Another orchestra showdown in South America

This time it’s Ecuador.

Apparently, they have been reading about the shenanigans in Brazil and are telling the musicians is Guayaquil to re-audition for their jobs. Here’s a letter I’ve received from an American member of the orchestra:

 

Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

I am a professional violinist, currently living in Ecuador and
playing in the Guayaquil Symphony. I was a member of Local 71 in the
states before moving here. There seems to be a real
problem with a dictatorial mindset of conductors in Latin/South
America. Under the guise of “personal evaluations,” mandatory for all
government employees every six months, the orchestra administration of
all the Ecuadorian orchestras is calling for mandatory re-auditions.

(All the same lingo as Mr. Minczuk and the Brazilian orchestra, except
we make 1/4th their salary and have no union.) I think one musician in
Quito tried to start or join an international union when they were
required to do their re-auditions last year, but he was the first to
be fired.
The musicians here have basically no rights, and I was wondering
where I could find information regarding the internationally accepted
policies regarding auditions and re-auditions. Those who do not submit
will be terminated. Quito lost their last conductor, five months of
work, several of their weaker players, all of their “insubordinate
players,” and the last cultural minister.
I’m a stronger player and the auditions are not really a problem for
me, but I know my job could be at risk just for contacting you.

The professional orchestra in Guayaquil is scheduled to start these

re-auditions in September, although the project has not yet been

formally approved by the new cultural minister, Mgs. Erika Sylva

Charvet (who is also about to resign). I think that with the proper
information and influence much could be done right now to help protect
the rights of professional musicians in this country. Any help you
could give me would be greatly appreciated.

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
  • Guilherme Fontão says:

    Are re-auditions becoming pandemic in underdeveloped countries?… Why conductors aren’t being submitted to re-auditions, too?… Did they really think themselves superior to the other musicians in the orchestra?…

  • Jose Navarrete says:

    Last year, when the Quito Orchestra was forced to re-audition, the Ecuadorian Embassy in Washington D.C. was used to advertise for new musicians in the USA while Ecuadorian musicians were being chopped from their livelihoods. Government Agencies had no problem playing Goons to the whims of the Executive Management of the orchestras. Basically the musicians have no rights whatsoever and the attitude is, “It is a privilege that you are even allowed to play with the orchestra, so shut up and be a happy slave.” Posted below is the advertising link and the copy of the advertisement.

    http://www.ecuador.org/blog/?p=827

    « INSCRIPCIONES PARA AUDICIONES DE NUEVOS MÚSICOS DE LA ORQUESTA SINFÓNICA NACIONAL DEL ECUADOR
    SEGUNDO CERTAMEN INTERNACIONAL DE POESÍA, RELATO Y ENSAYO “LIBERTADORA MANUELA SÁENZ” »

    ECUADOR NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS AUDITIONS REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

    The National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador invites all foreign musicians in the strings areas (violin, viola, cello, bass) and the wind areas (woodwinds and brass) to register for the upcoming auditions.

    Candidates must register on the website http://www.sinfonicanacional.gov.ec and fill the form by September 12th 2010.

    For more information call (593) 2 256-5733 or (593) 2 250-2814. Please refer to the Human Resources Department.

    Quito, Ecuador, August 2010

    Executive Management
    Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador

    IS THIS HOW WE ECUADORIANS RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHER ECUADORIANS?
    Is this what it means to come up to International Standards?

  • Alessandro Pollini says:

    The main reason why the Orchestras in Ecuador would want to enlist foreigners is because usually they are completely dependent on the orchestra to keep their visa valid, and probably (in the minds of the administration) are better trained. This not only makes these players beholden to the management, but also makes them “YES” men/woman which helps to authenticate Gestapo Nazi activities to be enforced onto the orchestral group. Someone needs to follow the money and look for misappropriations of funds. Dictators don’t like to work for free, some where, some how someone is making money at the expense of the orchestra.

  • Ademir dos Anjos says:

    hat was precisely what happened in Rio. They called a reaudition that was attended mainly of the foreigners and the newcomers. Now they have a smashed ensemble, a very bad reputation, a lot of fear of step the local concert house and a media scheme that says everything is overcome.Musicians are fighting a lot to change the scenario. My personal advise to you guys in Equador is to call FIM and get immediatly in touch with deputy and senators who have a real compromise with popular movements. We have some (not much) here in Brazil and even so the struggle is hard. I hope Equador have good politicians, too… You need a sindicate!

    • Mario Torres says:

      The SINDMus from rio is a bad example as due to the
      Inability of conduct proper negotiations lead or better mislead
      The musicians and they ended up fired for indiscipline.

      This is not the case here, so please do not compare our situation
      With yours in Brasil.

      • Neville Solomon says:

        This is exactly what is going on here if we allow it to happen. The Administration of the OSG in Ecuador think that they are superior over the musicians, and because the pay themselves three to four times the salary of the average musician, they look down upon the musicians and govern over them like dictatorial communists. The inability to negotiate is because they have the opinion that they are always right, and they force their agenda of domination and control under the guise of “We want to improve the Orchestra.” How can you improve the orchestra by destroying it ? Forced Auditions for professional orchestras under the pretense of “evaluations” is very disruptive. Majority of players have been with the orchestra 4 or 5 times longer than the average administrator, and these people only want auditions for the purpose of firing a musician. All negotiations in Guayaquil Ecuador are failing, and the winner now will be those who have the most political friends and the most money.

  • Andres Ortega says:

    This scenario of harassing an orchestra has already happened in Brazil. No need to copy what has already been said. Here is Benoît Machuel Letter to the Presidente da Fundação Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira

    Av. Rio Branco, 135 sala 915

    Centro Rio de Janeiro

    20040-006

    Paris, March 15, 2011

    Dear Sir,

    We have been informed of your intention to reorganise the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra by way of auditioning all of its musicians. Although the objective may be to improve the quality of the orchestra, such process is in our view inappropriate and may in practice prove counter-productive.

    All orchestras of significance throughout the world have a longstanding tradition of social dialogue. Such dialogue is crucial for both conflict prevention and the resolution of the various problems that may occur in the course of an orchestra’s daily life. An open and confident exchange with the musicians’ representatives should therefore be conducted before considering a decision that would not only impact the musicians’ career but also the future of your institution.

    I wish to also recall that the musicians already passed an audition before being appointed. Since then, they have been playing on stage every week, which also represents another form of audition. Re-auditioning all musicians can only be an unnecessary, extremely stressful test, unable to give an accurate image of their qualities and skills.

    Finally, and foremost, the artistic personality of an orchestra is the result of a long term process that depends not only on individual qualities but also on the in-depth work carried out daily by the orchestra as a whole, as well as on the artistic framework defined by its Musical Director.

    I firmly believe that your objective of improved quality and the legitimate expectations of performers can be reconciled. To this end, I urge you to engage into discussions with the musicians’ representatives with no further delay, with a view to jointly identify the best ways to reach the level of excellence that is equally desired by both parties. By so doing, you would maximize your chances to successfully undertake the renewal of the orchestra, for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders involved, including the public.

    The World community of performers would not understand if these requests were to remain unheard.

    Yours sincerely,

    Benoît Machuel

    General Secretary

    Fedaration of Musicians (FIM), founded in 1948, is the only international organisation representing musicians unions at global level, with members in about 70 countries covering all regions of the world. FIM has a permanent relationship with major intergovernmental organisations such as WIPO, the ILO and UNESCO. It is recognised and consulted by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, which enables it to participate in crucial negotiations and to make the voice of musicians heard.

  • Jimmy Chang says:

    Statistical information reveals that the reason more people don’t patronize the local orchestra isn’t because they aren’t good enough. It is because they’re not relevant enough. The world trend right now is that youth orchetras are prospering while profesional orchestras are failing. The youth orchestra are identifing What the public wants to hear. Many professinal Orchestras are completely cynical and oppose change? The notion that he public are slowly growing dumber by the day is the very reason WHY people don’t want to attend concerts anymore. Why are conductors so entitled to this opinion? Since when did the arts become too good for anyone?
Instead of complaining and entitling ourselves, let go and embrace the change – because it will happen regardless of our opinions. Remember that people never remain the same – and neither do the arts.

  • Usually Youth orchestras have auditions to ¨provide critical evaluation¨, not professional orchestras. Sectional Auditions, ¨Yes¨ no problem. Asking individual players stand by stand to play an except, ¨yes¨, no problem. Rearranging seating positions according to the strength of players, ¨yes¨, no problem. Rotating players, no problem. Auditioning for a vacancy, no problem. Total orchestra re auditions is nothing short of career suicide.

