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Vienna Philharmonic

In reference to Jan Herman’s story on sex discrimination at the Vienna Philharmonic (“Vienna Philharmonic Still Under Fire,” Feb. 27):

Since the admission of Anna Lelkes as a full member last year, five sets of auditions have taken place. All auditions, with the exception of the final round, are behind a screen, and no auditioning player may be more than 35 years of age at the time of his or her acceptance into the orchestra. The criteria for the auditions is solely based on excellence of playing in the Viennese tradition and style for which the Vienna Philharmonic is noted.

In the last year, 14 women were invited to audition for violin, viola and cello positions. Of those, only five showed up. None were chosen. For the additional two auditions for trumpet and tuba, no women applied.

The composition of the Vienna Philharmonic will change over a period of time. It is quite unfair to expect dramatic results in one year. In the next three to five years, the result of the Philharmonic’s decision as of a year ago to adopt a policy of no discrimination of any kind can be much more fairly assessed.

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M.L. FALCONE

New York

Falcone is the spokeswoman for the Vienna Philharmonic’s current U.S tour.


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