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Jewish Conductor Kirill Petrenko Greeted with Anti-Semitism in Germany Appointment

by Ian Holubiak   Jul 1, 2015 11:36 AM EDT

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Having been appointed to the Berlin Philharmonic beginning September 2018, Kirill Petrenko has expressed his enthusiasm for taking over a most astounding symphony. However, his enthusiasm was met with anti-Semitism on Northern German Radio (NDR) and other German news outlets.

Petrenko, a Russian-born Jew, was voted to succeed Sir Simon Rattle in 2018 by Berlin Philharmonic members, who failed to reach a decision back in May. With the company in a hung jury, the orchestra announced June 22 at a news conference that Petrenko would take the reins.

Though he doesn't do public interviews, the Bavarian State Opera director commented in a public statement:

"I am aware of the responsibility and high expectations placed in me and I will do everything in my power to be a worthy conductor of this outstanding orchestra."

However, all communication to the media ended following anti-Semitic comments made by NDR and Welt Online, who used harsh tropes to state their distaste. As of late, the comments have been removed.

Sabine Lange of NDR wrote about Petrenko and German-born Christian Thielemann, who contended for the same position, stating that Thielemann was well-versed in the German sound but that Petrenko was a mere "tiny gnome, the Jewish caricature."

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