Breaking: Perlman cancels North Carolina over discriminatory law

Breaking: Perlman cancels North Carolina over discriminatory law


norman lebrecht

May 17, 2016

The leading American violinist Itzhak Perlman has called a boycott of North Carolina over its gender and disabilities legislation.

He writes: As my fans know, I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally. As such, after great consideration, I have decided to cancel my May 18th concert in North Carolina with the North Carolina Symphony as a stand against House Bill 2. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently stated, HB2 “is about a great deal more than just bathrooms. [It] is about the dignity and respect we accord our fellow citizens.” I couldn’t agree more and will look forward to returning to North Carolina when this discriminatory law is repealed.  





  • Hilary Silvert Newell says:


  • Adam Stern says:

    Thank you, Mr. Perlman. I hope your equally distinguished and sensible colleagues follow suit.

  • David says:

    hear hear mr perlman!

  • CC says:

    I knew I liked this guy! He’s an amazing musician with a warm personality and high ideals. What more could you ask for?

  • David Osborne says:

    Sir, you are a legend. Bravo!

  • Berlioz says:

    No sir you are mistaken. This should not be equated with a disability. This is a psychological issue. Sexual Self Identification is absurd . “The idea that one’s sex is a feeling , has permeated our culture and is leaving casualties in its wake. Gender Dysphoria should be treated with psychotherapy, not surgery. ” Dr Paul McHugh: former head of psychiatry at John Hopkins.

  • Chris L says:

    Indeed, it’s about more than bathrooms. It’s about Man and His place in the cosmos; about people who place themselves above nature, thinking they’re God or something along those lines and that only they can define what they are, not biology or the laws of physics or causality; it’s about a global financial world continuing to encourage people to reject the last remnants of nature and common sense in whatever is left of our social order and to give free rein to their individualistic whims, so that they never stop consuming; lastly, it’s about the betrayal of the people by the elites, the artists like I. Perlman, the very people who should know better and enlighten us and who, on the contrary, bow to that dominant ideology and take part in what is effectively social terrorism.

    • berlioz says:

      Perfect comment, “The idea that one’s sex is a feeling, not a fact, has permeated our culture and is leaving casualties in its wake. Gender dysphoria should be treated with psychotherapy, not surgery.the meme—that your sex is a feeling, not a biological fact, and can change at any time—marches on through our society. In a way, it’s reminiscent of the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In that tale, the Emperor, believing that he wore an outfit of special beauty imperceptible to the rude or uncultured, paraded naked through his town to the huzzahs of courtiers and citizens anxious about their reputations. Many onlookers to the contemporary transgender parade, knowing that a disfavored opinion is worse than bad taste today, similarly fear to identify it as a misapprehension.” Paul McHugh: Former head of psychiatry at John Hopkins

    • Charles Corbet says:

      It’s about a small group of people being discriminated against and downtrodden by the ‘elite’ – members of the NC legislature. It’s about people who are well-known in the world, of art,music &c having the moral integrity to announce – publicly that they, on behalf of the downtrodden people, take a public stand against the oppressors. Bravo Mr. Perlman – shalom!

  • Rosana says:

    Bravo! An example to be followed.

  • Lisa Gross says:

    Guteh neshomeh!

  • Cubs Fan says:

    For all you who think North Carolina is such a horrible place, a place to be shunned, I have to evaluate this simple situation:

    YOUR 14 year-old daughter is in a public shower, naked, and highly aware of her changing body. She may think she’s fat, or under-endowed in the chest. In struts a hairy, horny 14 year-old boy with his willy flopping around, pointing at her. He can do it, because on that particular day he identifies with his female-gender side. IS THIS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU? Most decent, normal folks would say it is not. The stupid Obama administration has done this just to create another wedge issue. This time though, many states are fighting back saying that they will uphold traditional customs and morals. Bravo to them.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      Absolutely bravo. We have the same horrendous, so-called “progressive” cultural wars going on here in Australia.

      Now doubt the estimable Perlman should stick to what he knows best – being a musician.

      And Obama is the wind beneath Trump’s wings.

    • Alex says:

      My goodness, how did you ever manage to come up with such a salacious example?

