Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wiener Blues

Apparently, there is another go-'round on the Wiener Philharmoniker's hiring practices.

Here's the "problem."
Here's the "critique."
Here's another view.
And, another.

To those who would complain, silly as they are, they should take it up with the Austrian Nationalrat or the Viennese arts commissars. Clearly, the Austrians don't have a problem with the Wiener Philharmoniker's hiring practices. This isn't an issue of bigotry, sorry Kinder; this is an issue of a "private" concert society deciding its composition for itself. In an afternoon, this problem could be solved. The Austrian authorities could impose a no-dual-membership requirement on the Wiener Staatsoper orchestra, unless they (i.e., the WSO members in charge of the WP) "liberalized" their hiring policies.

Again: it's culturally presumptuous to assume that American notions of hiring should be imposed on anyone else. The Austrians have a right to sort this out for themselves, and bigotry has nothing to do with it.

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Ten years ago when their hiring practices first became as issue, Werner Resel, orchestra chairmen at the time, was quoted as saying something along the lines of the orchestra being "white men playing white men's music, and adding women or nonwhites to the group would affect the music-making."

 
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