Brazil – the boycott begins

The international Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz has cancelled her concert this month with the strife-torn Brazil Symphony Orchestra, which has sacked half its musicians. So has her conductor Roberto Tibirica, who has a long association with the orchestra. 

Cristina is married to Jasper Parrott, head of the London-based HarrisonParrott agency. Her gesture is likely to set a trend for other artists.

The international Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses has published an article today, declaring his distress and perplexity at the way musicians are being treated and calling on the management to retract the sackings. A more humane and diplomatic solutuon must be pursued, he argues. Here’s the link (in Portuguese). 

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  • BRAVO!!!
    I hope other invited soloists and conductors of the 2011 OSB season follow your lead.

  • Focus is now Argentina,
    Retaliation policy in Teatro Colon: 41 musicians were fired
    City of Buenos Aires, April 1, 2011
    The Government of the City of Buenos Aires “terminated” the contract of 41 permanent orchestra musicians today. Coincidentally, they were those who refused to play at the Teatro Colon for late payments.
    Sebastian Alanis, legal representative of the workers, said: “What is striking is that these decisions appear after the band had given an important signal to reconstruct the relationship”, in relation to the decision of the musicians to accompany Plácido Domingo in his free show in the Avenida 9 de Julio.
    The lawyer added that “unfortunately at this time (the resolution of the conflict is) far away. We thought we were getting close but obviously the government once again demonstrates its arbitrariness and that solution has gone away again.”
    Meanwhile, the Workers’ delegate, Maximo Parpagnoli, told reporters that “these comrades fired hadn’t received their pay check for three months,” adding: “We will resort to court to administratively remedy our situation and to denounce the ideological persecution that we are suffering.”
    “The lack of strategy, wisdom is in sight and we have tasted it every day,” said the union representative. ”The authorities hit at the time that suits them. They would not have not done it before the concert with Placido Domingo.”
    The Teatro Colón brings together the best artists of academic music, and popular in some cases, for a long time. However, for two years now it has hosted only controversy: Form the resignation of its former director, Horacio Sanguinetti, to the various salary problems which now resume to a lack of respect towards the musicians.

  • Applauds for Cristina Ortiz and Roberto Tibirica.It takes a great deal of courage to be the first ones to do so. Very good letter from Antonio Meneses. I hope he and all other soloists and guest conductors will boycot the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira until all the fired musicians are reinstalled. Perhaps this won’t happen until the present regime leaves the vessel. We also need to make sure that NO ONE accepts any form of work from the conductor Mr Minczuk and his executive, Mr Eleazar de Carvalho.

  • BRAVO!!!! to Nelson Freire, Cristina Ortiz e Antonio Menezes! I’m very proud of you! God bless you! Paula Nogueira

  • Dear Norman:
    With Nelson Freire and Cristina Ortiz,great Brazilian pianists and Brazilian top Maestro Roberto Tibirica cancelling their presence on the OSB roster in protest, the musicians are on their way possibly to revert the tragic situation .When will the other musicians from abroad cancel their participation?
    Nevertheless auditions are still scheduled in NYC and London for foreign “scabs” to take the place of the 42 dacked musicians.
    Here’s some advice to the future candidates:
    Brazil’s Musical Dictator Roberto Minczuk,a Juilliard grad and former asst Maestro with the NYPhil, will be making auditions in NYC and London most probably in May to fill up the posts of the 40 instrumentalists he recently sacked for refusing to re-audition.
    Auditions can be nerve-racking occasions and to prepare those candidates for the most important day in their life,here are some suggesrions:
    (1)Do not be nervous if you see two armed guards at Maestro Minzcuk’s auditons because they accompany the most despised figure in Brazil’s .musical world today wherever he goes,at every hour of the day and night .Since NYC and London have big Brazilian communitieis and Brazil is famous for its death squads, Minzcuk is correct to be on his guard .Plse do not bring sharp objects ,knives,etc and of course no firearms at the auditions.
    (2)Greet Maestro Kadafi with “Como vai” and do not say another word during the audition except to nod your head occasionally in preparation for your future job.
    (3)The salary is excellent for Brazil but set one third aside or more for a local psychiatrist,two or three sessions a week should enable you to survive.
    (a)Save additional money for a round-trip ticket home just in case
    (b)You may need some extra money as well for your own boyguard …because the 40 fired musicians might retaliate against foreigners coming to take their place.But never mind,the tradition of the great musical conservatories in the US is “dog eat dog.”
    (4) Maestro Gadalfi will have the right to re-audition throughout your career in World Cup and Olympic City,Rio de Janeiro. So be prepared.And please do not allow yourselves to grow old or older otherwise the Maestro will be back in NYC and London seeking a substitute for you.
    If you need any more tips,plse e mail or call me at 5521-9379-1771 .I survived 24 seasons in this orchestra (1973-1997) prior to Maestro Minzcuk and am trying to get a refund from my analyst at the time for speaking badly about his predecessor and the conditions of the orchestra then.
    Abracos-Cheers-Best wishes,
    Harold Emert
    Rio de Janeiro
    Brazilian National Orchestra

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