Mary Sue Welsh Discusses Her New Book One in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra

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Welsh says Phillips thought she was auditioning for the second harp position, but Stokowski being the great innovator he was, recognized her talent and hired her as principal harpist, to the shock of everyone.

Even though Stokowski was used to taking risks and being cutting edge in the musical world, Welsh says he was still a little worried about hiring Phillips.

"He did so many adventurous things that you wouldn't think he'd be so worried about it, but he was apparently," says Welsh. "And, yes, it was a risk. But it was just one more thing he did that was groundbreaking. He pioneered ways to record music, and he was very interested in technology. He was using synthesizers and would experiment with electronic things, so he was a big trailblazer, that's for sure."

And he would have to be, considering it was 1930 and not only were women not allowed in the great orchestras such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, or the Boston Symphony, women weren't expected to have careers at all.

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Darryle Royal
Contact: Darryle Royal