Poignant appeal by eminent soloist to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Poignant appeal by eminent soloist to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2011

As I reported yesterday, the RLPO management are going ahead with a concert conducted by Roberto Minczuk, who has sacked half the musicians in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, describing some of them as ‘amateurs’.

Tomorrow, the distinguished pianist Cristina Ortiz will give a concert in Rio with the dismissed musicians. She has asked me to post the following appeal to the RLPO in the hope that its management and musicians will reconsider the  Minczuk engagement.

Here is what she writes. 

Dear Norman 

I would so love if you’d pass on the following message to the current 
management of my very favourite provincial British Orchestra the RLPO 

Having only arrived in Rio to join the maligned body of musicians from 
the OSB in a protest performance next Saturday, it is with disbelief 
that I read the above statement from the RLPO. 

It is utterly lamentable that the inhuman behaviour by the OSB 
Foundation and its present chief conductor, is been considered an 
‘internal matter’:  the fact that any one leader in the world of Music 
— an Art form of the highest spiritual content — is allowed the power 
to dismiss so many dedicated professionals > is untenable and insane. 

Instead of complete and unashamed solidarity, we hear that this unjust 
madness has nothing to do with lack of integrity or ethics! 

Be aware, fellow musicians: it could happen to you all: if the 
opportunity of great financial profits — mainly undisclosed — were to 
arise, unlikely  though it may seem in the UK. 

It would have been heroic : the ‘last drop’ coming from your 
orchestra’s refusal to accommodate the  presence of a musician who 
needs to be shaken back into reality! 

Most cordially but yet feeling deceived and let-down, 

Cristina Ortiz 


  • Gael Lhoumeau says:

    Once so many colleagues troughout the world took position…
    Once Roberto Minczuk and the Foundation OSB decided to go on, ignoring repeted calls from prominents artists, ignoring the enormous wave of indignation in Rio and in Brazil, and finally destroying the orchestra…
    Please, by far this is not only “an internal matter for another organisation in another country”. Fos us all, musicians, it is time now to show solidarity in this fight against despotism and arbitrariness. It is time to tell: “we can’t accept this, be it in Rio, in Liverpool or anywhere in the world.
    As a witness of the suffering of so many colleagues here in Rio, I just feel that no sensible musician around the world should contribute to help Roberto Miczuk maintain his career.
    I am very proud to play Beethoven 4 with Cristina Ortiz tomorrow, and sit with my colleagues of OSB.
    Gael Lhoumeau

  • George Brown says:

    I’m almost positive this message from the RLPO is from its management, and I’m MOST interested in what the musicians say and do about all this when he arrives.
    Meanwhile, it seems imperative to ne that some sort of protest or picket line be organized at the NYC, London and Rio audition sites when they are scheduled to occur.

  • Ole Bohn says:

    Dear colleagues of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra!
    As you know, next month you are scheduled to play with with the Brazilian conductor Roberto Minczuk. Many of you might not be aware that this conductor is abusing his instrument, that is his musicians in the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira in Rio de Janeiro.. He has fired half of his musicians, demanded that they should audition for their jobs, even though they have already auditioned and passed their trial period. long time ago. He refuses to collaborate with the musicians’elected representatives and has substituted his orchestra with the orchestra’s youth orchestra. When the youth orchestra had its first concert, Mr. Minczuk was greeted with buhs from the public and when he lifted his baton to start to conduct , the orchestra left the stage. They refused to play under him ! Good for them !
    Prominent soloists, composers, musician unions from all over the world will not perform with him anymore to show solidarity with the fired musicians and to show their disgust with the horrible behaviour of this conductor.
    It is very easy to sit back in an orchestra far from Brazil and think that this will never happen to us. Fortunately, most countries have laws against harassment of people. Most orchestras will never let a dictator be in front and have artistic power. But if we don’t react strongly, no matter where we live and in which orchestra we play in, it can easily happen in our environment as well. Therefore, dear musician friends, show solidarity, stand up for the tyranny of dictators in the orchestra world!
    What can you do? First of all, urge your management to cancel the concert with Mr. Minczuk. If the management ,because of legal matters cannot cancel the engagement, make sure that you show your disgust by for instance all wearing black T shirts at the rehearsals and concert. Distribute a flyer to the public explaining why. Confront Mr. Minczuk with his horrendous behaviour and not the least, DON”T HELP HIM A SECOND. PLAY ONLY HOW HE BEATS, UNDER THE MOTTO ” IF YOU DON’T BEHAVE, WE WILL PLAY AS YOU CONDUCT ‘!”
    It is a very unfortunate situation Mr. Minczuk has created in Brazil. Musicians from all over the world should be united in fighting the malicious actions by this conductor. It is a shame that the art of music should be dragged into the gutter by a music director. I hope for your understanding and will anticipate your reaction.
    Best greetings,
    Ole Bohn, concertmaster Norwegian National Opera
    Professor Sydney Conservatory of Music