    Solo auditions does not reflect the ability of a ¨sectional player ¨ in an orchestra. Solo playing is vastly different than group playing, and if one does bad as a soloist, it does not mean that they cannot play effectively as a group member. Auditions usually result from the conductor having personal conflicts with some orchestra members, and uses reauditions as a form of revenge to clear out the insubordinate players without retaliation. Discipline problems need to be dealt with in a disciplinary manner. Hiding behind international judges is an old trick to hide disciminations and exercsing preexisting dislikes by management and to settle old scores with ¨black listed musicians¨ within the group. Usually the conductor is asked to assist in the choosing of the judges, so the influencing of the judges is an immediate concern. An International judge who is choosen to fly´s to Ecuador and has an orchestra where players are paid $60,000 dollars per year, how is he or she going to know, without some schooling, what is an acceptable standard from a player who only earns 12 to 15,000 dollars a year? Once again some schooling as to what is acceptable and what is not, allows for the conductors bias to show through in the auditions via an international judges opinion.

    The conductor has every right to call for an audition for a vacancy, he also has a right to allow for auditions if a player is weak and wants stronger players to move up in ranks, and then move that weaker player more back to strenghten the sound of the orchestra. But the conductor does not have the right to fire the whole entire orchestra without probable cause and then hire back on re auditions. This is essentially what is happening. After an audition that is manipulated, how does the mistrust help the administration, the conductor or the orchestra. Hard feeling do not make for good music, neither does control , manipulation, deception or discrimination.

    Where someone sits in a professional orchestra is not solely dictacted by ability, but also by how dependable that musician really is. A ¨hot shot¨ player who thinks that he is too good to show up for rehersals can be a detriment to the group. Someone who is teachable, dependable, who is never late, takes there position seriously is more valuable in an orchestra, even if they are a weak player, than a strong player who fools around in rehersals and distractes those who are trying to do some work. Experience not talent alone makes for great orchestras. If a Conductor at anytime does not know how each player in each section of the orchestra is playing, then he-she needs to resign, for they are not doing the job of conductor.

  • AVI says:

    @ anonymous violinist
    Thank you for reporting this.
    Personally, I don’t have a problem with a sensitively done and carefully managed re-audition process; and I’m glad for you that your standard is sufficient to ‘pass’.
    Surely the questions shouldn’t revolve so much around the musicians currently in the orchestra, as those outside it; and moreover for the audiences (without whom there’s little point in having the orchestra at all).
    If you know of two or three violinists in your section who are just not up to scratch, and maybe you know of two or three really excellent violinists who are not in the orchestra and who are struggling to make ends meet, perhaps considering giving up their instrument despite being extremely good at it… is it ‘fair’ for the poorer, perhaps less-comitted players to retain a job and pull the standard of the orchestra down, whilst the better players sit outside?
    For an audience, is it not fairest to provide the best concerts you can with the musicians available at the salary the orchestra can offer? And if so, shouldn’t the orchestra be actively seeking to employ the best musicians it can with the monies it has; and not ‘letting sleeping dogs lie’ when it comes to players who are no longer able to deliver the goods?
    Any musician in any orchestra, I am sure, will (privately if not publicly) be able to find one or two of their orchestral or even section colleagues who are not as strong a player as they could, or perhaps should be. Should we not be in favour of efforts to redress this, even if we recognise that in Brazil and perhaps here as well they could be done by different and better means?

    @ Alessandro Pollini
    Your comments are perhaps a little off-topic, but some clarification would not go amiss.
    In general, there is not a lot of money to be made from an orchestra. Full-time orchestras (with, I’m sure, a few honourable exceptions) aren’t commercial, and cost money to run rather than making money – hence the taxpayer and governments worldwide subsidising orchestral activity.
    [yes, there are some things orchestras do which turn a profit – soundtracks for top-end films, pops concerts, etc., but in general none of these things amounts to a significant income].
    As such, your assertion that someone is making money at the expense of the orchestra presumably doesn’t apply to anyone except the orchestra’s own players or management. Your comments about “dictators” is also, I assume, directed at orchestral management, since Ecuador has been a democracy since 1979. However, simply name-calling someone “dictator” doesn’t make it true. Can you elaborate?
    It is worth remembering that, as one of NL’s recent posts on this blog points out, the chairman / manager of an orchestra is generally paid several times the salary of the average player. This is the same in many orchestras worldwide (just as it is in other areas of work), and is not in any way surprising.

    Suffice to say, however, that as far as we know the present issue isn’t about funding, or the misappropriation of monies; it is about re-auditioning players.

    @ Jose Navarette
    Are you suggesting that you would prefer that this orchestra employs only Ecuadorian musicians?
    Clearly, the management have a choice. They can restrict membership to Ecuadorian players only, but then the orchestra runs the risk of becoming insular and not benefitting from outside influences. Would you also insist that all concerto soloists and conductors were from Ecuador too? In the alternative, the orchestra can aim to attract the best players it can from wherever in the world they might be, for the salary that they are able to offer – in order to get the best players to make the best orchestra for Ecuador.
    In the end it boils down to this – is the Ecuadorian government’s subsidy of the orchestra designed to (a) make an expensive employment scheme for Ecuadorians, with some music on the side, or (b) designed to give the audiences in Ecuador the best orchestra they can have for the money that is available?
    Is this really about the players, or is the audience important too?

    As for your closing query “Is this what it means to come up to International Standards” – well – yes, it is. (Pick an internationally renowned orchestra or two, and I’m sure you will find they have players of many different nationalities.)

    • A violinist says:

      I don’t believe any process through which one person gets a job and others don’t is ever going to be fair. Auditions themselves are not fair, even under the best of circumstances when the orchestra leadership is truly striving to make it so. That day you may get sick as a dog with the flu, or your flight may be cancelled, and the person who ends up getting the job may not be the best qualified. But you know what? They showed up, and did well enough, and got the job.

      • AVI says:

        Sure, auditions are hardly perfect. But what do you suggest instead as a means of ensuring that players who are slipping in standard can be fairly identified, given the help they need, and either brought back up to an acceptable level, or let go and a better player given the job instead?

        Or do you believe that once someone has got a job in an orchestra it should be their for life – and if so, do you think that that is fair on [a] potentially better players who didn’t have the chance to even audition for that job, [b] an audience who have to listen to players who may not be as good as they could be [c] sponsors and taxpayers, who are paying for something which may not be as good as it could – or should – be and [d] the other orchestral players, who may (will) know that they are being held back, and perhaps even denied lucrative work as a result? *

        Assuming you agree that there should be some method of identifying players whose standard falls below an acceptable level – if it is not to be auditions, then what is it?

        ((* i.e. if you have a duff principal trumpet then no-one is going to hire you to play for the Star Wars soundtracks; if there are too many under-par string players, no major record label is going to pay to record Mozart; they will all go elsewhere… etc.))

  • lenore stone says:

    The original post was written by an American playing in an Ecuadorian orchestra, so obviously they´re not opposed to Ecuador hiring international players. I think the issue has to do with the internationally accepted standards for dealing with these issues. None of these issues are new, but this reaudition thing is a fairly new idea that appears to be a South American scourge right now.

    As for relevancy to the audience, alot of that depends on the music which is chosen by the conductor. Once again, the musicians don´t have a voice in this. I think the conductor of this orchestra is Armenian, and it looks like he wants all of the benefits of being able to fire the weaker players without taking the responsibility for it. It sounds like they are going through all of the problems that orchestras worldwide had before there were unions. Much of the history of famous orchestras today shows how they were not able to become internationally recognized until they were first able to figure out how to protect the rights of their musicians.

    • MusikAnT says:

      @Lenore

      The great orchestras never gained any fame until they “protected” their musicians? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra became great only after Reiner left? Are you serious or are you simply utterly clueless?

      The Concertgebouw, under the “little corporal” Willem Mengelberg was already a famous and great orchestra at the end of the 19th century! To what conductor and orchestra do you think Richard Strauss dedicated his Ein Heldenleben to? Even Mahler was in awe of the orchestra.

      Speaking of Mahler, did not this famously autocratic conductor push the Vienna Court Opera to perhaps the finest years of its–or any opera company’s, for that matter–existence? Was it not under Mahler that the Vienna Philharmonic first toured internationally?

