Women on the podium are not my cup of tea. It’s a question of what one is used to. I grew up in a different world,” the conducting maestro says.

Unfortunately I can see this quote but to read the entire article I have to pay a fee and I’m not interested in subscribing to The Telegraph. Perhaps it would come across differently if I could see the whole quote? Or not.

UPDATE: I found more of the quote here:

Hmm, well. Well I don’t want to give offence,” 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.

I do take “offence” and I suggest that he adjust his thinking.

SECOND UPDATE:
A sort of apology:

“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.”

16. November 2015 · Comments Off on Practice! · Categories: Other People's Words, Practicing

… in the process of putting this speech together, it has forced me to really examine a few details about what has been particularly significant for me, as an individual, in this life that I have been having as a musician. And the results of this self-examination process getting ready for this speech, were interesting to me. Because for as much as I can stand here and claim to be a successful player, with Grammy awards and winning polls and now honorary degrees and all that stuff; one very fundamental thing has not changed, and I realized that it will never change, and that is this—that the main thing in my life, even as I stand here right now, right this second, is that I really need to go home and practice.

—Pat Metheny

This is from a speech he made from his 1996 commencement speech at Berklee College of Music

RTWT

06. October 2015 · Comments Off on Riccardo Muti’s Words … · Categories: Other People's Words, Read Online

HE: I was at an open rehearsal of yours with the Civic Orchestra, and you surprised me by saying that the world is losing its artistic values. How can we regain those artistic values, if our generation is losing them?

RM: First off, the basic element is education—if you teach kids how to move in the world of sounds, to interest them in the world of a symphony. It should be done in such a way that it becomes a pleasure and a discovery, not a punishment. Then, when they become adults, they will feel that they need this spiritual bread. But if you leave them in complete ignorance, you cannot expect that at the age of 20, 25, they will go into a concert hall to hear the [B minor Mass] of Bach or the Missa solemnis of Beethoven. It will be like being in an unknown world.

There is another thing: In the last [several] years, we have become a visual society. So instead of listening to the music, we want to see conductors exercising on the podium, pianists that communicate with God while playing, violinists that try to impress the public with sexy attitudes…All this didn’t exist 30 years ago, 40 years ago. Today, with television and other things, people are interested in what they see. Nobody speaks about the spiritual integrity of these [artists]; what they are conveying to the public.

So something dramatic is happening. And instead of helping the public to become more concentrated on the substance of what art is, we are following them—giving them candies instead of vitamins. The next time you go to a concert and see a conductor who moves more than is necessary, and opens his mouth like a shark, you have to boo.

MC: I’ve been waiting to do that! North American audiences always give standing ovations, no matter what.

RM: Yes. If the concert ends loud, you can be sure of its success. Because the public, when it is not educated, reacts to the physical impact of the sound.

So we please them, and we are ruining the quality of the audience. But this attitude that we still have of musicians in tails—dressed like penguins—and all this ceremony that has been going on for more than one century… This is something that is not helping the music to become [universal]. I want to see the moment in the future—I hope before I disappear from this planet—when [orchestras] do what I’m doing already in rehearsals, which is speaking to both the musicians and the public. That way, the public becomes an essential part of the process.

We have to change the world. Not “we”—you! You are young, after all.

RTWT

29. May 2014 · Comments Off on Thank you, Joyce DiDonato · Categories: Other People's Words

Ah, Joyce DiDonato, you once again nail it! (Do read the whole thing … it’s so very worth it.)

May I admit that this made me cry? Yes. I may. And I will.

This. Made. Me. Cry.

I need to remember … we all can remember …

You will never make it.
The work will never end.
It’s not about you.
The world needs you.

You … are now servants to the ear that needs quiet solace, and the eye that needs the consolation of beauty, servants to the mind that needs desperate repose or pointed inquiry, to the heart that needs invitation to flight or silent understanding, and to the soul that needs safe landing, or fearless, relentless enlightenment. You are a servant to the sick one who needs healing through the beauty and peace of the symphony you will compose through blood-shot eyes and sleepless nights. You are an attendant to the lost one who needs saving through the comforting, probing words you will conjure up from the ether, as well as from your own heroic moments of strife and triumph. You are a steward to the closed and blocked one who needs to feel that vital, electric, joyful pulse of life that eludes them as they witness you stop time as you pirouette and jettè across the stage on your tired legs and bleeding toes. You are a vessel to the angry and confused one who needs a protected place to release their rage as they watch your eyes on the screen silently weep in pain as you relive your own private hell. You are a servant to the eager, naïve, optimistic ones who will come behind you with wide eyes and wild dreams, reminding you of yourself, as you teach and shape and mold them, even though you may be plagued with haunting doubts yourself, just as your teachers likely were – and you will reach out to them and generously invite them to soar and thrive, because we are called to share this thing called Art.

