Pinchas Zukerman apologizes for using derogatory stereotypes about Asians at Juilliard master class

Posted on: June 29, 2021

“A master class by the renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman was supposed to be the highlight of a recent virtual symposium hosted by the Juilliard School,” writes Javier C. Hernández in Monday’s (6/28) New York Times. “Instead, Zukerman angered many of the roughly 100 students and teachers in the class on Friday when he invoked racist stereotypes about Asians, leading Juilliard to decide not to share a video of his master class afterward with participants…. Zukerman told a pair of students of Asian descent that their playing was too perfect and that they needed to add soy sauce…. At another point, in trying to encourage the students to play more lyrically, he said he understood that people in Korea and Japan do not sing…. Zukerman’s remarks were widely denounced by musicians and teachers, with many saying they reinforced ugly stereotypes facing artists of Asian descent in the music industry. Juilliard … [said Zukerman’s] ‘insensitive and offensive cultural stereotypes’ did not represent the school’s values. Zukerman apologized Monday…. ‘In Friday’s master class, I was trying to communicate something to these two incredibly talented young musicians, but the words I used were culturally insensitive…. I’m writing to the students personally to apologize….’ ”