Out of tune with the stereotypes

Out of tune with the stereotypes

After an admirable career abroad, multiple-award-winning violinist Katerina Chatzinikolau was recently appointed permanent concertmaster of the Athens State Orchestra – a first in the orchestra’s history. Besides being a huge personal success for the musician, this appointment is also a sign of progress for the field of classical music in Greece, which strives to become more inclusive and equitable. “Yes, even in our time, it is uncommon to place a woman in a top permanent position,” Chatzinikolau says. “The conservative cliche prevails, especially in the world of classical music, that a man should lead in a demanding position like concertmaster.” Born in Gorgopi, a village in Central Macedonia, she left at the age of 12 to study in Dusseldorf and recently returned to her home country after 25 years in Germany. “Many times, I have heard from colleagues, as a compliment, that I play like a man. They mean that male playing has confidence and exudes assurance. What does gender have to do with confidence? These are cliches we use without realizing it, but they exist in our minds. It is good to discuss and dismantle them.” [Elisavet Moraki]

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