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The Cliburn breaks silence on the Fort Worth strike

November 22, 2016 by norman lebrecht

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We warned a few days ago that next year’s Van Cliburn Competition would need to look at other options if the board of the Fort Worth Symphony persisted in locking out its musicians.

Our post received a sharp rebuttal from the Cliburn’s aggressive PR. But the head of the organisation has now shared his fears – and his options – with the local newspaper:

Jacques Marquis, president and CEO of The Cliburn, can’t afford the strike to go on indefinitely.

“It would be a disaster if we don’t have the symphony for the Cliburn,” Marquis says. The Fort Worth nonprofit foundation, named for the late Van Cliburn, runs the world-class international piano competition every four years, a junior contest for younger teens and a competition for adult amateurs.  The symphony accompanies competitors in each of these events.   

“The strike is bad for everyone,” Marquis says. “It’s bad for the musicians. It’s bad for the management. It’s bad for the city. It’s bad for the donors. It’s bad for other arts organizations. It’s a bad idea.”

The next big Cliburn International competition is this coming May. Having it without an orchestra is not an option, Marquis says. 

Marquis has been here before, however. Eleven years ago in Canada, he managed a competition. Weeks away from the start, Montreal Symphony musicians walked out. With the clock ticking, Marquis assembled a 72-member, professional pick-up orchestra, just in time.   

“I have faith in finding a solution with the Fort Worth Symphony because an orchestra is not a bunch of individual musicians. An orchestra is an ensemble who can play together. And we need that for the competition,” he says.

More here.

fort worth Symphony protest 005


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