Bassist Orin O’Brien, who retired in 2021 from the New York Philharmonic after a 55-year career at the orchestra. Photo by James Estrin/The New York Times.

In Wednesday’s (11/15) New York Times, Javier C. Hernández writes, “For decades, the New York Philharmonic, the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, was an all-male bastion. Then, in 1966, came Orin O’Brien, who played the double bass. Often described as the first woman to become a permanent member of the Philharmonic, O’Brien was part of a pioneering group of female artists who opened doors for other women. Last year, for the first time in its 180-year history, women outnumbered men in the ensemble. O’Brien, who retired from the Philharmonic in 2021 after a 55-year career, has resisted speaking publicly about her life in music … But a new documentary short, The Only Girl in the Orchestra, directed by her niece, the filmmaker Molly O’Brien, looks at her struggles and achievements…. The Philharmonic, which was founded in 1842, was long closed off to women. It was not until 1922 that it hired its first female member: Stephanie Goldner, a harpist. But she departed after a decade, and the orchestra became a male bastion once again until the arrival of O’Brien. In a recent interview … O’Brien, 88, reflected on her early days in the Philharmonic, the strides made by women in classical music, and growing up in California with movie-star parents.”