Artists' Concert Attire: Can Sexy Be Serious Too?

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Read through the fall brochures and web sites of many American symphony orchestras and concert halls and one common theme soon grabs the eye: Youth and sex appeal are the order of the day, especially for female soloists. It’s not necessarily a new phenomenon but it does continue to make waves.

Recently, the pianist Yuja Wang made jaws drop with an orange minidress and high heels she wore onstage at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Some felt that the dress distracted from the music at hand, while others argued that it was entirely appropriate to the setting and repertoire.

In this podcast, host Naomi Lewin welcomes three guests to talk music, fashion – and the lack thereof: Anne Midgette, the classical music critic of the Washington Post; Patrick D. McCoy, a singer, organist and host of a show on Blog Talk Radio; and Amy Frawley, the executive vice-president of Concert Artists Guild, a management firm that guides the careers of young artists.

Podcast producer: Brian Wise; Engineer: Bill O'Neill

Weigh in: What type of attire is appropriate for the concert stage? Should music critics discuss clothing and appearance? View this slideshow of performers' outfits and leave a comment below:

Joshua Bell Performs an afternoon outreach event at the White House on Nov. 4, 2010. Bell changed into more formal attire of black shirt and trousers for the evening concert at which President Obama spoke.

( MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images )
Scottish Violinist Niccola Benedetti
Scottish Violinist Niccola Benedetti ( Rhys Frampton )
Christoph Eschenbach frequently wears a Nehru jacket when he conducts
Christoph Eschenbach frequently wears a Nehru jacket when he conducts
Baritone Nathan Gunn opts for a casual look offstage
Baritone Nathan Gunn opts for a casual look offstage ( Dario Acosta )
Violinist Julia Fischer
Violinist Julia Fischer ( Decca/Uwe Arens )

Austrian actor Nicholas Ofczarek, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband baritone Erwin Schrott in Salzburg, Austria, August 26, 2010.

( Johannes Simon/Getty Images )
Violinist Hahn-Bin favors a flamboyant look on and off stage
Violinist Hahn-Bin favors a flamboyant look on and off stage ( Workroom K )
Soprano Danielle de Niesse
Soprano Danielle de Niesse ( Chris Dunlop/Decca )
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