      Don’t even get me started on the New York Philharmonic under Mengelberg and Toscanini, the Cleveland Orchestra under Szell, or Mravinsky’s Leningrad Philharmonic.

      Consider, too, that many orchestras today are, while technically adequate, utterly lacking in the distinguishing and vibrant timbres that once made them world renowned. Would anybody really venture to say that the Boston Symphony is still the “aristocrat of the orchestras” as it was in Koussevitzky’s heyday? Are today’s Philadelphians superior to their forebears who, under Stokowski and Ormandy, made Philadelphia famous for the richness of its sound? Even the Berlin Philharmonic of the Karajan era was superior to the rather anemic sounding BPO of today.

      As for Chicago not being great until after Reiner’s departure (!), a quick listen to the recordings of Reiner’s predecessors Frederick Stock, Artur Rodzinski, and Rafael Kubelik reveal an orchestra that was already world-class. To that Reiner added even more polish and precision–and made the CSO internationally famous.

      Clearly your knowledge of the history of the orchestra and its conductors is sorely lacking.

      • Henry says:

        To quote from Drew McManus on the orchestra business, “Before union representation, orchestra musicians were traded like cattle and subject to degrading abuse from tyrant music directors. They could be fired for simply having a bad playing day and were paid far less than their actual value. Union representation gave players the ability to feel secure in their positions and settle down in the community. It also provided a way for the musicians to participate when selecting new members of the ensemble, before that time the music director usually appointed a player of their choosing. Currently, the union provides an optional retirement fund for players and access to affordable instrument and disability insurance. They make resource materials and standard performance contracts available to musicians and insure that any recordings are made expressly with musician approval. They also ensure that royalties from recordings are properly distributed to each musician.” Sure, those early orchestras had a distinguishing and vibrant sound, but it was “in spite of,” not “because of” the conditions they worked under.

        Most of the professional musicians in Ecuador could not survive without working two or three jobs. It’s just not a career their people want to pursue. Is it any wonder? Maybe if they were treated like professional artists as opposed to an easily replaced “human resource,” more young people would be interested. I think the conductor of the OSG was trained in Russia, maybe that’s why he’s acting like Minczuk. I had a friend who was a Russian immigrant tell me that she attributed her success as a violinist to the fact that her parents locked her in her room for hours to force her to practice. Yeah, I guess that’s one way to promote culture and the arts in your country. You just “make them” like it, and by the time they’ve devoted most of their life to practicing, it’s too late for them to pursue any other career option. Kinda like they’re “making” these people do these personal evaluations, aka reauditions.

        • AVI says:

          You may disagree with what is popularly seen as the “Russian method” of teaching – and it isn’t my favourite either – but it’s hard to deny that in some circumstances it has surely worked. Likewise other methods of training in other cultures.
          But I fail to see how you make any useful connection between that method of teaching, and the concept of re-auditions; other than that you dislike either.

          As for unions, what you write is a rather one-sided, rose-tinted view of the benefits a union could bring. I think you will find in all countries that recordings and concerts happen with professional musicians quite outside the auspices of the relevant unions, largely because the union’s stipulations sometimes get in the way.
          Unions may try to ensure that “recordings are made expressly with musician approval” but I think you will also find that non-Union bands and chamber ensembles are also quite capable of doing so themselves, and don’t need a union to do it for them. As an aside, it is worth pointing out that the MU in the UK has been somewhat behind technological development and changes in the music marketplace – the newly negotiated model recording contracts / agreements are several years overdue in many respects; and in some instances ensembles moved ahead of the union because ‘officialdom’ was so slow to adapt. It is, for sure, one of the reasons many orchestral recordings are made abroad, removing some of the work from the UK.

  • AVI says:

    @ lenore stone
    Is re-auditioning a South American scourge, or could it be South America leading by example? There are certainly benefits to a well-thought-out, agreeable, well-devised programme of re-auditioning (which this does not appear to be, I would agree, but that’s not to say that the concept of re-auditions is a bad one in and of itself)

    Music relevancy – if the musicians don’t have a say in the repertoire chosen (and I suggest that in many orchestras they do, through their own artistic and orchestral committees and through their artistic director and advisor, as well as the conductors), then there’s no reason not to give them a voice in that. It’s irrelevant as far as the standard of the orchestra and a proposed re-auditioning process are concerned, though.

    If the conductor wants to be able to fire weaker players, as you suggest, then, well, are you suggesting that you are opposed to poor players being fired?
    Are you opposed to the idea of giving orchestral jobs to better musicians who may not be in the orchestra at present? Why should anyone in an orchestra have a job there if their playing falls significantly below an acceptable standard?
    Would you accept the same situation in a hospital? Would you want a hospital director to retain the services of a surgeon who’s work was demonstrably worse than that of colleagues or other surgeons who wanted to work i that hospital? Would you retain sub-standard teachers in schools, at the expense of keeping out better educators?

    I accept that you may be opposed to a conductor hiring and firing at will; in which case, if you also oppose re-auditioning, what is your suggested method of assessing the performance of players in an orchestra, and either bringing the poorer players up to standard, or replacing them with better players?

  • Carlos from Guayaquil says:

    Orchestra Sinfonica de Guayaquil (OSG) wrote a document ” in which the Executive Director is petitioning the Cultural Minister to have” a system of evaluation of their musicians which can verify the quality of technique and interpretation, for the purpose of improving the quality of the concerts and bring to international standards the musical level of each of the musicians, …”

    This proposal was filed in 2010, by the administration of the Orchestra, asking for support and the finances. This project was supposedly from the Orchestra, but no member of the orchestra knew about it. This document was discovered by an Asemblista (a politician) and it was the administration asking for auditions to be given to the entire orchestra, under the guise that all government employees have to be evaluated every year. The Administration was telling the musicians that this was ordered by the Cultural Minister and that this was the law with no exceptions. The orchestra is a family where trust is important, and the administration is lying about who originated the request for re-auditions. No one in the orchestra wants dead weight in the orchestra, or people faking that they are playing. Dead weight refers to those who can no longer play their instrument at a professional level, Old or young, makes no difference.

    Usually when people speak of “dead weight” you are talking about old people who can no longer survive an audition. These folks who have survived several conductors, administrations and presidents, whose playing held the orchestra together so that it is still alive today, do we thank them by embarassing them with an audition before international judges before dismissing them as incompetent?

    Replace the weak with dignity, retire them with thanks and gratitude not with Dictatorial show of power. If someone is weak or does not come up to a specific standard , replace, no problem, BUT WHY MAKE ALL PLAYERS, the Principle players included, WITHOUT EXCEPTION RE-AUDITION? Why doesn’t the conductor feel that he has the power to audition only the weak players? Representatives of the players are using phrases like, “showtime” and “payback time.” Why does the conductor use statements like “there will be no victims”, if this is true, why say it?

    No, the issue here is a show of power between musicians and management using lies and deception, with disregard to acceptable musical standards of orchestra “ethics.” The Conductor has the power to make changes, but refuses to use his authority and wants to hide behind re-auditions for all. The document further states that these auditions would improve public attendance placing the blame on the musicians for low turn outs at concerts.

    The Quito orchestra was greatly damaged last year in morale and in reputation when forced auditions retired the conductor, made a public spectacle of individual players, causing the retirement of the Cultural Minister. Fifty-two members of the orchestra disagreed with all having to be re-auditioned, and wrote a letter to the president asking for help. For five months all concerts were cancelled, to economically break the players, so that they would return to work. Four players were fired for refusing to re-audition, and they weren’t necessarily the weakest, just insubordinate. In my opinion, the Quito orchestra is weaker today than before the auditions, and in Guayaquil history is about to repeat itself.

    • AVI says:

      Carlos, are you suggesting that you think the Music Director should be able to pick and choose who to re-audition? You seem to say that the director should choose to audition only the weaker players.
      But wouldn’t that allow the director to unfairly choose those he might not like and deliberately fail them – and isn’t that the very sort of ‘victimisation’ that is the main complaint against music directors?

      Surely it is more fair to re-audition the entire orchestra with a varied panel, perhaps which does not include the music director (after all, the chief conductor may only be at the orchestra for a few years, and is it not important that the orchestra and players sets their own destiny?)? Doesn’t that allow the fairest assessment and selection?

