Polezhayev was hired by the Philharmonic in 2002, but did not survive his probation period and was asked to leave after the 2003-04 season.
The violinist says that in his two years with the orchestra, seven other violinists were given permanent jobs and all of those musicians were women. (The Times notes that 20 of the Philharmonic's 33 violinists are women.) In addition, he says, there was no cause for the orchestra to let him go, because he was told, in the spring of 2003, that there were no problems with his musicianship.
Among the defendants named in Polezhayev's lawsuit, which was filed yesterday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and complains of "discriminatory practices," are the orchestra, concertmaster Glenn Dicterow, and music director Lorin Maazel. The violinist is asking for back pay, damages, and a tenured position with the orchestra.
"They are damaging my career and embarrassing me in front of my colleagues and pretty much putting a black mark on me forever," Polezhayev said in an interview. He also said that not surviving the Philharmonic's probation period would keep him from ever getting an orchestra job.
The Philharmonic would not comment on the matter, although Philharmonic violinist Fiona Simon, chair of the orchestra committee, said, "He didn't get tenure because he wasn't doing his job. None of the rest of it is in the least bit relevant."