Musicians rejoiced 15 months ago when Jasmine Nakyung Choi, associate principal of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, was named principal flute of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Many saw it as a sign of enlightenment in a society often held to account for illegal discrimination.
Here’s the unhappy ending: last Saturday (we hear), players in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra voted against retaining Jasmine as their #1 flute.
We hear strong background rumours of sexism and racism from within the orchestra. Jasmine had been playing on top form all season. Despite being voted out, she was asked to play on for another year but has decided to have nothing more to do with the hostile ensemble.
She is now back on the job market.
We doubt she will be out of work for long, but it’s sad to see Vienna once again reinforcing historic stereotypes.
UPDATE: Johannes Neubert, the orchestra’s managing director, has responded here.
2nd UPDATE: Jasmine Choi replies here.