14. June 2018 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble

…when the women of the New York Philharmonic walked on stage at David Geffen Hall recently to play Mozart and Tchaikovsky, they all wore floor-length black skirts or gowns. And they’re required to: The Philharmonic, alone among the nations’s 20 largest orchestras, does not allow women to wear pants for formal evening concerts.

When I first started playing in San Jose Symphony in 1975 women wore dresses. Pants were unheard of. I was playing the English horn for Swan of Tuonela one set, and as I was warming up I suddenly had major instrument issues … mostly nothing was coming out of the horn! I was rather terrified, as you might imagine, since the concert was about to begin. Turns out the fabric of my skirt had caught in a key. Funny to read the full article and see that Julie Giacobassi had the same issue! I’d not heard that story before. I do remember seeing her in tails, though.

I never wear skirts or dresses when I play English horn now, but then I rarely wear a dress in any case. Pants are more comfortable for me. Our contract, when updated, started to suggest “palazzo pants” (wide-legged pants). I’m fine with that, although I do primarily wear nice pants. The men wear pants so I see no reason why I can’t as well. In truth, too, I am just not much of a dress person. That doesn’t mean I wear clothes that look like casual things, but I will forever wear pants now.

I didn’t realize that the New York Philharmonic still required dresses for the women. I continue to believe that tails for men is a rather ridiculous thing as well. Why not all black? I think that can look very classy. MTT wears something other than tails yet the men of the San Francisco Symphony must wear them. I just don’t get it. Let’s update things a wee bit, shall we?

1 Comment

  1. Debbie Kramer

    Very interesting article!!! Thanks – I hadn’t realized NY Phil mandated skirts for evening concerts. I remember Julie’s tails, too :)

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