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Sabine Meyer

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Sabine Meyer (born March 30, 1959, in Crailsheim, Germany) is a German classical clarinetist.

Meyer began playing the clarinet at an early age. Her first teacher was her father, also a clarinetist. She studied with Otto Hermann in Stuttgart and then with Hans Deinzer at the Hochschule fuer Musik und Theater Hannover along with her brother, clarinetist Wolfgang Meyer, and now-husband, clarinetist Reiner Wehle, who played later in the Munich Philharmonic. She began her career as a member of the Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra. After much musical education, she played with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, where she caused an uproar as the first ever female member, having won a blind audition twice. Herbert von Karajan, the General Music Director and “conductor for life,” hired her in September 1982; but the players voted her out by a vote of 73 to 4. The orchestra insisted that the reason was her “tone,” but most observers - including Karajan - believed it was because of her gender. The fracas led to Karajan’s devoting more and more of his time to the (equally all-male) Vienna Philharmonic. According to William Osborne, “Meyer suffered extreme harassment, such as seating herself at rehearsals only to have the men slide their chairs away from her…” (http://iawm.org/articles_html/osborne_women_in_intl_orch.html).

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