Sex Bias Lawsuit Against NY Philharmonic Dropped

Classic Arts News   Sex Bias Lawsuit Against NY Philharmonic Dropped
A sex discrimination lawsuit filed by violinist Anton Polezhayev against the New York Philharmonic in July 2005 has been withdrawn, The New York Times reports.

Polezhayev, aged 29 when the lawsuit was filed, claimed the orchestra fired him in February 2005 for gender-biased reasons, as it granted tenure to or advanced at least seven female violinists. The Leningrad-born musician, who joined the orchestra's second-violin section in September 2002, told the Times that he failed his 17-month probation in spite of favorable assessments, including one in which, he claimed, personnel manager Carl R. Schiebler called his work ''perfect.''

A spokesman for the orchestra, which denied the allegation of gender bias in hiring when the suit was filed, cited unspecified ''behavior'' problems in Polezhayev's discharge, according to the Times.

''He didn't get tenure because he wasn't doing his job,'' orchestra committee chairwoman Fiona Simon said, adding that females in the orchestra were not accorded preferential treatment.

Violin sections of U.S. orchestras frequently have the highest ratio of women to men, currently 2.3 to 1 in the New York Philharmonic, according to its web site.

''I just think it's about having the chops,'' Rita Shapiro, executive director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, told the Times. ''You'll get the job if you're good. I think gender is immaterial.''

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