Vienna Philharmonic Concertmaster Albena Danailova, left front, with guest conductor Daniel Harding and the orchestra. Photo courtesy of the Vienna Philharmonic.

In the December 23 New York Times, Rebecca Schmid writes, “Albena Danailova, 48, is the first female concertmaster in the history of the Vienna Philharmonic. She assumed the role in 2011, three years after beginning as a player in the orchestra of the State Opera. (Philharmonic musicians play in the pit for three years before having the opportunity to become an official member.) The Bulgarian native maintains a busy schedule including chamber music activities and coming concerts … In a recent interview … Danailova observed that recent awareness of gender disparity among orchestra players and conductors had allowed women to feel ‘more encouraged’ and ‘trust themselves more…. One’s achievement is what counts,’ she said. ‘Because when the doors are open to everyone, the question is: Who is the best?’ The Vienna Philharmonic first initiated female players in 1997 … Currently, 24 of the orchestra’s 145 members are women…. The majority of orchestras in Europe and beyond have yet to achieve full gender equality…. In the United States, the proportion is higher, around 47 percent, according to a report this year from the League of American Orchestras … Danailova said, ‘As an intermediary between conductor and orchestra, one has to hold the doors open for the music in the best possible way.’ ”