      I’m glad to see, though, that you are not against auditions per se, and that you support the principle of removing players who are not up to scratch.
      As far as “retiring” older players who may not be still able enough – isn’t it usually talked of as “victimisation” when a management or a director seeks to have a player forcibly retired? Wouldn’t it be fairer for the player to have a chance to demonstrate that they are still just as skilled, if they believe they are? And if they do not believe that they are still sufficiently skilled, should they not have the grace to offer to retire / hand in their notice and take their pension, without relying on the orchestra committee, management, or director to persuade them to ?

  • Petronio Bravo says:

    The Orchestra Forum: under the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation had an evaluation of 1,200 orchestras in the USA, and this is What they concluded.

    The whole document can be read at:

    http://www.mellon.org/news_publications/annual-reports-essays/presidents-essays/the-orchestra-forum-the-orchestra-forum-a-discussion-of-symphony-orchestras-in-the-us/

    Leadership
    Among participants in the Forum, the deterioration in institutional leadership is the most consistently identified threat to orchestras. Musicians and managers fear the actions of trustees who are essentially unfamiliar with the art form and who allow their parochial interests to subvert artistic goals. Managers say that the daily demands of production, financial management, and fundraising do not allow them the freedom they need to undertake the critical strategic tasks of planning and organizational development. Many complain that the strict work environment has precluded musicians from assuming leadership roles within the organization. Everyone agrees that service organizations are not doing enough to build expertise, train managers, and encourage orchestras to reward institutional leadership.
    The absence of artistic leadership, however, is considered the greatest problem. This has little to do with the technical ability of conductors, but rather with their capacity to articulate artistic plans for their orchestras, to educate and motivate constituencies within the organization to support it, and to inspire the audience and community to commit adequate resources to ensure its success.
    Overwhelmingly, the biggest problem for this group of orchestras is the absence of the music director during large parts of the year. To confirm the point, only four music directors were available to participate in the Forum; the rest had outside commitments. Extended absences of music directors cause numerous artistic problems for orchestras. Rarely is anyone else assigned responsibility for scholarly programming research. Decisions regarding orchestra personnel are easily avoided. Guest conductors are rarely observed by music directors. Likewise, assistant conductors are seldom evaluated by the person responsible for their artistic development. Finally, the music director rarely judges the musical performance of the orchestra itself except when he or she is on the podium. Inevitably, this lack of supervision results in erosion of quality, a lack of discipline and pride among musicians, and inconsistencies in performance. The current system also seriously inhibits the development of young conductors, as prominent and experienced music directors increasingly abdicate their responsibility for mentoring less experienced colleagues, leaving them to learn on their own before an orchestra that is often impatient, even hostile, to inefficiency and inexperience.
    Absenteeism is especially problematic because of the manner in which authority is delegated. Unlike artistic directors of theater companies or general directors of opera companies who typically serve as CEOs of their organizations, music directors are assigned broad responsibility for artistic matters but are relieved (in practice, if not in intent) of the obligation to provide overall institutional leadership. The business management of the orchestra falls to the executive director, and there is not always a designated CEO, a situation that often creates serious conflicts. This decision-making structure is inherently ambiguous: one person is given power without responsibility, the other responsibility and accountability without authority. An organization that looks like a team is, in fact, hierarchical. This creates an essentially unhealthy climate for orchestras, say Forum advisers—two “half-leaders in an awkward relationship.” Performance quality suffers, morale declines, the institution “drifts,” and “a vacuum is created into which trustees may be sucked.”
    Although this ambiguous division of power is often debilitating, orchestras seem reluctant to abandon their dependence on the music director. Executive directors speak of their duty to “protect” and “support” the music director, while musicians describe the almost complete isolation of the music director from the players in the orchestra. Said one musician, “The bigger, the more eminent a music director gets over the years, the less likely (he or she) will ever hear any negative comment whatsoever from anyone. The sky can be falling behind you, but people are afraid to say anything to the music director.”
    Not all of the blame for this situation falls on music directors. Trustees, especially, cling tenaciously to their reverence for the maestro, often stifling artistic leadership in others and focusing attention on the “business” of the orchestra without giving adequate attention to artistic matters (which they claim they do not understand and which are, besides, the responsibility of the music director). At the same time, they have conflicting expectations of music directors and do not always provide vigorous support for a music director when he or she is present. In addition, although trustees insist that artistic ability is the most important consideration when hiring conductors, they tend to judge them instead on their ability to function within the community as public speakers, educators, and fundraisers. Trustees expect, probably unrealistically, that music directors be superstars on and off the podium, but they have difficulty holding them accountable for anything.
    The natural reluctance of music directors to cede authority and the limited musical knowledge of trustees reinforce the status quo. Tenure patterns within the organization also contribute. On the average, musicians have the longest tenure in orchestras, but they are typically uninvolved in institutional planning and decision-making. Music directors have the next longest tenure (approximately eight to ten years among the 28 orchestras submitting Forum proposals). Executive directors serve an average of four to six years, and senior marketing and development staff just two to three years. Often, staff are not adequately trained or experienced in artistic matters and are therefore not well equipped to provide artistic leadership in the absence of the music director. With the disenfranchisement of musicians, the absence of the music director, the questionable position of the executive director, and the high turnover in senior staff, orchestras easily become lethargic, their sense of artistic purpose weakened.
    This weakness is reflected in poor artistic planning. While all orchestras do regular long-range planning, substantive artistic planning is not effectively integrated into the process. Participants cite a number of resulting problems, among them the lack of specific objectives regarding the improvement of overall orchestral playing, the lack of an imaginative multi-year programming strategy, the failure to address professional development for musicians, and the failure of the board to evaluate the music director. While artistic planning must include the music director, say participants, it must not depend solely on him if the organization is to understand its artistic aspirations and create a set of artistic goals to which everyone can subscribe.
    Role of Musicians
    A recent study comparing the motivation and satisfaction of musicians in 78 American, British, and German orchestras with those of employees in 12 other occupations shows that orchestra musicians’ “internal motivation” is very high, but their general job satisfaction is modest (ranking seventh out of thirteen behind airline flight attendants and even Federal prison guards) and their satisfaction with opportunities for growth even lower. Here they rank ninth, behind mental health workers and beer sales and delivery teams; in all categories, musicians in string quartets ranked first. (Note 11)
    There is good reason for musicians to be discouraged about advancement opportunities in orchestras. The study shows that musicians advance infrequently relative to other occupations. The typical orchestra, for example, has only four to six vacancies per year. Musicians over 40 years of age have served with their present orchestra for an average of 21 years, and the typical orchestra player has been employed by only one or two orchestras other than the one in which he presently is serving. There is clearly a bottleneck at the largest orchestras, and for those musicians who do not advance beyond the regional orchestras, frustration about pay, working conditions, and lack of mobility is heightened.
    Much has been written about the growing dissatisfaction that Allmendinger, Hackman, and Lehman document in their study. Forum participants cite four contributing factors:
    Musicians have little control over their working environment and thus experience alienation, frustration, low morale, and hostility. Robert and Seymour Levine suggest (and Forum participants agree) that this general dissatisfaction manifests itself in the orchestra’s labor-management structure:
    Much of what is inexplicable to observers of professional orchestras can be explained by stress caused by chronic lack of control and musicians’ attempts to deal with it. Musicians’ first line of defense is the classic tactic of avoidance. It is no accident that…the collective bargaining agreements under which orchestras labor spell out in exquisite detail the limits of a conductor’s authority over the musicians. Such agreements attempt to limit the amount of time over which musicians have no control, as well as to express their need to control at least something about the workplace. (Note 12)
    Musicians have not previously been considered a resource within the organization and they have not been encouraged by the union to take leadership roles. Artistic quality will not be enriched, say participants, by giving more concerts, but rather by giving musicians a greater role in shaping the institution in which they work. The goal is not necessarily to expand the role of musicians in management or governance, but rather to use their musical training and talent to benefit the organization in other ways: by teaching; directing independent ensembles; programming; or providing education for staff, trustees, and audiences.
    Musicians are not being trained for the jobs that exist, nor are they being given the skills to adapt to other careers. Musicians complain that conservatories are not providing “sufficient preparation for life within an orchestra.” Said one participant, “Musicians are not trained to be part of a society–that is, the orchestra. Conservatories need to be preparing people with skills to work as a team.” Another added, “despite the clear relationship between job satisfaction and non-playing activity, the systems of training, recruitment, and reward continue to emphasize only performance qualifications.” While no one argues for diminished standards of musical training, many say that the changing marketplace requires conservatories to reconsider their curricula and to think about “educating” their students, not just “training” them. Unlike many other professionals, musicians receive their professional training at the undergraduate level, and given the rigor involved in developing musical proficiency, musicians generally do not receive commensurate education in the humanities. What is needed, say many, is a broader approach to conservatory training that would expand general education requirements and help musicians develop a variety of skills that would increase their versatility. Many argue strongly that a broader conservatory curriculum would ultimately strengthen the orchestra field by supplying better teachers, more satisfied employees, and stronger institutional leaders.
    Orchestras have neglected to provide ongoing professional development for musicians. (Note 13) Musicians’ artistic growth should not stop when they get a job in an orchestra, and addressing this problem is becoming increasingly important, say participants, as expectations of musicians change.
    Today, musicians find themselves in a host of nontraditional settings. They are increasingly required to perform outside the concert hall and to be teachers, public speakers, and fundraisers. Many also serve on boards of their orchestras, requiring them to understand the orchestra’s finances and governance. Despite these additional requirements, musicians are expected to practice and to perform at the highest possible level. Nonetheless, Forum participants believe that this shift in the balance of responsibility is healthy. Musicians want more variety in their jobs, and managers want to use musicians more effectively as artistic resources. “We believe,” said one participant, ” that the purposeful engagement of the musicians–at the organizational level as well as in the art of music making–is fundamental to transformational change.” Another added, “A workplace that recognizes the specific individual contribution which each musician can make to the well-being of the institution and the communities it serves, will be a workplace far less demoralized than it is today.”

