Message to Brazil from the German orchestras: stop it, right now

Message to Brazil from the German orchestras: stop it, right now


norman lebrecht

March 11, 2011

Dear colleagues in Brazil, musicians of the OSEP,
Re-auditioning is simply illegal. Once you have got your orchestra job by an audition you have made it. 
Every musician has to keep his artistic standard individually. 133 German orchestras, amongst them the famous Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic and others, have unlimited, longterm contracts. Only by building longterm relations – without re-auditioning – high perfomance teams in the orchestra can grow and develop. Re-auditioning is not the way to raise artistic standards. They are forbidden.
My recommendation to all musicians: just boycot any illegal re-auditioning procedures.
Gerald Mertens 
Managing Director German Orchestral Union 


  • Doug Patti says:

    My only question to the OSB leadreship is, if there are indeed ‘problem’ players in the orchestra, regardless of how they entered, audition or no audition, why do you not deal with them on a case by case basis as individuals and not en masse re-audition the whole orchestra? Would any other healthy, sane business model drop an ‘evaluation bomb’ on the whole organization over a few problem employees? I don’t think so!

  • Mutter says:

    I guess it’s really going on a big mistake; but the biggest one comes from the musician whom are not able to play anymore in this orchestra.
    I know many of them personally and I know how they deal with their jobs; and some has even 2 or 3 jobs playing in different orchestras… so, now I ask you Mr. Mertens, does the people in Germany is able also to play in 2 or 3 orchestras at the same time, and also keep a mutual job-contract?
    Do you think with this attitude they get to keep a high level of practicing and quality?
    In past times they really didn’t get good paid, but since few years their salary increase 2x and still, they didn’t open the hand from the other jobs.
    I DO think it’s necessary to do an audition, not do demit people whom doesn’t play nice, but, to make those who didn’t practice for more than 20 years take their instruments and re-think how important and why do they choose to make music.

  • Anon says:

    How bizarre. “Illegal” by who’s laws?
    Would a British orchestra accept management interference from a Brazilian orchestra? Would an American orchestra take orders from the Czech musician’s union?
    @ Gerald:
    “Every musician has to keep his artistic standard individually.”
    But how do you propose you ensure that that is done? What do you do, in your German orchestras, if a player fails to live up to the high standards of their colleagues? How do you address the problem?
    Do you feel that the possibility of keeping players in jobs they are no longer suited to might exclude other musicians from playing in orchestras who wish to?; and does this help or hinder the dynamism and ‘life’ in an orchestra?
    @ Doug
    If you find individual “problem players” and try to deal with them individually, does that not open a larger can of worms – the players may claim (and it may be true!) that they are being victimised or picked on personally because of a personal dislike or dispute not to do with their playing. Picking on individuals alone results in problems too – see the recent case of the oboist in Wales. Who should be allowed to decide which players need to be dealt with on this individual basis? The principal conductor, the chief conductor, the management, the leader…?
    Is it not fairer to evaluate everyone as a matter of routine?
    “Any other sane business” would continually evaluate their employees across a range of measures. Isn’t the daft thing not that the OSB wish to start doing it – it’s that orchestras generally don’t do it!

  • M.Villeger says:

    “Once you have got your orchestra job by an audition you have made it.”
    Ah imagine life in the real world…

  • Mario Ferreira says:

    As these auditions are not illegal there is nothing to boycot. Your ignorance for subject proves how out os contest you are.
    And you are so out that you even do not know which orchestra you are talking about. OSESP is in Sao Paulo, OSB is the one in Rio.