Charismatic Russian-born conductor tells Norwegian newspaper that orchestras play better under men.

Vasily Petrenko, Chief Conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and now Music Director of the Oslo Philharmonic has caused a firestorm after he told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenpostenthat orchestras “react better” when the conductor is a man. “When women get a family, it becomes difficult to be as dedicated as the job demands”, he added.

Petrenko was being asked why he thought that among five new Norwegian conductors, none were female and none were Norwegian (both questions incidentally which could equally well be asked in Australia). “Men often have less sexual energy and can focus more on the music,” he went on. “A sweet girl on the podium can make your thoughts drift towards something else.”

The Peruvian conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya from Peru who is taking over at the Norwegian Radio Orchestra was asked the same question but merely said it “You should ask the women about that,” and declared that it was difficult to explain. “Why are there so few female presidents and prime ministers?” he added. “I haven’t played under a female conductor, but my impression is that as long as the conductor is...

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