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The top flutist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra has filed a gender pay discrimination suit against the ensemble, claiming that her compensation is only about 75 percent that of her closest comparable colleague, the orchestra's principal oboist, who is a man.
The suit, which was filed on Monday by Elizabeth Rowe, the orchestra's principal flutist and one of its most prominent musicians, appears to be the first under a new law in Massachusetts that requires equal pay for comparable work. The law was passed in 2016, but it did not go into effect until Sunday, after employers had two years to rectify disparities.
Ms. Rowe's complaint also appears to be the first pay equity lawsuit brought by a leading orchestral musician, suggesting that the debate over gender equality in the historically male-dominated classical music world may be moving into new territory.
Half a century after the introduction of blind auditions, in which candidates are heard from behind a screen, women make up just over 47 percent of players in American ensembles, according to a 2016 report by the League of American Orchestras.