Here's a fairly annoying — and more to the point, thoroughly dismaying — commentary by Justin Davidson, classical music critic for New York Newsday:
In the symphonic music world, the Vienna Philharmonic defines prestige. [...] The Philharmonic is Austria's preeminent purveyor of Austria's most visible export: classical music. But it is more: To many people around the world, and in its own corporate estimation, it embodies the quintessence of the Western musical tradition.
I have heard and written about the orchestra many times, but I will not be attending Friday's Carnegie Hall performances - or Saturday's, or Sunday's - and it may be years before I review it again. A decade after it supposedly committed itself to entering the 21st century, I believe that the Vienna Philharmonic has relinquished its claim to serious consideration as a dynamic cultural organization.
Almost exactly 10 years ago, on the eve of another U.S. tour and under pressure from the Austrian government, the orchestra struck down the statute in its bylaws forbidding women from becoming members. That change permitted Anna Lelkes, a harpist who had been playing in the orchestra in an unofficial capacity for many years, to become a full-fledged member. She has since retired.
In the decade since that change in policy, the orchestra has replaced about 40 people, and still has a solitary female member — another harpist, Charlotte Balzereit - and 136 men.
The Vienna Philharmonic cannot keep women out forever, especially since it professes not to want to. [...] Inevitably, the orchestra will change. And when it does, I will recover my interest in hearing what it has to say, hoping to detect that great old sound fired by new ideas.
What's so thoroughly dismaying is that this muddleheaded, musically and aesthetically irrelevant PC gobbledygook — the same class of muddleheaded, musically and aesthetically irrelevant PC gobbledygook spouted by pseudo-high-minded blockheads who, say, refuse to attend a Wagner opera or listen to Wagner's music because Wagner was a rabid anti-Semite — is coming not from some wild-eyed, radical leftist academic or agitator, but from a Pulitzer Prize winner, and one of the East Coast's most respected classical music critics. You know. One of the good guys.
Get a grip!, Mr. Davidson, and back on track, please. You're doing classical music and the world of high culture a grievous disservice by penning this sort of muddleheaded and irrelevant rubbish. Leave that sort of thing to the Humanities departments of academe. They're so good at it.