Anne Manson and the Vienna Philharmonic


IAWM list, November 2005


On November 10th, 2005, the New York Times published a short notice claiming that Simone Young is the third woman to conduct the Vienna Philharmonic.  They write:


"For only the third time in its 163-year history, the Vienna Philharmonic will be led by a woman when the Australian Simone Young conducts two concerts, on Saturday and Sunday, in Vienna . [...] The orchestra was led by Carmen Studer Weingartner in Salzburg and Vienna in 1935 and by Anne Manson in Salzburg in 1994." 


The Times is mistaken about Anne Manson.  She conducted the Salzberger Festspiel Orchestra, which is technically not the Vienna Philharmonic.  The Vienna Philharmonic denies that she has ever conducted them. (Or at least until it became a necessity to claim Manson for PR reasons.) 


It should also be noted that Carmen Studer Weingartner was the wife of the VPo's General Music Director in 1935, Felix Weingartner -- indeed a woman, but not the usual circumstance for a normal guest conductor.


Simone Young is actually the first woman to officially conduct the Vienna Philharmonic.  And she is unquestionably the first woman conductor they have chosen themselves.


One should always be cautious about the New York Times' reports about the VPo.  The music section's editor, James Oestreich, is an apologist for the orchestra and consistently spins the facts trying to defend them.


William Osborne