Roberto Minczuk, embattled music director of the Brazil Symphony Orchestra half of whose players he has sacked, has cancelled next week’s concerts in Salt Lake City. 

The official word from Rio (below) is that he is detained there by the crisis. Privately, there are suspicions that he fears protests from musicians in other orchestras. Whether he turns up for a concert at Liverpool, where players have notably strong opinions, remains to be seen. Likewise, for the auditions he is planning in London.
Here’s the word from Utah:

Roberto Minczuk, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Brazilian

Symphony Orchestra, formally canceled his engagement as guest conductor for the Utah Symphony Monday. American Maestro Gerard Schwartz, Music Director of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, will take his place as conductor of the Utah Symphony this weekend, April 15 and 16.


Minczuk has canceled his engagement this week in order to take care of pressing matters with his own orchestra in Brazil.


“The Board and the President of the Orquestra Simfonica Brasileira have requested that Roberto Minczuk remain in Brazil this week to attend to urgent matters related to the crisis with the musicians of the orchestra,” said Minczuk’s manager in a statement to the Utah Symphony and its supporters. “I hope that you graciously understand the urgency of this matter for Roberto and can accept his very last-minute cancelation for his concerts with you this week.”

Roger Beardsley, who swept the dust of ages off hundreds of classical recordings, has passed away. Here’s the announcement on Music Preserved website:

Roger Beardsley


It is with the heaviest of hearts that we report the sudden death of Roger Beardsley on 7 April. His loss will be felt keenly wherever good music and old recordings are treasured, but our condolences go first to his family. Roger was the transfer engineer responsible for remsatering all of Music Preserved’s archive of historic recordings: a mammoth task he undertook with the love, enthusiasm and expertise that made him acknowledged worldwide as foremost in a highly specialised field. His care and expertise were second to none. Roger took a leading role in the work and growth of Music Preserved. He leaves a huge legacy of music, of living experiences that would otherwise have been lost to the ravages of time, and that may now be absorbed, studied and most of all enjoyed for as long as there are ears to listen. He also leaves a wide circle of friends who counted themselves lucky indeed to enjoy the company of a warm, witty and affable man who was never short of a good joke or a sharply observed apercu. A fuller tribute to Roger’s life and work will appear here in the coming days.

Roger Beardsley

And here’s a fuller c.v

Roger Beardsley began his professional music and recording career at BBC Radio Leeds, where he was a presenter/producer of a weekly music programme (1974-1983). He then became a freelance recording engineer, producing first LP, then CD releases for a variety of organisations including the BBC, following the basic premise that too many microphones cloud the sound. As a second-generation 78 collector, Roger felt that historical re-issues were a travesty of the originals, hence changed his focus from ‘live’ recording to audio restoration. He has produced 400+ CDs to date, covering every sphere of ‘serious’ musical endeavour recorded over the last 110 years – from Vess L. Ossman in 1895 to Kiri Te Kanawa in 2005. He has received various awards for his work, including ‘Classic Record Collector’ for Bartók Quartets (Pearl, 2003) and Kathleen Ferrier and Friends (Pearl GEM0229, 2005), and a ‘Diapason d’Or’ for Gerard Souzay (Pearl, 2002).

Roger is Director of Historic Masters Ltd, which produces limited editions (in the form of direct pressings from original metal masters) of important 78 rpm material from the EMI Archive. He is also a Trustee of Historic Singers Trust, working with the EMI Archive Trust to catalogue their holdings of historic material. So far he has identified 24,000 original metal masters (1900-early 1950s) and located over 1,000 important masters thought destroyed in Germany during World War II. He has produced ‘Fonotipia Ledgers 1904-1939’ (CD-ROM, Historic Masters, 3rd ed.), a database-format discography detailing over 10,000 recordings made by this highly important Italian company.

Roger was a member of the Academic Advisory Board of CHARM and is Technical Consultant (audio restoration) to the Music Department of Ki
ngs College London
. He i
s also a member of the Music Preserved Council, an organisation dedicated to conserving, restoring and making available unique recordings of broadcast performances from the 1930 onwards that would otherwise have been lost.

At the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, the tenor James Gilchrist suffered an alarming loss of sight in one eye during Bach’s St Matthew Passion and was rushed off to hospital.