  • lenore stone says:

    @AVI
    Auditions give only an educated guess of who may or may not turn out to be a good orchestra member. This is why new player auditions are often followed by a period of probation. A musician´s record of service over time doing the actual job is the only real proof of who is a valuable orchestra musician. Orchestras already have a dismissal procedure to deal with the problem of inadequate players. If a conductor doesn´t have enough knowledge or skill to judge the players he observes and works with daily on the job, and he doesn´t have enough confidence in his judgment to pursue a dismissal procedure, then he has No Business Being a Music Director. Re-auditioning is thus substituting ‘educated guesses’ for the Music Director´s inability to make valid judgments and assesments.

    There´s a reason why we´re called performers–we do that every single day. We produce all the time or we´re out, and any music director worth his salary should know that an orchestral musician re-auditions every single time s/he plays a rehearsal or concert. If the conductor claims that he truly cannot hear how individual players actually perform in an orchestra and thus is unable to evaluate individual players, that would be a very terrible accusation, but, nonetheless he has his own section leaders in the orchestra to depend on. The path to the desired major renovation of an orchestra is not through the removal of musicians, but by encouraging them to produce the best music they ever played, nurturing their self-esteem.

    In every orchestra, even in the very best, there will always be the ¨weakest¨ member, regardless of how many substitutions you make. That is a fact, and there are many ways of making personnel changes. The most common and best is having a change the natural way, by having good retirement conditions. Having re-auditions creates a work environment of “us against them, ” generating distrust, unecessary friction, and none of that is commensurate with good music, where harmony should reign, mutual respect, and artisitc cohesion. The matter of someone´s continued ability to play up to the standards of the orchestra is normally settled by a review committee (made up of one´s peers in the orchestra) that would either uphold or not the decision of the music director to dismiss a player. It is interesting to note that, according to a lawyer who has spent many years negotiating agreements for orchestra musicians, the committee upholds the decision of the music director most of the time. In other words, someone is not dismissed unless their playing has truly slipped. They then deserve to know the reasons for his/her impending termination, and a real chance to offer improvements. If the termination is still desired, the musician deserves to defend his case throught the musicians´committee, so as to prevent non-artistic reasons from permeating the decision to fire him. After that, if the dismissal is truly inevitable, the musician should be given the mercy and the dignity of a proper separation, with a round of applause, a certificate of appreciation or at least some recognition that his/her days in the orchestra were of value, for which the institution thanks him. This gives a message loud and clear to those remaining in the orchestra that it appreciates those who actually produce its sound.

    There is no precedent of great international orchestras going through internal re-auditions to reach that level. Instead, the major orchestras in the world reached a high plateau after the onset of labor movements that gave support to the musicians, giving them job security and reasonable working conditions that foster this high standard. The Berlin Philharmonic began its journey as a significant leader among orchestras of the twentieth century after a movement in 1882 when 54 musicians complained about working conditions and formed a new group, leaving behind their conductor. And Chicago became a leading international orchestra after the departure of Fritz Reiner and the formation of its musician´s committee which defended the labor rights of its members.

    Against this historical movement, one cannot fight. Today, modern enterprises value the feedback within the firm, with “bosses” and “employees” in constant two-way communication toward a better quality product. Neither Embraer nor Petrobrás order the re-interviewing of all its engineers. This is the secret of the success of large companies as well as major international orchestras. The election of internal auditions goes in the opposite direction to these modern ideas and makes the OSG administration look at the year 1950 as an example for the future. A “partnership” indicates a horizontal working strategy, side by side, between conductor and musicians, not something vertical where the maestro is on top and his decisions are untouchable. The respect musicians must have for a conductor is not really different from that which an engineer has for the administration at Embraer or Petrobrás, and it depends on a two-way street where the leadership “makes sense” for the highly trained technicians who assemble the company´s product. If, from the point of view of musicians the leadership of the conductor “makes no sense,” this musician will not produce his best work, unless the desired product is merely that of 100 musicians playing together.

    There is no need for orchestral leaders to use techniques which are discredited internationally to command respect and discipline from their orchestra. It is the living instrument of the conductor and he/she must treat such an instrument with respect and nurture it to perform well. Without such treatment the orchestra, regardless of the individual level of performer, will never perform to its highest potential. A successful mark of a music director is in how he leads and nurtures, not in how he dictates. The days of the “godfather” are long gone.

    • A violinist says:

      Lenore’s post is really excellent. I have mixed feelings about unions sometimes, and I can say unequivocally that the typical union orchestra procedure she describes is superior by light-years. It’s spelled out in advance and is not anywhere near as antagonistic.

      Imagine, after five, ten, twenty years of playing with a group, you find that the conductor decides to ignore reality and treat you as a stranger, and once again it all comes down to 30 seconds of Don Juan in a room in front of a screen (or maybe not? If they can do this to them, why would they bother with a screen either…) in one of the most contrived situations on earth. Regardless of whether you can nail the excerpt, the whole idea is laughable.

      The use of false dichotomies in AVI’s post recalls to me what sometimes happens in Congress: a party takes a good bill and attaches a rider to it that is such a stinker, they know they can only get it passed this way. Then when a few legislators feel the stinker is too big to let go in spite of the bad rap it will get them, the original party makes them out to be heartless people who hate sick children or something like that. In this case we would appear to be opposed to excellence, quality, and progress. AVI, I think this tactic is beneath someone of your apparent intelligence. To her credit, Lenore responded to the charge very well.

      • AVI says:

        A violinist & Lenore –
        For clarity, I am not proposing that auditioning is a panacea or single solution.
        I am responding partly to the ‘original’ outcry over the auditions at the OSB, where the majority of complaints long-term seemed to be about dictatorial music directors, hiring & firing at will, with no, or little, form of redress.
        It struck me then, as it does now, that an auditioning process surely removes the “victimisation by music director” from the picture, providing that an audition panel is comprised as fairly as possible of a musician’s peers.

        At the time, there were many comments to the effect that the commenters neither wished the director to have any hire/fire power, nor wished for auditions. Once a player is appointed, they keep the job until they retire; this, it was claimed, was fairest for musicians. I was trying to seek then – and I try to seek now – to find whether those who hold that view think there should be any means of addressing problems caused by sub-standard performance; if so, what should it be? and if not, is that fair to musicians outside an orchestra who wish to get in, but for whom there is no place available? There never seems to be a clear answer to this.

        I am please to read, Lenore, that you recognise a need to deal with sub-standard players; and thank you for writing about the concept of an internal orchestral ‘review committee’. It strikes me that this approach is not dissimilar to that of re-auditioning – a panel of one’s peers assessing one’s competence for the role. If musicians find that one is fair and they have nothing to fear, then why a problem with the idea of the other?
        I would go further, and suggest that in some orchestras (or most?) which operate this sort of system, the very act of a music director sending a player to the review committee would be seen as “victimisation”, the very mention of it can engender dislike of the director from some members even if the majority happen to support the director’s referral. This is bad for orchestra morale, and can create a “him(/her) against us” atmosphere. Worse, with the review committee being made up from a small number of orchestral players, it runs a risk of creating internal rifts within the orchestra. None of this is good for orchestral morale or a desire to play well together.

