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Wonders never cease: Vienna Philharmonic gives permanent status to its first female concertmaster

Gee, history was being made all over the place over the weekend.

While major health care was being enacted Sunday in Washington a century or so after being proposed, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on Saturday appointed its first female concertmaster in 168 years. Women weren't even admitted on a trial basis as players into the august ensemble until the 1980s, so we're talking a painfully slow process.

I'm not sure how frequently audiences

will see Albena Danailova in the concertmaster's chair -- I wouldn't be surprised if it were more often on tour than at home (the Philharmonic invariably took heat for its male-dominated traditions whenever it traveled, especially to New York). But the fact that the Bulgarian-born violinist has now been given the permanent appointment is still big news. Danailova, a former concertmaster of the London Philharmonic, was named acting concertmaster in Vienna two years ago; she formerly begins her tenure as tenured concertmaster on Sept. 1.

(I tried without luck to find a YouTube clip of the Philharmonic with her playing in the first stand; if you spot one, please let me know and I'll post it.)

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