"Men get a lot more chances to play on large, fantastic stages. I want to give female musicians that same chance," says double bass player Eline Cote.
Eline is a last year student at the Conservatoire and wrote her master thesis on sexism in classical music. The entirely female Symphonic Orchestra Virago grew from this research. It is a big success as it turns out: "We have more people than we actually need. Every day I get messages asking if it is still possible to join. We rehearse in Antwerp and yet we have people from all over Belgium", says Eline.
"This project proves that musical talent and expression are not accompanied by gender."
"An entirely female orchestra should not become the norm. But if you want to raise awareness about something that has been crooked for years, you need to take a more extreme stance," says Ine Vanoeveren, flutist and doctor of the arts. An excellent project to stir up the debate.
"In an ideal world, this orchestra is no longer needed."
On the 8th of March Virago will play its first concert with a select repertoire of female composers such as Amy Beach, Marga Richter, Augusta Holmès, ..., conducted by Pascale Van Os (alumna Conducting at the Conservatoire). The proceeds of this concert will go to the equal rights organization HeForShe.
Read the article about Virago that appeared in the Antwerp Gazet on October 18 (in Dutch).