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Anne Collis

The Only Girl in the Orchestra
Anne Collis

By Anne Collis.

When I left the Royal Academy of Music in 1964, there were no women on ANY instrument except the Harp in any major London orchestra, and certainly none on the Percussion! In fact when I entered the RAM in 1962, there were no students studying Timpani or Percussion at all.

There had been a couple of famous women a few years previously, Maggie Cotton (who went to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and Pat Brady, who had held the job of Timpanist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but they were the only ones and non of the ‘Big Four (the LSO, RPO, LPO and Philharmonia) refused to even audition women!