The confrontation at the Brazil Symphony Orchestra cannot be contained within Rio. The implications are universal and the interest intense.
As of this moment, as I understand it, the orchestra has suspended its musicians and ordered them to re-audition for their jobs. Those who fail to attend audition are dismissed. The music director, Robert Minczuk, has given a public assurance on this site
that no-one ‘who participates in the evaluation will be dismissed’. His friend and mentor Kurt Masur
has appealed to musicians to take part (though whether Mr Masur is in possession of the full facts has yet to be ascertained). Meanwhile, the first players have received dismissal notices.
Reauditioning an entire orchestra is a radical procedure, without precedent in my experience. It would be helpful to know what conductors in other countries think about it. Is it a model to be emulated? Or should it, as some suggest,be stopped immediately on grounds of illegality?
Conductors wield power in 2011 by social consent. I would like to hear some more of their responses here to what is going down in Rio.