09.06.1312:24 PM ET

Male Conductor: Females on Podium ‘Distracting’

First woman set to conduct Britain’s Last Night of the Proms.

England is gearing up to celebrate classical music with its Last Night of the Proms on Sept. 7, an annual patriotic summer event that is 118 years old. And for the first time ever, a woman, Marin Alsop, is set to conduct the orchestra. But conductor Vasily Petrenko, the Oslo Philharmonic’s conductor, told a Norwegian newspaper that female conductors are distractions. He said that orchestras “react better” to male conductors and that “a cute girl on a podium means that musicians think about other things.” Petrenko backpedaled on his comments by saying that he only meant what he said to apply to Russia, his homeland.