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Woman with tuba hits the big time

Carol Jantsch is one of the few female tuba players in a major orchestra
/ Source: The Associated Press

A 20-year-old woman has made it big with The Philadelphia Orchestra — she’s been hired to be its tuba player, a job normally held by men in major orchestras.

Carol Jantsch, a senior at the University of Michigan, beat out 194 other hopefuls for the vacant tuba seat in Philadelphia.

“The fact that she is a young woman playing a very un-womanlike instrument is really extraordinary, and it is almost a miracle that she is both so young and so accomplished,” said Christoph Eschenbach, the orchestra’s music director.

Fritz Kaenzig, her university tuba teacher, said tuba-playing has been a man’s world because women don’t generally have as large a lung capacity. Jantsch is an exception, he said.

“She is so determined musically she gets the air in any way she can,” he said.

“This is probably the best job I could ever hope for,” Jantsch, who expects to graduate college in April, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Orchestra officials said Monday that, based on their research, she may be the first female tuba player in a major full-time American orchestra.

Jantsch won first place in three international competitions in 2004. She has performed as a substitute tuba player in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Her predecessor, Paul Krzywicki, held the job for three decades, from 1972 until 2005.