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Vienna opera appoints first ever female concertmaster

Latest update : 2008-05-08

A former concertmaster at the London Philarmonic, the Bulgarian violinist Albena Danailova is set to become the first ever female leader at Vienna's State Opera. The venerable Austrian institution only opened its doors to women ten years ago.

The Vienna State Opera has appointed a woman as as leader, or concertmaster, for the first time, the prestigious opera house announced on Thursday.

Sofia-born violinist Albena Danailova, who has already held the position of concertmaster at the London Philharmonic, will become the first-ever woman to lead the orchestra of Vienna State Opera.

Danailova already plays first violin in the orchestra and in the Bavarian State Opera orchestra in Munich.

She will take up her new position on September 1, a spokeswoman said.

"After an initial probation period of a maximum two years, a final decision will be made about her definitive appointment," the house said in a statement.

The state opera's house orchestra is made up largely of members of the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic, which only admitted women into its ranks just over 10 years ago and where female faces are still relatively rare.

The quota of women in the opera house's orchestra is somewhat larger, but male players are still in the majority.

Vienna State Opera's director, Ioan Holender, was thrilled that a woman had been appointed as orchestra leader.

"My time here will come to an end with a female concertmaster in place," he said.

Holender is scheduled to step down as in at the end of the 2009/2010 season after a total 18 years at the helm of one of the world's greatest opera houses.

Date created : 2008-05-08

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