Yuri Temirkanov Makes Another Sexist Comment About Fellow Female Conductors

By Ian Holubiak on Mar 22, 2016 04:42 PM EDT
Yuri Temirkanov Makes Another Sexist Comment About Fellow Female Conductors British conductor and music scholar Jane Glover, circa 1975. (Photo : Erich Auerbach/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A leading maestro in the world of classical, Mr. Yuri Temirkanov has come under scrutiny after he was quoted as saying "I don't like women conductors" yet again (yes, this happened before). In today's progressive world, it might seem like these old-world attitudes are long gone. Perhaps he was misquoted, or taken out-of-context, but he did clarify, "We have different tastes. For example, I don't eat fish."

To which this reporter responds: Huh?

A full transcript of Mr. Temirkanov's interview at the Baltimore Sun can be found here for proper context. But, the statement strikes a nerve with readers--and for astoundingly obvious reasons. With a complete shift in the paradigm of sex and race in the modern age, these kind of elitist and out-of-touch social attitudes are foreign to readers in this reporter's age bracket. The new world, then, is no longer--or at the very least shouldn't be--divided by some ambiguous binary.

His quote, however, went something like this:

"[Tim Smith at the Baltimore Sun]: A few years ago, you were quoted as saying that you did not believe women should conduct. That caused controversy and led to some protests. Just for the record, what is your view about women on the podium?

"[Yuri Temirkanov]: Yes, women can be conductors. I am not against them conducting. But I simply don't like it. There are women boxing and weightlifting; they can do that. But I don't like watching. It is only my taste. We all have different tastes. For example, I don't eat fish."

For more context, here's a tweet mentioning Temirkanov's earlier statement on the topic below:

Does this mean that his own attitudes are not subject to change? Despite the notion of it being the most "olde-world" ideal we've ever heard, who really knows. All that we can decipher is that being a female counterpart to this conductor may not allow you a post alongside him--and that is not only an ignorant imposition but an atrocious notion to posit as well.

But perhaps the Russian conductor is a product of the realm he toils in. His male counterpart, Vasily Petrenko, revealed that, for Russian orchestras, male conductors are, in fact, "better." Exercise caution for those around you when reading the article hyperlinked above, please.

Nonetheless, Mr. Temirkanov has rekindled his former position with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra this week for a few performances, a post that he held with favor for seven seasons.

Hopefully the new age--and the remarkable measure of talent demonstrated by female conductors (for example, Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Jane Glover and Simone Young to name a few)--can help the aging Mr. Temirkanov get with it. And on that note, perhaps the entire genre of classical can wise-up and address it's rampant problem with sexism, too.

What would normally be a reference to the person discussed here in this story, we're going to change it up a bit. This time, here is an example of the fortitude and immense talent of female conductor Marin Alsop below for your viewing pleasure.

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TagsYuri Temirkanov, Vasily Petrenko, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop, JoAnn Falletta, Jane Glover, Simone Young

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