        Surely an audition process which treats every member of the orchestra the same, with a varied panel (perhaps screened), at the least allows all members to be assessed equally, without fear or favour, with no-one able to feel unfairly individually picked upon?

        Of course, I readily accept that an audition is not a clear method of assessing a player in an orchestral situation; but it is one method of assessing ability, and a method which can be used across the board, and, if screened, done anonymously and fairly. (one could consider adding chamber music playing as some orchestras do, or other ways to make an audition more relevant, there’s no need for it to be a dry “now play this excerpt” procedure)
        I do not suggest that a simplistic yearly or biannual audition is the /only/ way to assess a player – but it would seem to be a sensible way to regularly check without anyone feeling victimised.

        Indeed, I would suggest that there are ways of using auditions very positively – the NCCI used to (probably still does) have it about right. Annual auditions… but once the player was in the group, then at their next audition they were required only to meet a minimum standard. In other words, one wouldn’t be pushed out by a new whizz-kid fresh from College who auditions well but has limited orchestral experience. If falling below the minimum standard (perhaps because of family problems or other issues, say), then the player would get 6 months to bring themselves up to par. If still unable to meet the minimum standard, then the player would be let go.
        In this way, the core of an orchestra – indeed the vast majority – who spend time playing together as an ensemble, would generally remain intact. No massive upheaval. But the audition process keeps everyone wanting to play to or above standard; it allows those who fall below to be caught early and given lessons, coaching, or other help that they may need; provides a way for them to stay in the ensemble; allows a procedure for them to be let go and a new recruit appointed if necessary… – and all without anyone needing to feel that they have been individually picked on. Surely some variation on this method – perhaps in conjunction with regular intra-orchestral player assessments of each other, (and audition plus intra-section assessment is seen as good enough to appoint players), music director reports, or similar? – is the fairest and least antagonistic means of ensuring a consistent and high standard?

        • Henry says:

          Surely a good conductor would know if someone has fallen below a minimum standard, and people without tenure have their contracts reviewed annually anyway. We’re still talking about outward vs. inward motivation. You know, the difference between “I love this music, can’t wait ’til the concert, gonna invite all my friends” attitude vs. “Man, I’ve got to practice this music or I’m gonna get fired.” Fear is just not a positive force in an orchestra.

          Had a friend who played in an orchestra in Germany several years ago. Said they auditioned before every major concert. They were all sick or had some kind of heart problem, hypertension, whatever. Some of them even died. He said it was crazy. The pressure, the competition, the fear of losing their jobs, didn’t make them better players, it was killing them.

          • AVI says:

            Henry: “Surely a good conductor would know if someone has fallen below a minimum standard” – sure, I don’t disagree. But that’s the point isn’t it? I thought everyone was dead set against the idea of a music director picking on players, telling them they’re not up to scratch, sending them for an ominous “review” process? Assuming the music director isn’t allowed to hire & fire at will (and I quite agree that it isn’t appropriate for a music director, who may only be at an orchestra for a few years, to get rid of players on a whim), then what I’m trying to establish is what people would prefer to be a means of assessing players as required, to ensure that an orchestra is at the highest standard it can be.

            So far there seems to be general agreement that there should be a way of removing players that fall below an acceptable standard, but some say the music director should have no part in the process, and that auditions aren’t acceptable. So what method /is/ acceptable then? That’s what I’m trying to find out!

  • Joan Sutherland says:

    Just wanted to thank you Lenore for such a beautiful, wise, well-written and all-embracing email. Every orchestra should include your thoughts in its constitution or guidelines.

  • Principle Musician says:

    There are some fundamental problems with auditions. One thing that is essential for the sanity of a musician forced to take re-auditions is that you can only be responsible for one thing: your playing. The rest is out of your control. Many times audition committees cannot even agree beforehand on what they want to hear from the players. While players are working their tails off in preparing for the showdown, often is the case that there is a lack of preparedness from the committee conducting the auditions? How do they decide what values are most relevant in deciding whether to consider this or that player? Does the committee know if musicianship is more important than accuracy? How should these elements be weighed against each other? How should they organize the time spent in each audition? How should they weigh excerpts, solos, section playing and ensemble playing? Very often the audition committee cannot even answer these questions.

    Since the majority of the job is playing in a section; doesn’t it make more sense to place more weight on how a player fits in with and works with the section? This is especially important in section positions. If this is the case, then it makes more sense to allow only the corresponding sections to make the final decisions, because they generally have a sense of what will work for them. In that case, audition committees should be made up of the instrument family that has the opening, plus the music director, but many times this is not the case.

    In order to deal with the numbers at some auditions, split committees have been used. This is not a good solution in most cases. The candidates who are unlucky to pick the odd number are placed in a hall that has inferior acoustics compared to the concert hall that the others get to play in. That is a monumental disadvantage. Acoustics play a big part in the way we sound and how we approach playing. If the hall or room we play in is dry, we may force to make up for the lack of reverb, thus causing fatigue and in some cases a distortion in the style to the committee’s ears. In addition, two committees that are listening simultaneously may have two completely different ideas about who they decide to pass or cut. Because of a lack of common goals or ground rules between the two committees mentioned above, a candidate may be eliminated by one committee who would have been advanced by the other committee.

    Another aspect of an audition that makes no sense is the lack of requests from the committee to the person being auditioned. This is caused most likely by the urgency to hear everyone. Perhaps, fewer players on a given day, there would be more time to ask a candidate to play something again, or more important, to play something differently. The actual job requires us to constantly play things differently at the request of the conductor. Sadly, this aspect of auditions is left for the finals where they may take more time to listen to a player.

    With individual auditions, why is it so important to pick a winner on the day of the audition? The current system has flaws and can end in the rejection of the most qualified candidates. This constitutes a serious cost both to the musicians auditioning and to the orchestras, which end up with unsatisfactory players. When you play in an orchestra, you do not play excerpts one after another. Rather, you play the music in context. You also must have the ability to adapt and change styles within the context of the music and the demands of the conductor or other musicians. Over time, good sections grow and continue to improve and really gel, often feeding off each others’ abilities and attribute, and this is usually called experience. Much like a good relationship, a section can continue to grow and improve over time.

    In order to get that job in that orchestra and that section, why is so much emphasis placed on playing a preliminary round usually consisting only of excerpts? In my experience it is only in a few cases that a solo was heard in the first round. If the solo does not pass the committee’s approval, then you are done… no excerpts. What if I were to suggest that people get married after meeting someone for 10 minutes and experiencing only the view of their face and right elbow? That would be absurd…

    Many orchestra relationships last much longer than marriages, and not always by choice! You want the fit in the orchestra to be a good one! What if all sporting events were decided in a similar way? For example, it’s the finals of Wimbledon, and the players take the court and get one serve, one volley, one backhand and forehand and an overhead. If they are lucky, they get a chance to hit all of those strokes. Maybe they will be eliminated if they miss one into the net. In fact, a tennis player can make 50 errors in a match and still play well and win. I am not suggesting that every audition allow players 3 hours on stage, but more often than not, there are too many players auditioning for one position to be heard adequately with the current model. In many cases the process does not allow for the best fit in a section.

    • AVI says:

      Thank you, Principle Musician (I like the moniker!), for a well written account of the problems with auditioning as a method of selection or assessment. I agree entirely with you that auditions are far from perfect, for the reasons you write.
      But my question – as it has been from the start – is if you don’t like auditions, what do you propose in their place?

      You mention possible assessment within a section, and I agree that that could be very useful. But isn’t that open to abuse, or at least open to a player feeling victimised because they don’t think the section as a whole like them, even though they are a good player… because (and apologies for the stereotype in advance) they don’t go drinking or playing silly games with the rest of the trombone section, or for whatever reason…? Ignore the sillier reason if you like, but players would not, I suggest, wish to feel victimised by their section – and so wouldn’t some form of assessment outwith that be appropriate? I do think that intra-section assessment is useful though (and of course it’s largely how a trialling new player would expect to be assessed), but maybe it should form part of an overall assessment?

