Philadelphia Orchestra ends white tie and tails, adopts new concert attire for musicians

Posted on: October 7, 2021

“As the Philadelphia Orchestra begins its new season this week, it does so with a major trespass of tradition: No more white tie and tails,” writes Peter Dobrin in Tuesday’s (10/5) Philadelphia Inquirer. “The ensemble has gone informal, at least relatively speaking. Men of the orchestra are now wearing a black suit, black shirt, and a long black tie, with women’s attire unchanged from the current full-length black dress, skirt, or pants policy long in place…. ‘We’re well into the 21st century. It’s time to acknowledge that in many ways, and one of them is the way the orchestra looks on the stage,’ says Philadelphia Orchestra president and CEO Matías Tarnopolsky…. ‘If it makes people more comfortable to come to a concert, that’s a reason right there to do it,’ says double-bass player David Fay, chairman of the orchestra’s members’ committee. At a time when orchestras are working toward greater inclusion, white tie and tails is ‘redolent of exclusion and elitism, and it’s appropriate to cast that off,’ says Simon Woods, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, the sector’s trade group. ‘I think more and more orchestras will do it.’ More are already.”