A five-century-old boys’ choir has been accused of gender discrimination for not accepting a nine-year-old girl. Her woke mother is suing Berlin’s oldest musical institution for not embracing modern world realities.
The State and Cathedral Choir Berlin’s gender-based admissions criteria violate Germany’s constitution, the girl’s mother has declared, hauling the boys-only choir into court on charges that it violates her daughter’s right to equal opportunities in state support.
The internationally famous choir has never admitted any females in its 554-year history, although it has a girls-only partner choir that her daughter is welcome to join. However, the mother insists that this group is not of the same caliber as the historic boys’ institution, which was made famous by Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn, and she says the state must step in to make things right. The family’s names have not been made public.
The choir’s directors claim the decision to reject the girl was “not predominantly” about her gender, adding that she would have been accepted had she displayed “extraordinary talent and motivation.” In a statement to the court, they explained that girls’ and boys’ choirs sound different for anatomical reasons, and maintained they were permitted to reject whom they wished on grounds of artistic freedom.
Lawyer Susann Bracklein called the rejection and the reasoning behind it “very strange” – what is this freedom you speak of? – given that the Berlin University of the Arts, which operates the choir, had recommended the girl to another elite school for young musicians. Gender bias, she declared, was the only explanation for the girl’s rejection from the historic choir.