Thursday, January 30, 2014

Doriot Dwyer Interview - Part II

In a previous post, last month, we shared the first segment of a three-part interview by ICA Classics on Powell player Doriot Anthony Dwyer, former Principal Flutist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra -- and the first female to hold a principal chair in a major symphony orchestra. Click here to view the first segment from our December 15th, 2013 post.

In the second segment of the interview, we learn more about Ms. Dwyer's upbringing.  She came from a very musical family, guided by her mother, who was also a flutist.  Her mother was one of four girls who each played a musical instrument, although their father was a businessman.  Her mother was raised to be very self-sufficient and self-disciplined due to the passing of her own mother at a very young age.  The discipline and self-control that her mother developed was certainly passed down to Ms. Dwyer, who recalls that she had to teach herself how to learn the music when she was in the Boston Symphony.  She recalls advice that her mother received from Dwyer's grandfather: "You have to learn to control yourself.  One day, you will have to have a job, and you will have to keep on playing, even if there are difficulties in your life."

When asked if she were scared when auditioning for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Dwyer said, "If I were scared, I wouldn't be trying out.  I couldn't be scared.  I knew I was never going to hear 'bravo' because I was a woman.  I hoped that if I did really well, the orchestra would cheer me on as they cheered their own."  She described conductors Pierre Monteux and Charles Munch as being very kind to her.  She mentioned that Mr. Munch was much more outward with his support, although she said, "He would never come up and give me a hug, and I wished he would -- because everything was so hard."  The gender discrepancies were quite evident, as she continued, "It was so hard for me to do all these things, and if I missed something, everybody knew it.  But, if someone else missed, everyone would say, 'This is really hard -- you see?  He made a mistake.  That shows how hard it was'."  But, Ms. Dwyer kept to herself and persevered despite the challenges of the time.

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