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At only 8 years old, Scottish classical violinist Nicola Benedetti became the leader of the National Children's Orchestra of Great Britain. She has since gone on to lead a groundbreaking career as a violinist. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Sweet sound

Female violinists outnumber men in competitions and orchestras globally

By WITW Staff on March 5, 2016



For generations, women have been kept from the world of classical music but a recent announcement from the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition shows that gender ratios are changing, at least for one instrument. Of those competing in its senior division next month in London, 22 violinists are women and only one is a man, according to the Telegraph. Sixty-five percent of the applicants this year were women, director Gordon Back said.

“Back in the 1980s, when I was first involved in the competition, the men were in the majority, but the women were already gaining ground. Since then there’s been a big surge,” he said, adding that all of the finalists at a recent competition in Indianapolis were women. A current crop of talented violinists featured in the Telegraph piece included Nicola Benedetti, Esther Yoo, Patricia Kpatchinskaja, Alina Ibragimova, Maud Powell, and Anne-Sophie Mutter.

The Telegraph piece explains that since the orchestra audition process became gender-blind in the 1990s (performers play behind a screen) women have become dominant in those spaces as well.

Read the full story at The Telegraph.