St Matthew Passion

The performance continued, with much of the second half cut as no substitute tenor had been rehearsed. It was a messy option but the best in the circumstances and the audience seemed to respond sympathetically.
What astonished the  performers when they emerged into fresh air was that all their friends, lovers, neighbours and tradesmen knew about Gilchrist’s mishap as members of the audience had tweeted about it enthusiastically during the actual concert. 
One singer who contacted me seemed a little discomposed by the notion that what he was doing in the privacy of a concert hall was instant public knowledge.
This set me wondering about the etiquette – not to say netiquette – of tweeting during a
concert. My view is that so long as the clicks can’t be heard and the motions are discfeet there is no reason why a ticket holder should not share the experience with others.
But what’s your opinion? To tweet, or not to tweet? I’m at Maazel’s Mahler 1 tonight. Should I?
LATE ADD: James Gilchrist is fine. Here’s what he posted on his website:
I had a bit of a problem during this concert. Unfortunately, I became ill during the performance and had to leave the stage. I am glad to say that about half an hour or so later things were back to normal but it was, as you can imagine, not a pleasant experience. I would like to apologise enormously to all my colleagues on stage – the Bach Choir, Florilegium, the other soloists and David Hill – and also to the audience whose St Matthew became shortened because of my absence. And I would also like to thank people for their hugely kind messages of support.

The eminent Brazilian composer Marlos Nobre has published an open letter to the conductor of the national symphony orchestra, refusing him permission to perform his works in protest at the sacking of half its musicians. The gesture is the more poignant since, as Nobre specifies, he has known the conductor since he was a child and presented him with his first professional instrument. I publish the letter verbatim, as received.

Marlos Nobre with his daughter, Karina

Open letter to Roberto Minczuk

Roberto, I am anxious to write this letter seeing how you got involved in this embarrassing and sad situation. 

Did you, Roberto, have no one close to open your eyes to the immense folly that was the whole situation created in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra?

I write you as a conductor and composer who knew a Roberto still 10 to 12 years old participating in the “Young Instrumentalists Competition” I organized back in 1974 on the “Concert for Youth” on Globo and Radio MEC. In this competition, you emerged as a young talent, promising enough that I gave you as a gift a brand new horn (yours at that time was impracticable). I remember years later, in your concert debut as conductor of the OSB in Rio, I was approached by your old and honored father, in tears, telling me that the horn was kept in a glass enclosure, framing the living room of your paternal home. It was extremely moving see your father so visibly happy watching your debut as conductor of the large and prestigious Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Among other works, you conducted the Symphony “Eroica” by Beethoven. And our OSB responded to your gestures, giving at the occasion a memorable Interpretation of the work. These same musicians who are now beeing, with absolutely incomprehensible anger, relentless harassed for you as director of OSB.

Well, Robert, like your father, an old and honored musician, I learned that you can only make music with the light spirit open, connected only with the higher duty that the interpreter have that is to reveal the great message of love, universal understanding and mutual respect that emanates from every major musical work. It’s not possible to the musicians yield the most of their qualities, against the arrogance, the disrespect, t
he imposition, the inhumanit
y, human ineptitude of those who are imposing and are not giving them the conditions to create the wonderful message of music.

Roberto, that boy I gave a horn is now a source of major disappointment I ever had in my life. A deep and irreversible disappointment. You and only you alone are responsible for an unprecedented situation in the symphonic music of Brazil, to submit a full orchestra at a public embarrassment by dismissing with cruelty and disrespect for their past more than half of its components through the most unacceptable excuses possible. Neither the excuse of higher musical quality would be justification for such a high degree of human, artistic and personal aggression that you impose our OSB musicians. You do not respect age, services provided, idealism nor humanity. All these core values in human relations and art disappear in your hands at this sad moment in music history in Brazil.

The ideals that have always been the great strength of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Roberto, you cannot destroy. Moreover, I see with sadness that you’re getting a way to destroy yourself so perfectly, so definitely, so vehemently as his greatest enemy ever could, nor would have such a degree of destructive imagination.

Your selfdestruction shocks me because it seems that you, Roberto, came into this negative process, without returns or detours, unaware that anywhere in the world where you go up on stage to direct anorchestra you will have an answer of contempt and disapproval from the public and the musical world.

As a composer, it’s not my desire to see my work performed by this leftover Symphony Orchestra directed by you (which I refuse to call the OSB because it was irresponsibly destroyed by you).

I do not consent to have my work performed unless for the real BRAZILIAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA that we have learned to love, to revere and protect from any desperation passenger abuses, aggressionand moral disrespect.

Marlos Nobre