Friday, November 24, 2017

Mariss Jansons' Foot Joins that of Andris Nelsons

In an interview in the Telegraph the other day, maestro Mariss Jansons put his foot in his mouth:
Hmm, well. Well I don’t want to give offense,” said Jansons, “and I am not against it, that would be very wrong. I understand the world has changed, and there is now no profession that can be confined to this or that gender. It’s a question of what one is used to. I grew up in a different world, and for me seeing a woman on the podium… well, let’s just say it’s not my cup of tea.
And now, in a statement released by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, he's attempting to walk it back, not too successfully:
Our chief conductor Mariss Jansons has asked us to publish the following statement of his: 
“In a recent interview with the British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’,  a quote from me was published which has provoked considerable attention in the media. I would like to respond to this with the following statement:
I come from a generation in which the conducting profession was almost exclusively reserved to men. Even today, many more men than women pursue conducting professionally. But it was undiplomatic, unnecessary and counterproductive for me to point out that I’m not yet accustomed to seeing women on the conducting platform. Every one of my female colleagues and every young woman wishing to become a conductor can be assured of my support, for we all work in pursuit of a common goal: to excite people for the art form we love so dearly – music.”
In the United States, a gaffe is defined as "when a politician accidentally tells the truth." That first, unguarded remark very likely represents what is in Jansons' heart. I hope that he is taking the opportunity to go see MGT, Susana Mälkki, Marin Alsop, and their peers so that seeing women on the podium can become his cup of tea.

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