Sunday, April 01, 2007

Critical Reading Skills

Lisa Hirsch has decided that Patrick Smith (though, not, as she is quick to add, the Patrick Smith who edited Opera News) "doesn't see the Vienna Philharmonic's hiring practices as bigoted."

Is the Wiener Philharmoniker bigoted? The comments of their officials and other members say as much, and they certainly aren't offering tenure to boatloads of women. However, unless the Austrian officials decide to do something about it, there's not much to say. The Wiener Philharmoniker is ostensibly "private." They make a big deal about their autonomy and the absolute control which their members enforce over the organization.

So, here we are: some folks think that the Wiener Philharmoniker refuses to offer positions to Wiener Staatsoper players who are women or minorities, but it seems that the Wiener Philharmoniker is a private club (for lack of a better word). What's to be done? What can be done? So, then, that's where we're at: it seems to be a fact, but it doesn't seem like there's a solution in the offing.

Then, I ask, does it really even matter? A problem without a solution is just a curiosity. Is it anti-Austrian to say that this just proves, time and time again, that America has surpassed the rest of the world in matters musical? It does.

Edit: I doubt I would have bothered writing such an involved post, expressing the futility of complaint in this situation, if I'd recalled that this post was up on the main page. So, there: I've not only admitted elsewhere that their hiring practices are "unfortunate," but I've also expressed doubt at the rationale for their practices.