      • neville Solomon says:

        I don’t know of anyone here opposing auditions per say. The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) established in their code of ethics for auditions that notices for auditions should be given only when there are genuine vacancies. The point is, AVI, which you conveniently fail to see, is that, notices of auditions should be given only for genuine vacancies, including newly created positions, which the management intends to fill as a result of those auditions, WITH NO predeterminations having been made as to who will be hired. FORCED Re-Auditioning, under the pretense of “evaluating the orchestra” is simply illegal and not acceptable. The equivalent would be to force lawyers yearly to re-write the bar exam, or a pilot (which I happen to be) that has to retake all examinations to keep current, instead of the three simple take off and landings required every six months to test skill and proficiency.

        In Brazil and now in Guayaquil Ecuador, Re-Auditioning is being forced upon the players with no negotiations allowed between musicians and administration, under the pretense that the Administration, (conductor included), doesn’t know the level at which each player is playing at. Calling for mandatory reauditions for positions THAT ARE NOT OPEN, that have been held for years is not only confusing, but demoralizing. Why, the conductor is fully aware of the capabilities of each musician in the group, and their performance is evaluated every time they play. All of the musicians in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil exceeded a minimum competency level to be hired. If the expectation for any one of them is not currently being met for whatever reason, it should be handled on an individual and professional basis. Tyrannical behavior is hostile, humiliating, and intimidating, especially when a military mind-set is being used, punishing everyone because someone is not towing the line.

        RE-Auditioning for false pretenses is considered paramount to firing the entire orchestra, and then re-hiring back those willing to be dictated to, just because you have the power. Many people throughout history have sought to control and dominate others on a massive scale. There is a danger in thinking that you know so much that you can dictate what others ought to believe and what rules they should follow. When my family members were being marched through the concentration camps of Hitler and eventually into the gas ovens, many of the Guards actually thought that they were doing something worthwhile and good. No doubt the Administration of OSG believe that they are doing this for the good of the orchestra and the community. It still does not make it right.

        When I was a child I was raised in South Africa, my grandmother told me that once a month all the farm workers were gathered and would be taken into a room where they would be beaten and whipped worse than a dog. The workers standing outside could hear the cries of the individuals being abused and this in turn would strike fear into the hearts of all within hearing distance, penetrating the screams of the ones being beaten into their souls. All the workers were methodically beaten in hearing range so as to demoralize, isolate conquer and control, simply show who was the “BOSS”.

        The entire world of music does not deem the practice of RE-Auditioning an entire orchestra as an acceptable procedure, so please “AVI” stop ruining the blog and go and play your “Devils Advocate”
        game somewhere else. If a single Audition is difficult to control and themselves are not fair, even under the best of circumstances when the orchestra leadership is truly striving to make it so, then how can you defend a re-audition where musicians are treated as if they are“owned” just because they are paid a salary.

        This is a very important issue. Here in Ecuador, rules are first established, it makes no matter if they are good, bad or ugly, correct or wrong. If rules are made and no one challenges these rules, the following year these rules become precedents for establishing a law, which are almost impossible to reverse. OSG wants to set up an example of what needs to be done in all of the country. Excuses that Quito orchestra went through it, and so did the Cuencan orchestra, as if this action sanctifies this unexcused behavior and somehow makes it right. Apart from the responsibilities of playing for the orchestra, most of the musicians here must find other income in order to survive and support their families. Out of fear they keep quiet.

        This is not the case with my wife and I. My wife plays for the joy of it, not for the money. I man times literally make in one week what my wife makes in an entire year. If the orchestra is on a determined mission to have this illegal procedure and to try and create a law that is contrary to acceptable world view and opinion, then we are on an equally determined mission to stop it. Loss of career is no matter for the good of the whole. We will fight this all the way to the Supreme courts, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much the money. This is for the future of my children, as seven of my nine children play musical instruments, so it is an issue that we hold dear to our hearts.

        • AVI says:

          Neville,
          Thank you for your detailed reply.
          I make no defence of the situations in Brazil or Ecuador; I have no desire to see any form of auditions or other tests forced upon an orchestra in the manner it is suggested they have been. It is clearly something that has been done insensitively, regardless of the claimed motivations for so doing. This much I agree with.

          I am not, as you suggest, “playing Devil’s advocate” – well, OK, maybe a little – but I see the sudden clamouring from musicians across the world that auditions (or re-auditions) are an abhorrent menace and must not be allowed, and I honestly wish to establish exactly what the alternative is. It’s simply no use demanding that re-auditions cannot be held anywhere, unless you are prepared to suggest some alternative system for weeding out players who fall below an acceptable standard.
          It is no good saying that all players are always as committed and dedicated to their job as perhaps your wife is, because it is demonstrably not true. Most are, for sure – but equally most players can point to the few others who are not; who’s commitment waned long ago and who have almost given up – and who’s lack of decent performance risks dragging down the standard of a whole orchestra.

          I contend that that isn’t fair on the hardworking and committed orchestral players, it’s not fair to the audience (without whom the orchestra would be pointless, as far as receiving subsidies goes at least), and it’s not fair to more deserving musicians who are outside the orchestra and wish to get in.

          Given that I hope you would agree with that – all I am asking is this – how do you propose that the substandard musicians are
          a/ identified
          b/ assessed in a fair manner
          c/ then given the help they need, if they do (be it lessons, time off to practice and get back in shape, time off to recuperate after family illness or whatever the cause is)
          d/ if they fail to reach an acceptable standard, let go from the orchestra, and a new member recruited
          ?

          In no way am I suggesting that auditions are a panacea! But given the oft-written comments about how musicians don’t want a music director they don’t like to be allowed to pick on them individually; how a music director should not be allowed to “hire and fire” at will… I can’t see what else is left as a means of fair assessment which addresses in the most practical way possible an issue which few admit but which surely exists – that in some orchestras there will be players who are simply not as good as they should be, and below the standard of the rest by too great a margin.

          It seems somehow bizarre, though, that the only answer to the “tyrannical music director” is a process of auditions, yet the same people who don’t like the director choosing also don’t want auditions.
          I’m just trying to understand that, and to find out what the alternative actually is, because nothing obvious comes to mind, and thus far no-one has suggested one (aside from relying on every musician to work hard and be really good, but I’m afraid that while most may do so, not all do). Neville – what solution would you suggest, and what would your wife, as a player herself, suggest?

          I re-iterate – I have no drum to beat here; no side of the argument to take in particular. I just want to know what those who oppose these things would suggest in their place, and so far there seem to be no clear answers.

  • larry says:

    Wow! A person with an experience is never at the mercy of someone with only a mere argument. Hitler was famous for lying, and the CIA created a quote about him saying, “If you tell a lie long enough loud enough and often enough the people will believe it.” Neville, thank you for your courage, fight, and determination to do what is right. We’re all rooting for you.

  • nacho says:

    This conductor is committing “career suicide.” After seeing all the international boycotts of Minczuk’s orchestra, and he still thinks these reauditions are a good idea? Right or wrong, it’s obvious the majority of people don’t like it, and he’s going to be very unpopular.

  • neville Solomon says:

    I don’t know of anyone in the Orquesta Sinfonica de Guayaquil opposing personal evaluations, but what the orchestra administration is trying to do is to have re-auditions, just calling them “evaluations”. The International Conference for Symphony and Orchestra Musicians (ICSOM) code of ethics says that notices of auditions should be given only for genuine vacancies, including newly created positions, which the management intends to fill as a result of those auditions, WITH NO predeterminations having been made as to who will be hired. FORCED Re-Auditioning, under the pretense of “evaluating the orchestra” is simply illegal and not acceptable.

    No sé de nadie en la Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil que se oponga a las evaluaciones personales, pero lo que la administración de la orquesta está intentando hacer es re-audiciones, llamándolas “evaluaciones”. El código de ética de la Conferencia Internacional para Músicos de Sinfónica y Orquesta (ICSOM por sus siglas en inglés) dice que las llamadas a audiciones deberían hacerse sólo en caso de vacantes genuinas, incluyendo puestos de reciente creación, los que la administración pretenda llenar como resultado de esas audiciones, SIN que se haya predeterminado quién será contratado. Las re-audiciones FORZADAS, con el pretexto de “evaluar la orquesta” son simplemente ilegales e inaceptables.

    In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and now in Guayaquil, Ecuador, re-auditioning is being forced upon the players with no negotiations allowed between musicians and administration, under the pretense that the administration, (conductor included), doesn’t know the level at which each player is playing. Calling for mandatory re-auditions for positions THAT ARE NOT OPEN, that have been held for years is not only confusing, but demoralizing. Why? Because the conductor is fully aware of the capabilities of each musician in the group, and their performance is evaluated every time they play. All of the musicians in the Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil exceeded a minimum competency level to be hired. If the expectation for any one of them is not currently being met for whatever reason, it should be handled on an individual and professional basis. Tyrannical behavior is hostile, humiliating, and intimidating, especially when a military mind-set is being used,
    punishing everyone because someone is not towing the line.