      • Cubs Fan says:

        Salacious and guaranteed to happen in the US. You have no idea how vulgar, sex-crazed, raunchy and vile kids are today. Every day it seems there’s some new scandal involving teens and cell phones – sexting. Threesomes of Facebook. Sex with teachers. Of course, this never happens anywhere else in the world…

        • Harold Lewis says:

          Calm down, Cubs Fan, make yourself a milky drink, and try to get your mind off sex. It must take a ‘normal’ and ‘decent’ mentality to concoct your prurient and pre-ejaculatory fantasy about hairy, horny lads with wobbly willies – the stuff of which teen pornography is made.

          • Holly Golightly says:

            Clearly you do not live in the real world. Kindly step aside and leave the decision-making to the adults.

        • Alex says:

          I couldn’t help it. I had to giggle a bit, imagining you sitting there composing that extraordinary passage, in between mopping your fevered brow and nervously fingering your, uh, crucifix.

    • bbcorno says:

      That doesn’t really fall into the category of “simple situation”, it lies more in the realm of “imaginary hyperbole created by people who really, really feel a need to discriminate against transgenedered people”. Outing every transgendered person in the state of North Carolina will not do a single thing to protect anyone from child predators. That argument is a complete red herring.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        Why is it that the so-called “progressive” Left works from the bottom up; it always assumes the absolute WORST about human behaviour. That everyone is a bigot, that everyone discriminates against LGBTI, that everyone is venal. Yet these same ‘progressives’ always accuse conservatives of the very thing they believe themselves. They’re in constant moral panic.

        This is called ‘PROJECTING’. It’s what they do so well; insulting us in the process.

        Again, this is why you’ve got Trump.

        • bbcorno says:

          I didn’t use the word bigotry, nor did I state my comments in a conservative versus liberal framework, but since you brought it up, you do raise an interesting question. Why, indeed, would the left accuse the right of bigotry every time the right proposes a law that criminalizes a group of people just because they don’t share their values? Yeah, that’s a real head scratcher right there.

          • Holly Golightly says:

            Name 3 people in jail right now for that ‘offense’.

            Don’t worry, the nanny state will fix it. Nanny will make all the pain go away so that you can feel better; trigger warnings, safe spaces, pc. All the things which are actually horse shit. Again, this is why you have Trump.

    • P says:

      You have absolutely no idea of how a transgender person is or even how he/she looks like. Is it a tradition in North Carolina to point one’s “willy” at people in bathrooms? You consider it ok if the “willy” is pointed at YOUR 14 years old son? In North Carolina you can freely show your penis to other bathroom goers but only if they are males? Interesting traditions! It’s ridiculous ignorant Trump-voter homophobic rednecks like you who make the USA a joke for the rest of the civilized world.

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Maybe it shouldn’t, but it always surprises me when classical music fans are so backwards socially. I guess I expect lovers of the arts to be more…refined. This ludicrous situation you concocted out of your own sick fantasy has never happened and would not happen. And 14 year old boys don’t suddenly feel like a girl one day and go back to feeling like a boy the next day. That’s not how transgender works.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        Infantile, wishful thinking, naive, misguided. You need to get out more.

        • Alex says:

          I doubt ‘Holly Golightly’ is a classical music fan. More like just a troll, which we are unwisely feeding.

      • Adam Stern says:

        That’s one of the reasons I so treasure Volkmar Braunbehrens’ invaluable book “Mozart in Vienna”… After documenting and discussing Mozart’s relationships with Jews, blacks and gays, Braunbehrens concludes that “Mozart had no social prejudices whatsoever.” How good to know that the man was as good as the music.

        I’m also reasonably sure that Beethoven wouldn’t have been as attracted to Schiller’s text had it read, “Alle Menschen werden Brüder …ausser für:”

        • Holly Golightly says:

          This man can say it far more powerfully and eloquently than I can!!

        • Rich C. says:

          Remember that Henry-Louis de la Grange, in his massive biography, wrote that Mahler was “highly offended” (I think that was the phrase that was used) when a black person sat next to him on a New York City bus. You can’t correlate the arts with any kind of prejudice or non-prejudice.

          • Adam Stern says:

            I didn’t mean to imply that composers/musicians as a species are free of unfortunate lapses such as prejudice; I was exulting in Mozart’s apparent freedom from such things. It is comforting to know that the man behind “Figaro”, the C-minor piano concerto, the 39th symphony, etc., had the common sense and humanity to judge people by their good souls and deeds, and that these judgments were not in any way questioned or compromised by comparatively insignificant matters like skin color or sexual orientation.

