Posted by BE on February 12th, 2013
On the subject of women playing classical violin, viola, cello etc especially in orchestras but even when backing popular music performers (popera, MOR pop bands etc) – they always seem to be very good looking. I know this is partly due to good grooming, but I wonder whether looks play a part in who gets the job when they apply for the undoubtedly highly coverted and very limited number of jobs available. Orchestras, for instance, are pretty much like every other employer. The occassional position comes up, a good number of extremely competent musicians apply and Viola! In fact, when you think about it, being an attractive women musician may be more of an essential requirement in classical music than it is in R&B, Country, Pop or any of the other genres.
Goodness, I hadn’t expected the comments to go in quite this direction and I really don’t know enough about the business to agree or disagree. However, I have over the years noticed, primarily in the Listener’s classical music review section, that the prima donna exponents of the violin, viola, cello, harp, voice etc were indeed often extremely (classically) beautiful women. And then there are the Vanessa Mae’s of this world.
Being beautiful as well as talented is clearly an asset in the performing arts, though I doubt that it is essential. The homely Susan Boyle has probably earned more money in her relatively short career than most classical and many pop performers. On the other hand, would Dame Kiri Te Kanawa have had quite the international appeal that she has enjoyed had she been a less handsome woman.
What we need are some musos to enlighten us.
As a final aside, watching the video it occurred to me that the cello requires a somewhat ungainly posture from the person playing it.
I think it’s good grooming, in the main: I don’t know that so many orchestras have vast quantities of virtuosas available, so they only pick the beauties. Get the best musicians and scrub’em up good. Afterall, it’s far easier to make a talentless bimbo sound great (Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole et al spring to mind) than to make Adele or Mama Cass look great, so if you can make it as a singer with the raw materials of Susan Boyle, believe me, it’s because you’re a great singer.
The wardrobe departments of some of these orchestras could’ve made Janis Joplin look fantastic.
Brilliant. Whatever position that young lady has in an orchestra was earned with talent. Nothing to do with good looks.
Lovely, especially with eyes closed so I wasn’t distracted by attractiveness lol
I quite agree. The closed eyes seemed to me an expression of sheer joy in the playing.
I personally am not attracted to the ukulele. However I did spot that an attractive woman was playing an instrument nearby. I feel the boot may be on the other foot, and that the woman is attracted to the safety of her accompanying musicians. The males in many of these orchestras are either old, or resemble nerdy eunuchs, appearing to pack the testosterone levels of a castrated ant.
The earlier comment brings to mind a Beecham quote: “The trouble with women in the orchestra is that if they are attractive it will upset my players and if they’re not it will up set me.”
And another one to a lady cellist: “Madam, you have between your legs one of the most beautiful things known to man and all you can do is sit there and scratch it.”
James Hill is a Ukelele virtuoso Anne Davison is good accompanianist.I prefer this clip as it has more life to it.
Thanks Brian its an interesting aside.
The cellist ain’t half-hot, is she. Seems, that she’s doing her impersonation of Sharon Stone a la Basic Instinct. But, in the best possible taste of course.
Wonderful sound and talent. It is amazing how, with a minimum movement of his hand and fingers, the single ukulele can make such a combination of notes and chords. (Me thinks there are more instruments off camera contributing to this engaging piece however).
Probably not logie – the man’s a master musician a la Mike Oldfield: you’d be amazed at how these blokes can run separate bass and treble melodies with just four strings and a couple of fistfuls of fingers.
Or should that be fistsful?
The style of playing is very close to traditional or old time frailing banjo. That is a down down down rhythm as played by African slaves when the banjo came to America. The beat with the feet is a direct copy of Appalachian folk dance often performed with frailing banjo. The ukulele (unlike most string instruments) can be played as a banjo because its top string is a high drone.
Appreciate your expertise, Julian. Nice to hear from you again. Cheers. Brian
Nicest ukelele music I’ve heard since listening to the fabulous Israel Kamakawiwo’ole “over the rainbow’ track. Now, if folk want to be irelelevant and talk about personal appearances I’m sure they could have a field day with Israel, really if we ponder on physical appearances, do we not keep these thoughts to ourselves.
The Gerry Garcia of the Uke!
Terrific piece of music; thanks for the introduction.