The title of our reading for this week, Music and Gender, reminded me of a story from a few years ago that I wanted to share. It's not really current news anymore except within the tuba community, but it is still a good story and shows one of the positive directions that music is going. In 2006, the Philadelphia Orchestra had an opening for the principal tuba seat and nobody could have predicted what would have happened. We know that the Philly Orchestra in considered to be one of the "big 5" in terms of US Orchestras (the others being NY, Boston, Cleveland and Chicago). So as it would be with any seat in the orchestra, the tuba seat was expected to have a massive audition number and it lived up to expectations with around 200 tubists trying out for the spot. The person that ended up standing at the end was Carol Jantsch who not only became the first woman to earn a tuba seat in a major orchestra but one of the youngest, being 21 years old and finishing up her senior year at the University of Michigan. To put that in perspective, Gene Pokorny, the tubist for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been playing with Chicago almost as long as Carol has been alive. In a profession where tubists enjoy sitting in an orchestra they enjoy for as long as possible, the premier seats become even harder to get. It truly is an amazing accomplishment.
You can see one of the original articles on this here.