    • Alaskanmama says:

      That is not how identifying as transgender works, and you know it. You are simply trying to perpetuate willful ignorance, and that is reprehensible. A transgender woman in a restroom is nothing more than a woman in a restroom. Just as a transgender man is simply a man using the restroom. HB 2 is about more than where people pee and poop. That is nothing more than a smokescreen to distract us from the other agenda items it addresses. Look it up, if you don’t know what else it contains. And please stop with the lies about how McCrory just wants to protect the children. No one believes that.

    • MacroV says:

      I’m curious to know whether this has EVER happened. Completely left out of this argument is what kind of stigma or harassment a 14 YO boy with conflict over his gender is likely to experience from his peers if he starts identifying himself as female. Nobody is going to do that just to get into the girls’ locker room. The NC law is a solution in search of a problem.

      As for Mr. Perlman’s decision, I certainly hope he gave the NC Symphony a little more notice than we’re getting here; it’s going to cost them a bit if he cancelled at the last minute, for no fault of theirs.

    • MF says:

      You do realize that women’s restrooms have doors to the stalls?

    • William Safford says:

      That is the sort of asinine sophistry that is being employed by bigots, in a lame attempt to justify laws such as the one in North Carolina that is causing the state such financial losses.

  • Adam Stern says:

    Oh, well…we can’t agree on all matters as readily as we did on Bernard Herrmann’s music, I suppose (see Slipped Disc, Feb. 12, 2016, “‘Psycho’ Gets a Concert Season”).

    Darned if I’d question someone’s normality or decency for disagreeing with me, though… Just sayin’.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    And by the way, the law isn’t just about bathrooms. “It also prevents city and county governments from setting a minimum-wage standard for private employers and limits how people can sue for discrimination in state court. And it contains a provision allowing for remaining parts of the law to stand if others are struck down in court.” Some people think this is really what the legislators were after, and the ugly transgender discrimination wasn’t even their main focus.

    • William Safford says:

      Talking about the discriminatory bill as if bathrooms are the only issue, serves only to bury the lede.

      When I say that the transgender bathroom issue is the least of the issues embedded in that law, I say it with absolutely no insult intended to transgender people and their bathroom needs.

      Bigots are using the bathroom issue to distract people of good will from the real issue, which is the statewide usurpation of the rights of cities to determine their own antidiscriminatory goals. The state law superseded and nullified local antidiscriminatory laws and imposed its own bigoted ethos.

      Considering how strong the “state’s rights” ethos is in the old Confederacy, this irony is not lost on people.

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    enough of that bullshit Mr.Perlman. Stick to the violin!

    • Nicht Richtig says:

      All the wishful thinking in the world cannot change the biological reality of one’s gender. The majority is imposed on because of the “needs” of a small number of disturbed people? Simply illogical. Perlman wouldn’t want some tranny in the same bathroom with his 6 year old granddaughter. This reminds me of a Jew record producer that will sell rap but forbids his children to listen to it. Double standard anyone?

  • Dominique says:

    “I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities”. It’s a pretty tough comparison to compare polio with the transgender issue.

    • Bruceb says:

      Perhaps finishing the sentence would have helped: “…and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally.”

    • Bruce says:

      I think with the second half of his sentence, he makes it clear that all people should be treated equally (at least I thought it was clear). Physical disability is his window into the world of discrimination; for others, it might be their skin color, or their gender (especially if they’re a “natural-born” female).

  • Rodney Friend says:

    In this interview, Itzhak compares it to when he refused to play with Karajan because of the Nazi past:

  • berlioz says:

    Has anyone actually read HB2 including Mr Perlman. I find it offensive that he would include disabled people as a reference. Are these people disabled. Sounds like a slap in his own face.


    • Bruce says:

      “As my fans know, I have spent a lifetime advocating against discrimination towards those with physical disabilities and have been a vocal advocate for treating all people equally.”

      I see his inclusion of disabled people as a reference to indicate that disability is how he has experienced discrimination, and he thinks others should not experience it for other reasons (skin color, gender identity, etc.).

  • berlioz says:

    Has anyone actually read HB2?? including Mr Perlman. I find it offensive that he would include disabled people as a reference. Are these people disabled? Sounds like a slap in his own face.

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