It used to be a nerdy thing, for people with stooped posture and glasses, but the image of classical music has changed and now musicians looking like supermodels grace the covers of CDs.

Yeah. Here I am. With glasses. Sigh. I sort of slump a lot too. But at least I’m not on the cover of CDs! Whew.

So how important are looks in the classical music biz now? I wonder.

You can read the article here.

Or you can just go take a gander at all the beautiful women at Beauty in Music. No men. Sort of seems unfair, doesn’t it?


  1. “The ACO’s Rivers says the way music is marketed is about to change again and images will no longer be essential to promotion.”

    Is she on crack? The Internet is going to make it so that images are no longer an essential component to promoting music?

    That Beauty in Music is a funny website.

    Anyway, I think the question you pose has a clear answer: looks are important. I think you can certainly find a quality position in many symphonies if you have the talent and the proper network contacts regardless of your looks. But if you’re going to be marketed as a soloist to mainstream audiences, looks definitely matter. It may not be the most important factor, and one would certainly hope not, but it matters. And quite a bit.

  2. It’s a tricky thing, this beauty stuff. At least I think so.

    We are such visual people (or many folks are anyway). So some fabulous musicians have been set aside or ignored by a good number. And yet I know “looks matter”, even while that is difficult for me, as a Plain Jane sort.

    I’m just glad most orchestral auditions are behind a screen around here. (Connections aren’t supposed to matter, by the way.)

    Have you ever heard the absolutely incredible Thomas Quasthoff sing? He’s fantastic, and sings both “classical” and jazz.

  3. I’ve never heard of Thomas Quasthoff.

    For the screen, that is for the finalists, correct? And resumes and reviewed before finalists are chosen, right? Resumes don’t have their names removed (do they?) and even if they did, you probably could tell who a person is based on their previous positions.

    The process is a lot more blind than interview processes for other jobs, but it’s not really “talent only”, is it?

  4. It really depends upon the group, but for my two groups everything is behind the screen, and we don’t know which person matches with which resume sent in. So yes, it’s “talent only” and entirely blind. I have mixed feeling about it, but knowing how things were done in the past I think it’s really the only answer. If we choose someone that doesn’t work out that can be dealt with due to probationary years.

    It’s sometimes easy to tell male from female with wind instruments, as we can hear breathing.