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Age Discrimination in Youth Symphonies?

A 60-year old musician has recently filed a lawsuit against the Young Concert Artists organization alleging age discrimination. The musician, recently let go from his position in the New York City Ballet orchestra, contends that the Young Concert Artists policy of only allowing musicians up to the age of 26 audition is an example of age discrimination.

While this suit may have been filed solely for attention, as some journalists have been quick to point out, it does raise interesting questions about age limits in the preforming arts. Is it ethical to place age limits on the individuals able to audition for specific orchestras? In this case, the Young Concert Artists exists to showcase the talents of musicians that are still developing and have not had as much exposure as some musicians with long careers. In this sense, these groups aim to introduce and nurture young musicians at the early stages of their playing careers, and thus an age cap makes a great deal of sense.

What do you think? Should there be laws against age limits in orchestras designed at young performers, or are these groups and caps necessary to the development of future generations of musicians?

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