist, but I wasn't sure because I only saw the harp itself and not the musician behind it.

I suppose I've been spoiled into thinking that musicians were only judged by their ability and not something superficial like the color of your hair*. Maybe I'm too idealistic in thinking that music should come first because I start noticing certain things. Why were most of my music teachers female but all of the conductors of the orchestras I was a member of male? Why are certain instruments considered "girly" when kids are given an opportunity to learn music? Why are so many composers hired for movie scores male?

This chauvinism obviously isn't just confined to the Vienna Philharmonic, but I'm not sure if a protest aimed singly at this organization is going to help much.

*Except for popular idols where their only marketable attribute is sex appeal and not the validity of their music.

Also posted on syaffolee.

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