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Thread: Should women conduct?

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Should women conduct?

    Repeated from another forum: Some conductors of Russian background don't think so. Vasily Petrenko recently said that orchestras "react better" to male conductors and that "a sweet girl on the podium can make one's thoughts drift towards something else."

    An earlier interview with Yuri Temirkanov, who was a mentor to both Petrenko and Gergiev, includes this exchange:

    Q.: In your opinion, could a woman conduct?
    A.: In my view, no.
    Q.: Why not?!
    A.: I don't know if it's God's will, or nature's, that women give birth and men do not. That's something that no one takes offense at. But if you say that a women can't conduct, then everyone's offended. As Marx said, in response to the question "What's your favorite virtue in a woman?"-"Weakness." And this is correct. The important thing is, a woman should be beautiful, likable, attractive. Musicians will look at her and be distracted from the music!
    ...
    Q.: Nevertheless, you maintain that these are less than women, or less than conductors.
    A.: No, simply that in my opinion, it's counter to nature.

    Your opinion?

    The article is at http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...cal-music.html


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    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Is this even a discussion? Is there seriously anyone on this forum that would say no?

    If a guy can't keep his mind on the music while a woman conducts, that's his problem not hers.

    Petrenko and Temirkanov are idiots

    /thread.
    Last edited by violadude; Oct-05-2013 at 00:12.

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    Senior Member Ravndal's Avatar
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    I have met a couple who says that men should conduct. Women included.
    "That as s."

    - Mark Twain

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    The wonderful Bruckner cycle of Simone Young should be proof in and of itself that there is no reason to even consider this question. I've heard good things about her Ring cycle as well.

    The current leader of Boulez's Ensemble InterContemporain is Susanna Mälkki, and, although I've never cared much for her conducting, Marin Alsop has made quite a name for herself with American repertoire.

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Dinosaur blowhard! To be ignored

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    Marin Alsop is a wonderful conductor.
    And Sarah Caldwell was superb.
    Last edited by GGluek; Oct-05-2013 at 00:23.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Repeated from another forum: Some conductors of Russian background don't think so. Vasily Petrenko recently said that orchestras "react better" to male conductors and that "a sweet girl on the podium can make one's thoughts drift towards something else."

    An earlier interview with Yuri Temirkanov, who was a mentor to both Petrenko and Gergiev, includes this exchange:

    Q.: In your opinion, could a woman conduct?
    A.: In my view, no.
    Q.: Why not?!
    A.: I don't know if it's God's will, or nature's, that women give birth and men do not. That's something that no one takes offense at. But if you say that a women can't conduct, then everyone's offended. As Marx said, in response to the question "What's your favorite virtue in a woman?"-"Weakness." And this is correct. The important thing is, a woman should be beautiful, likable, attractive. Musicians will look at her and be distracted from the music!
    ...
    Q.: Nevertheless, you maintain that these are less than women, or less than conductors.
    A.: No, simply that in my opinion, it's counter to nature.

    Your opinion?

    The article is at http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...cal-music.html
    By "western" standards, even the most highly educated of Slavic males are throwbacks when it comes to male chauvinism, homophobia, and "macho" self-identification.

    There are other such cultures, non-christian and people with other complexions, where their women must cover their hair (or their entirety!), the men rationalizing that to see the women's hair has such a sexually strong appeal that it is maddening / distracting.

    The usual western reaction to that mind-set is to think of those macho men as no better than boys who have never reached adulthood, or even more basic, like animals with no level of self-control. I suppose we don't say the same thing about their Slavic equivalents because they are "Christian" and "Caucasian?"

    Any way, the Slavic throwback male, whatever else his accomplishments, is downright laughable when it comes to this area of being a throwback.

    [[ADD: The sweeping generalities above, of course, do not apply to each and every to the last Slavic male.]]
    Last edited by PetrB; Oct-05-2013 at 04:39.

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    Lets give Petrenko and Temirkanov a blindfold test of fifty emerging conductors and see if they can pick the genders.

    On second thought lets just roll our eyes and ignore them.
    Last edited by SimonNZ; Oct-05-2013 at 00:26.

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    Senior Member Cheyenne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The important thing is, a woman should be beautiful, likable, attractive.
    This is more than a little disturbing. Anyhow, all nonsense of course. Unfortunate that these views are still held.

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    Junior Member Fermat's Avatar
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    Vasily Petrenko recently said that orchestras "react better" to male conductors and that "a sweet girl on the podium can make one's thoughts drift towards something else.
    So, weak women can control their thoughts while being conducted by a man (not that innocent, delicate creatures like women usually have sexual thoughts to begin with), but strong men (all straight, of course) freak out at the sight of a girl and act like male freshmen on their first day of high school? Typical sexist nonsense that doesn't treat either men or women as actual adults.
    Last edited by Fermat; Oct-05-2013 at 01:24.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Marin Alsop was just over here conducting at the Proms and she was excellent and I believe she's taken over the Bournemouth Symphony.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Maybe I'm way off base , but possibly the reason why Temirkanov (I conductor I admire greatly ) made his
    unfortunate statements is becuse he's not actually a Russian but an ethnic Circassian from the Caucasus .
    The Circssians are Muslims, although I don't know if Temirknov is an observant one, and have a very
    traditional tribal culture with all kinds of quaint traditions and customs which date back to ancient times .
    They are as different in language and culture from the Russians from Arabs . They have very trditional attitudes toward
    the roles of men and women in society .
    They're a fascinating and very ancient people with an ancient chivalric code called the "Khabze" (very guttural kh ).
    You can see really cool videos of them on youtube and hear their weird language, which sounds more like Klingon
    than a human language .
    They came under Russian domination in the 19th century , and were the victims of genocide .
    Many fled to Turkey , Jordan and other middle eastern countries where their descendnts still live .
    Circssian folk music and traditional folk dances are cool ! Prokofiev's string quartet no 2 makes use of
    traditional Circssian folk songs .

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    Beginning in the Soviet years, Russia has had one of the first prominent female conductors, Veronika Dudarova, who made quite a few, good Melodiya recordings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veronika_Dudarova, working with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra since 1947.

    (Quote Wiki: "According to her son Mikhail, during a concert in Andorra in 1993, due to her intense style of conducting, Dudarova fell from the podium, but went on conducting the orchestra lying on the floor leaning on her right hand and the piece was performed to the end without an interruption.[4]")

    Soviet laws were progressive as regards women´s rights, but there´s a very conservative underlying tradition in the Russian society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism_in_Russia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_Russia), and current trends unfortunately seem to strengthen it - such as a church authority condemning feminism as a "mortal sin", and the trial against feminist happenings there recently, which had obvious flaws, as seen in the HBO documentary about it.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Oct-05-2013 at 01:46.

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    Senior Member Ondine's Avatar
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    The important thing is that women, actually, conduct.

    Yuri, I'm so sorry about you
    Last edited by Ondine; Oct-05-2013 at 05:22.
    'Small is Beautiful...'
    Leopold Kohr
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    English isn't my mother language... please be patient.

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    Senior Member deggial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fermat View Post
    women usually have sexual thoughts to begin with
    don't be silly, only men think about sex, women think about kittens.

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