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Beautiful Women Not Taken Seriously in Classical Music

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A rather good article in today’s NY Times about some of the obstacles women — particularly attractive women — face in the classical music industry,

In sports, film and pop music, many leading women have turned their strength into an asset. But Ms. St. John is not the only evidence that classical music still seems to have trouble dealing with strong women. If you’re attractive, it seems, you must also be cheesy and commercial.

I know with utter certainity that more attractive people are more likely to succeed in the music business; fair or not, this is an entertainment business, and people seem to want to be entertained by folks they consider to be pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to untalented but pretty musicians triumphing over far more competent — if less winsome — ones.

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  • It’s kind of hard to take it seriously when they’re pushing it with a sexy image of the artist in question. It just negates any sense of seriousness in their work – the primary objective appears to simply be to sell, not to entertain. Maybe the question should be turned around – how come these artists aren’t confident enough in their work that they don’t feel the need to splash their pretty faces all over it?

  • the sad thing is that i bet most of these musicians don’t have much control over how they’re marketed.

  • duane

    Nothing says “Bach Violin Solo” like a bare navel, long, flowing hair, and Venetian blind shadows on a bedroom wall.

  • Don’t forget the “violin bra,” Duane.

    Mark, I’m sure that may be the case, but they do have some control when it comes to contracts – they could have easily put a “no cheesecake” clause in the contract.

  • I’d say something here, but my head is still spinning from the juxtaposition of Jessica Simpson and Steely Dan.

  • There are no hot chicks in classical music.

    That is all.

  • And if there were, I’d give it to them fortissimo and they’d be all allegro. Know what I’m saying, nerds?

    Booey … OUT!

  • Bruce, just trying to come up with a pair of extremes… Sorry for the head rush, though.

  • just me

    Hmm… I think it’s important that there are the musical virtuosos to record classical music, but I also think that as classical music has been a pop music once, it can be it again, and that’s why I find it okey to promote those talented and beautiful women as well.

    Surely, for example, Linda Brava is a sultry model-looking mermaid, but she is also a former first violinist of the Finnish National Opera Orchestra and a child progidy on the violin touring around the globe with different orchestras as a concertmistress and soloist from the age of eight. And long before she was featured on the cover of Playboy (the article was done because of her status as a blonde violin sensation in Europe, and was all about to promote her pop career, not classical), she had done many solo orchestral appearances with many Finnish city orchestras and The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and had been given a lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical written to his Sydmonton Festival.

    Those young musicians have every right to be out there as listeners, who doesn’t give a s*it about the looks and players’ personalities can use the money to the albums they like best. To me, it’s much more delightful to buy a Linda Brava album, than, let’s say, Vengerov’s chamber music CD. I find Vengerov very distant and I has no intrest on his works (he plays so oddly) as Brava seems to be one of the cutest women I ever seen (saw her on BBC’s Big Breakfast years back).. And if someone asks how about the music on the album, I can only quote The Gramophone and say that as Brava is foremost a chamber violinist (althought, she has played with many orchestras as well) her album “is a delightful recital, lightweight to be sure, but played with such warmth, and an eloquent simplicity of line, that the ear is instantly beguiled… The playing itself is nicely polished as well as musically sensitive. A wellcome collection”.

    And last, I would like to ask if there is a point when someone is underestimating those musician?

  • just me

    Okey, I just found out that Ms Brava is doing a comeback to the US during the year 2007.

    She has lived the past four years in Sweden, where she has done two big concert tours, performed to the Swedish Court, released a new album (nordic folk melodies), and she also had a lead role in a show varietée for a year when not forgetting her participation in Rhapsody In Rock show in Royal Albert Hall in 2003.

    This year, she has been performing a lot in Russia and went also to Kazahkstan to play to its president. And now she has decided to concentrate the US again, and has signed up with manager Rory Johnston – the man behind Kashmir, The Doors Concerto, Symphonic Pink Floyd… He started his career as a Sex Pistols manager and has worked for Decca (England) and Universal (NY) for years.

    Ms Brava is going to film a music special with Anuna in Cleveland during January 2007, and it will be aired on PBS.

    Looking forward!

  • Jesse

    It’s really sad that these women are not taken seriously when they are SO much more talented than some of the mainstream so-called artists that dominate pop culture. You see things like the sexy women of classical music and can’t help but feel sorry for these ladies who obviously are so talented but have to use their sex appeal to find an ounce of success in the music world.