After much musical education, she played with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic, where she caused an uproar as the first ever female member, having won a blind audition twice. Herbert von Karajan, the General Music Director and "conductor for life," hired her in September 1982; but the players voted her out by a vote of 73 to 4. The orchestra insisted that the reason was her "tone," but most observers - including Karajan - believed it was because of her gender. The fracas led to Karajan's devoting more and more of his time to the (equally all-male) Vienna Philharmonic.
According to William Osborne, "Meyer suffered extreme harassment, such as seating herself at rehearsals only to have the men slide their chairs away from her...." (http://iawm.org/articles_html/osborne_women_in_intl_orch.html). In 1983, after nine months, Meyer left the orchestra to become a full-time solo clarinetist. Orchestras with which she has performed include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo NHK Symphony Orchestra, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. In addition, she performs regularly with the Radio Symphony Orchestras in Vienna, Basel, Warsaw, Prague, Turin, Budapest, Brussels and Copenhagen and with major orchestras in Spain, Italy, Holland, Japan and Switzerland. In addition to her work as a soloist, Sabine Meyer is a committed player of chamber music and plays all styles of classical music. Unlike many other stars of classical music, she finds great value in continued long-term collaboration with other musicians.
She is a member of the Trio di Clarone along with her brother and husband who have recorded many CDs. In late 2006 she undertook a short tour with the Mozart Clarinet Concerto. A particularly notable performance in this tour was at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra on 5 December. She is probably best known for her Mozart performances. By the 1990s she had become one of the most notable solo clarinetists, and has released many recordings since then.
She records exclusively with the EMI label and can often be heard on classical radio stations. She and her husband have two children, Simon and Alma, and share a professorship at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, and live in Lübeck. Her hobbies are cooking, reading and horse-riding. Other "members of the family" include Oskar the German shepherd cross, four horses (Sabine Meyer breeds horses) and several cats. Recent CD releases include a disc of French music for Clarinet and Piano with Oleg Maisenberg, entitled "French Recital". A CD of clarinet concertos by Ludwig Spohr and Franz Krommer was released on 2nd July 2007. For this, she collaborated with her student Julian Bliss.
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