06. July 2012 · Comments Off on Heard While Watching The Giants · Categories: Other People's Words

“It’s supposed to be fun. The man says ‘play ball’ not ‘work ball’ you know.”

-Willie Stargell

And I play oboe, not work oboe, as Dan just reminded me.

Clearly he’s never tackled the oboe!

06. February 2012 · Comments Off on He Will Enlighten You · Categories: Other People's Words

Conductor Kenneth Woods has a very frank post about lighting issues — as well as temperature issues — on his blog. Yes, indeed, he is so right! I don’t complain here any more &mdash or at least not too much (I hope!) — about issues with temperature and lighting. Sometimes I get in trouble if I whine on my blog because people do read it and they will confront me if they think I’ve said anything that might reflect poorly upon them or the particular company I’m grumping about. I’m very slowly learning to be careful and maybe even a little bit kind. It if isn’t kind, why write it, right? And, truth be told, mostly things are done pretty well where I work. Things that aren’t done well seem impossible to change in any case, so what’s the point of complaining? It would be like whining about my bad reed making skills.

Oh. Wait. I do whine about that. Forget that comparison!

But read his post. It appears he’d finally had enough and decided it was time to state his case.

17. September 2011 · Comments Off on Idomeneo’s David Packard Speaks · Categories: Opera, Other People's Words

The following is just the very end of a Mercury News article you might want to check out.

Q Will you underwrite another production for the company?
A You probably have no idea how much stress goes into producing an opera. There’s one crisis after another. I don’t rule out doing something else, but you have to think of what you can do to make a contribution.
I didn’t want to do this just to do it. I wanted to do it because I saw a way of doing a really good job of it. My motives in doing it were the real joy in seeing something like this done well, and all the people who participate in it — they love it! So I’m glad that I was in a position that I could do it. Sometimes you need to have a crazy person around to do things.
Do you know Satyajit Ray’s film, “The Music Room”? It’s about an old guy who wants to put on a really beautiful music concert. He wants to get all the best musicians. The world is collapsing around him; the modern world has caught up with him. And he wants to do one glorious gesture just to show that beauty still exists in the world, so he can go out in a burst of glory. Sometimes I feel like the crazy guy in that movie.

I’m very thankful to be doing the opera. So many many thanks, Mr. Packard!

15. September 2011 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Opera, Other People's Words

(Please excuse the all caps, but that’s how it was posted and I’m too lazy to change it.):

I HAVE SEEN IDOMENEO THREE TIMES, FIRST WITH LUCIANO IN CHICAGO, THEN WITH LUCIANO IN SAN FRANCISCO, BUT THE MOST THRILLING OF THE THREE WAS TUESDAY NIGHT AT OPERA SAN JOSE. CHRISTOPHER BENGOCHEA BOTH SANG AND ACTED THIS DIFFICULT R0LE WITH BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSIVE SOUNDS THAT SHOWED HIM AS A MAJOR TENOR VOICE OF OUR TIME. HE WAS SUPPORTED BY AN OUTSTANDING CAST, REBECCA DAVIS AS ILIA, CHRISTINA MAJOR AS ELETTRA, NOVA SAFO AS ARBACE, AARON BLAKE AS IDAMANTE, AND MATHEW EDWARDSEN AS THE HIGH PRIEST. THE ENTIRE CAST WAS SO SPLENDID THAT THE BEAUTIFUL SETS, COSTUMES, CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA MADE THIS AN EVENING TO REMEMBER FOR OPERA LOVERS. I FLOATED HOME AND THE NEXT DAY BOUGHT TICKETS TO GO AGAIN. FOR THOSE OF US WHO LOVE OPERA, THIS IDOMENEO WAS PURE “OPERA MAGIC!”

Written by Eloise Bouye, here.

Nice! :-)

In case you don’t already know, I’m a huge fan of Albrecht Mayer. I have this feeling he could play absolutely anything on oboe (or d’amore or English horn) and I’d be in heaven!

I just purchased the “Voices of Bach” recording. You might want to as well! (I got mine through iTunes, but I’m sure it’s available elsewhere.)

If we believe that behind the universe there is a Creator who instills order, must we accept our destiny, whatever it brings? Does this make us believers or fatalists? They are fascinating questions, which in Western art find their closest expression in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

-Albrecht Mayer

(Quote found here.)

18. July 2011 · Comments Off on Leon Fleisher · Categories: Other People's Words

I just received this:

Pianist Leon Fleisher on the PBS NEWSHOUR

Senior Correspondent Jeffrey Brown’s interview with legendary pianist Leon Fleisher will air on the PBS NEWSHOUR tonight (Monday, July 18). Fleisher sat down with Brown to talk about his life’s work in music, his struggle with an ailment that prevented him from playing with both of his hands, and his recent book ‘My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music.’

Listening is the great secret….If you don’t hear before you play, what you play is an accident….You have to hear in your inner ear your goal, your ideal, what you want it to sound like.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.