I usually listen to NPR when I am driving around town. Today I caught part of “Cityscape,” a local show that covers the arts in St. Louis. Susan Slaughter, former principal trumpet of the SLSO was on the show talking about some upcoming brass holiday concerts (a yearly event, evidently.) Susan was principal trumpet of the symphony for over 30 years. She just recently retired, and is greatly missed.
In any case, she was talking about the challenges women playing brass instruments faced back when she was starting out (late 1960’s/70’s) and how they worked hard to pave the wave for women today. She told a story about the former principal cellist of the symphony at the time of her audition and how he told her, years later, that he stood up and walked out during her audition, but then heard her play and hung around. She mentioned that all she and the other women wanted was a chance to play an audition, and IF they were the best, to win.
Listening to the interview made me very emotional! What a jerk, to walk out of an audition like that. How is it any better that he came back because she played well? I’m sure many men played poorly and he didn’t walk out! I wish people would just put aside their judgemental presuppositions, and instead simply try to treat every person as they would wish to be treated.
In any case, I am certainly thankful of how far women have come. I would never be turned away from an audition or job interview because of my gender (and string players certainly were, just not quite as recently as brass players). It’s due to people like Susan Slaughter. I want to say, Thank you!
Here is a link to the interview. It’s the first segment.