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Significantly in the New Age with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

“Heiterer Muth” is the name of the polka by Joseph Strauss that the Vienna Boys Choir sang at its debut at the New Year’s Concert last Sunday.

A performance that gives hope that equality will improve – even in institutions with rich traditions – when girls are finally allowed, at the invitation of the Vienna Philharmonic, to show what they can do before audiences of millions around the world. But recent statements by Philharmonic board member Daniel Frochwar and New Year’s Concert conductor Franz Wilser-Most have nixed that hope in the bud: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra sees an opportunity to lead a female maestro’s New Year’s Concert. At least in the medium term. First of all, said Froschauer, ten years of mutual experience must be established between the orchestra and the conductor. Needless to say, it was possible and necessary to start comprehensively a long time ago.

“The publicity and the frenzy that goes with it is dangerous,” Welser-Most explained. One would like to ask Mr. Welser-Möst if he was not at all afraid of putting himself in danger of a New Year’s party? Isn’t all the publicity too much for him anyway?

The New Year’s Eve party has been held 83 times and has never been performed by a woman. But the same men several times: Franz Wilser-Most, for example, three times, Zubin Mehta five times, Riccardo Muti six times. And when Christian Thielemann throws a New Year’s Eve party on January 1, 2024, it will be the second time in his career.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra could set a global role model if it finally allowed women to conduct. Instead, they prefer to stick to their old, traditional structures.

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It will be difficult for many girls and women to stay cheerful in 2023.