Lidiya Yankovskaya: We should reject sexist stigma about motherhood being incompatible with a conducting career

Posted on: January 6, 2022

Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts Carmen at the Houston Grand Opera in October 2021. Photo: Maricruz Kwon

Chicago Opera Theater Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya “conducted the opening of the Mark Alamo opera ‘Becoming Santa Claus’ in Chicago on Dec. 11,” writes Alexandra Svokos on Wednesday’s (1/5) Good Morning America. “Five days later, she gave birth. And three days after that, she was back at the podium to conduct the closing of ‘Becoming Santa Claus.’ ‘When I started conducting, people told me that women shouldn’t be doing this job because of its physical demands,’ she wrote in a Twitter thread…. ‘When I had my first kid, people told me that … I couldn’t possibly conduct while caring for a newborn, and that being a mother and being a conductor are incompatible. I forged ahead with virtually no U.S. role models in this endeavor.… I hope we are beginning to let go of this ridiculous, sexist stigma. Pregnancy and childbirth are personal matters and do not impair a woman’s ability to judge for herself whether she is in a position to perform’ … Yankovskaya made her debuts this fall at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Houston Grand Opera—while about 7 1/2 months pregnant…. She acknowledged in her tweets her ‘incredible husband, who truly sees having kids as an equal partnership.’ ”