A French TV site tears strips off sexist director Mantovani

A French TV site tears strips off sexist director Mantovani


norman lebrecht

October 09, 2013

The outrageous assertions by Bruno Mantovani, director of the Paris Conservatoire, that women can’t conduct and don’t really want to, have been taken up by a feminist blogger on the website of France TV.

marie donzel

Marie Donzel is not going to let Bruno get away with this. She compares him to one of those sports commentators who let their gobs run away with them in the heat of a match and wind up revealing their sexist, racist heart. As for women’s ambitions, what does a pampered prick who has risen seamlessly through the corrupt musical bureaucracy know what women musicians really want?  Ouh la, la, Bruno, tu n’as pas commencé que déjà tu glisses.

Read Marie here (en francais, but feel free to post a translation).



  • Feminist Red Guard at work, always ready to denounce anyone doubting the wisdom of Chairman Estrogen. What is the civilized world turning into?

    • Les indépendants non-pistonnés says:

      This has nothing to do with feminism. What Mantovani has said is shallow and damning and goes against his mission as a conservatoire director (to create excellence, manage, inspire, solve problems…)

      Mantovani, a product of a very privileged background, should be the last person to talk about the ‘concours’ as the ultimate selection method. As a director of a conservatoire superieur he would have been selected directly by the government.

      Cocky Napoleonic guru-figures like Mantovani, who have always had the wind in their sail, are the calamity of the French cultural scene. They are the people who kill creativity, hinder talent, and who enjoy long rides on the bureaucratic gravy train. C’est du déjà vu…

    • @skrpsi: No, there’s another issue at work here, one which is only too familiar in France, and to women in particular. It’s frustration that someone who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and who has, through no particular effort of his own, has managed to be appointed to a post for which he possesses no discernable qualifications or aptitude and who now pontificates on subjects he has never had to confront in his cossetted, privileged background.

      I’ve taught good and bad conducting students of both genders and have played under both. All real musicians want is a meritocracy; we all respect someone who can do the job. It’s not complicated to understand, but there are many with vested interests in keeping the male-dominated status quo, and that’s where the frustration begins.

  • Seconde 28 : “Vous savez, le métier de chef d’orchestre est compliqué”

    Anyone who has seen Bruno Mantovani in front of an orchestra will agree with this.

    • Les indépendants non-pistonnés says:

      Sure! He is just one of those narcissistic, know-it all figures much loved by the French Soviet-styled administration. How the French can appoint people without a background in education and management to a conservatoire director position is beyond me.

      • Hallelujah! Someone other than I who equates French administration culture with the former Soviet Union! I really was starting to think it was just me who felt that.

        • Les indépendants non-pistonnés says:

          Theodore Mc Guiver

          Sure it is! On top of that, with the money they put into culture, they should be achieving much more.

          • How true, how true…The talent is there, but it’s not being well taught…

          • Les indépendants non-pistonnés says:

            I wouldn’t say that people are not being well though because there are a lot of excellent regional conservatoires, but if you want to become a world-class professional you are likely to have to go a conservatoire superieur of which there are only two (the entrance to these is insane).

            The French system is there to hinder progress..again another Soviet trait!

  • Stella says:

    Bravo Théodore! J’adore!

  • So, there is nothing that men can do better than women, but, of course, no doubt there are many things women do better tahn men. There’s a patronicing idea if you want one. Only that, in this case, women seem not to care.

    • Ian Pace says:

      There are probably very few things about which one can make blanket statements about half of the human race, other than obvious things like breast-feeding. Only when there is nothing particularly noteworthy about female conductors (who, like male conductors, will be of all types and all ranges of ability and talent) will some progress have been made.

  • “The outrageous assertions by Bruno Mantovani, director of the Paris Conservatoire, that women can’t conduct and don’t really want to…”

    Not once did he say that women were unable to conduct.