The Vienna Philharmonic’s First Female Concertmaster Helps the Music Flow

At a recent performance at the Vienna State Opera, Albena Danailova’s skillful violin playing stole the show as she led the orchestra through Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Remarkably, Ms. Danailova is the first female concertmaster in the history of the Vienna Philharmonic, taking on the role in 2011 after having joined the orchestra of the State Opera three years earlier. With upcoming performances and collaborations with renowned conductors, she is proving to be a formidable and influential force in the Philharmonic.

In an interview, Ms. Danailova acknowledged that while there has been an increased awareness of gender disparity in orchestras and conductors, this has also led to heightened competition. She emphasized the importance of individual achievement, stressing that excellence is ultimately what matters in the pursuit of equality.

The Vienna Philharmonic made history in 1997 by adding female players to its roster, with the most recent recruits being the violinist Lara Kusztrich and the clarinetist Andrea Götsch. There are currently 24 women in the 145-member orchestra. The orchestra’s academy has also seen significant female representation, with women occupying eight of the 13 seats.

The situation is similar in other European orchestras, with many still working towards achieving gender equality. For example, in Germany, only 21.9 percent of concertmaster positions are held by women. In the United States, the proportion of female players in orchestras stands at around 47 percent. Ms. Danailova expressed the need to continue this trend of increased representation and the need to recognize individuals based solely on their abilities.

She assumed that her role as concertmaster is similar to that of a soccer team captain, requiring her to lead, coordinate, reassure, and challenge as necessary. Her responsibility is to ensure the music is delivered in the best possible way as an intermediary between the conductor and the orchestra.

Ms. Danailova also highlighted the importance of preserving musical traditions, especially in the digital age. The Vienna Philharmonic has maintained its signature sound by working exclusively with guest conductors rather than appointing a music director. In addition to her work with the orchestra, Ms. Danailova is now a professor at the University of Performing Arts in Vienna, passing on her knowledge and experience to younger musicians.

With her unparalleled talent and dedication, Albena Danailova is not just breaking gender barriers but is also contributing to the rich musical heritage of Vienna. Her influence on the Vienna Philharmonic and the future generations of musicians is profound, demonstrating that gender is not the deciding factor in her role as concertmaster.

Join Our Social Group For Latest News Updates

WhatsApp Group

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *