Women in the orchestra

Today, the proportion of women in the Bayerisches Staatsorchester is over a third. That wasn’t always the case: in the photo from 1911, the only female member of the Musikalische Akademie can be seen in the first row, namely the harpist Leonore Kennerknecht-Buff. She was said to be related to Charlotte Kestner (born Buff), who went down in literary history as the historical role model of Lotte in Goethe’s epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. In 1892, Buff was accepted as a member of the Bayerisches Hoforchester, which later became the Bayerisches Staatsorchester. Other orchestras took much longer to take this step: while the Berlin Philharmonic accepted the first woman as an orchestra member in 1982, the Vienna Philharmonic only followed suit in 1997.

More about women in orchestras: https://www.kulturrat.de/themen/frauen-in-kultur-medien/beitraege-publikationen/gendersrecht-in-berufsorchestern/

More about Leonore Buff: https://www.sophie-drinker-institut.de/buff-leonore

Photo credit: Archive of the Musikalische Akademie