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The progress that women have made in integrating themselves into various occupations is particularly evident in the world of instrumental music. Women have made great strides in becoming part of the elite group of orchestral musicians, a job once considered only appropriate for men, even making their way into the top five orchestras in the United States. For the purposes of this project, these five major orchestras are the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra. While other American orchestras maintain outstanding ensembles and employ talented musicians, these five orchestras are of the highest caliber and offer some of most desirable orchestral positions.

In the interest of narrowing the field further, this paper looks specifically, at the progress within the flute sections of these major orchestras, although much of the ,data included in this project represents the progress of female orchestral musicians in general. It includes the results and opinions obtained through interviews completed with professional flutists offering their perspectives on what they have encountered in their audition, experiences for various orchestras. Also incorporated are their experiences as performers in various orchestras. Embedded in an interest in the integration of women into these top-tier orchestras are the answers telling when these changes occurred and,why the changes that took place did at those points in history.



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