Reminiscences of a New York Philharmonic cellist

Posted on: October 27, 2016

Evangeline Benedetti, a cellist in the New York Philharmonic from 1967 to 2011, and author of Cello, Bow and You: Putting It All Together, recently published by Oxford University Press, is interviewed by Celine Aenlle-Rocha in last Thursday’s (10/20) in Oxford’s blog. Benedetti says that her most memorable musical experience was “playing Mahler’s Second Symphony … with the New York Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein conducting.” In the cello repertoire, she says, Bach’s six suites “are probably the most satisfying … in their completeness.” Benedetti recalls, “When Philharmonic Hall (now David Geffen Hall) at Lincoln Center was built, they were certain that there would be no women in the orchestra.… They built no dressing rooms for women. Therefore when Orin O’Brien, the first tenured woman, and I, the second, won our respective auditions and were admitted to the orchestra, they originally solved the problem by having us change into our orchestral black costumes in a public women’s bathroom. They just put lockers in there. Finally after a few years and more women came aboard, they built a dressing room for us. I suppose they realized women were here to stay.”

Posted October 27, 2016