    En Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, y ahora en Guayaquil, Ecuador, se está forzando a los músicos a re-audicionar sin permitirles negociar con la administración, con el pretexto de que la administración (incluido el director) no conoce el nivel al que cada músico está tocando. El llamado a re-audicionar para puestos QUE NO ESTÁN LIBRES, que han sido ocupados por años no sólo es confuso, sino también desmoralizador. ¿Porqué? Porque el director está plenamente consciente de las capacidades de cada músico en el grupo, y su rendimiento se evalúa cada vez que tocan. Todos los músicos de la Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil superaron un mínimo de nivel de competencia antes de ser contratados. Si cualquiera de ellos no satisface las expectativas por la razón que sea, debería manejárselo en una base personal y profesional. El comportamiento tirano es hostil, humillante e intimidante, especialmente cuando se usa una mentalidad militar, castigando a todos porque alguien no está obedeciendo.

    RE-Auditioning for false pretenses is considered paramount to firing the entire orchestra, and then re-hiring back those willing to be dictated to, just because one has the power. Many people throughout history have sought to control and dominate others on a massive scale. There is a danger in thinking that you know so much that you can dictate what others ought to believe and what rules they should follow. When my family members were being marched through the concentration camps of Hitler and eventually into the gas ovens, many of the guards actually thought that they were doing something worthwhile and good. No doubt the administration of OSG believe that they are doing this for the good of the orchestra and the community. It still does not make it right.

    Re-audicionar con pretextos falsos se considera primordial para despedir a la orquesta entera, y luego volver a contratar a aquellos que deseen seguir imposiciones, sólo porque uno tiene el poder. Mucha gente a lo largo de la historia han intentado controlar y dominar a otros en una escala masiva. Es peligroso pensar que se sabe tanto que se puede imponer lo que los otros deben pensar y qué reglas deben seguir. Cuando hicieron marchar a los miembros de mi familia hacia los campos de concentración de Hitler y finalmente a las cámaras de gas, muchos de los guardias realmente pensaban que hacían algo valioso y bueno. Sin duda la administración de la OSG cree que está haciendo esto por el bien de la orquesta y la comunidad. Pero eso no significa que sea correcto.

    When I was a child being raised in South Africa, my grandmother told me that once a month all the farm workers were gathered and taken into a room where they would be beaten and whipped worse than a dog. The workers standing outside could hear the cries of the individuals being abused and this in turn would strike fear into the hearts of all within hearing distance, penetrating the screams of the ones being beaten into their souls. All the workers were methodically beaten in hearing range so as to demoralize, isolate, conquer and control, simply to show who was the “BOSS”.

    Siendo niño y criado en Sudáfrica, mi abuela me dijo que una vez al mes se reunía a todos los trabajadores de la finca en un cuarto donde se los golpeaba y azotaba peor que a perros. Los trabajadores que estaban afuera podían escuchar los llantos de los individuos que eran abusados y como consecuencia se infundía miedo en los corazones de todos aquellos que estuvieran cerca, y en sus almas entraban los gritos de aquellos maltratados. A todos los trabajadores se los azotaba metódicamente a una distancia que se alcanzase a oír, con el fin de desmoralizar, aislar, conquistar y controlar, simplemente para demostrar quién era el “JEFE”.

    The entire world of music does not deem the practice of RE-Auditioning an entire orchestra as an acceptable procedure, just like no one today would approve of beating all the workers just to prove who’s the boss. My wife’s last audition for a principal position was manipulated, and I make these documents available to anyone who wants to see them. This administration has been known to disciminate, and it’s time for this unethical behavior to end. If a single audition is difficult to control and make completely fair, even under the best of circumstances when the orchestra leadership is truly striving to make it so, then how much less can one defend a re-audition where musicians are treated as if they are “owned” just because they are paid a salary.

    El mundo de la música en su totalidad no considera que la práctica de re-audicionar a una orquesta entera sea un procedimiento aceptable, igual que hoy en día nadie aprobaría que se golpee a todos los trabajadores sólo para comprobar quién es el jefe. La última audición de mi esposa para una posición superior fue manipulada, y pongo estos documentos a disposición de cualquier persona que los quiera leer. Se ha sabido que esta administración es discriminadora, y ya es tiempo de que este comportamiento anti-ético termine. Si de por sí es difícil controlar una audición individual y hacerla completamente justa, aún bajo las mejores circunstancias cuando el liderazgo de la orquesta realmente luche por hacerlo, entonces cómo no se va a deplorar una re-audición donde los músicos son tratados como si fueran de su “propiedad” sólo porque reciben un salario.

    This is a very important issue. In the past, rules were first established, it did not matter if they were good, bad or ugly, correct or wrong. When these rules were made, and no one challenged these rules, the following year these rules became precedents for establishing a law, which were almost impossible to reverse. According to the project written by Elias Tagle in 2010 and submitted to the Cultural Minister, OSG administration wants to set up an example of what needs to be done in all of the country every year. The excuse is used thatQuito orchestra went through re-auditions, and so did the Cuencan orchestra, as if their participation sanctifies this behavior and somehow makes it law.

    Este es un problema muy importante. En el pasado, primero se establecieron las reglas, sin importar si eran buenas, malas o feas, correctas o incorrectas. Cuando se hizo estas reglas y nadie se opuso, en los años subsiguientes estas reglas se volvieron precedente para establecer leyes, las cuales fueron casi imposibles de revertir. De acuerdo con el proyecto escrito por Elías Tagle en el 2010 y presentado al Ministerio de Cultura, la administración de la OSG quiere poner el ejemplo de lo que se necesita hacer en todo el país cada año. Se pone la excusa de que la orquesta de Quito pasó por re-audiciones, al igual que la orquesta de Cuenca, como si su participación santificara este comportamiento y de alguna manera lo convirtiese en ley.

    Under this presidency, President Correa has made it very clear that all people have rights, regardless of age, income, sexual preference, handicaps, nationality, religión, etc. Apart from the responsibilities of playing for the orchestra, most of the musicians here must find other income in order to survive and support their families. This pluriempleo was approved specifically for the orchestra musicians by the asamblea on August 12, 2010, recognizing that they were not just like other government jobs. The musicians of the OSG should not have to fear losing their jobs in order to stand up for the rights the president has given them. But if these rights are not protected and upheld, they will be lost.

    Bajo esta presidencia, el Presidente Correa ha puesto muy en claro que todas las personas tienen derechos, sin importar edad, ingresos, preferencia sexual, minusvalías, nacionalidad, religión, etc. Aparte de la responsabilidad de tocar para la orquesta, la mayoría de los músicos aquí tiene que encontrar otros ingresos para poder sobrevivir y mantener a sus familias. Este pluriempleo fue aprobado específicamente para los músicos de la orquesta por parte de la Asamblea el 12 de agosto de 2010, reconociendo que no eran similares a otros cargos gubernamentales. Los músicos de la OSG no deberían temer por la pérdida de sus trabajos, alzándose en defensa de los derechos que les ha dado el presidente. Pero si estos derechos no se protegen y respetan, se perderán.

    Isn’t it strange that the orchestra administration claims they need to have re-auditions in order to bring the orchestra up to international standards, but in so doing they are violating the standards they are trying to achieve? Since President Correa, we have a revolution in this country that does not tolerate the suppression or discrimination of any people. If the orchestra administration is on a determined mission to have this illegal procedure and to try to create a law that is contrary to acceptable international protocol designed to protect the rights of musicians worldwide, then we are on an equally determined mission to stop it.

    ¿Acaso no resulta extraño que la administración de la orquesta alegue que necesita re-audicionar para que la orquesta esté a la altura de los estándares internacionales, pero que al hacerlo violen los estándares que tratan de alcanzar? Desde que llegó el Presidente Correa, en este país tenemos una revolución que no tolera la represión o discriminación a ninguna persona. Si la administración de la orquesta tiene la misión determinada de ejecutar este procedimiento ilegal y tratar de crear una ley que es contraria al protocolo internacional aceptable y diseñado para proteger los derechos de los músicos en todo el mundo, entonces tenemos la misión igualmente determinada de detenerla.

    Neville Solomon
    OSG musician spouse
    Esposo de música de la OSG

  • Christy Solomon says:

    Dear Administration, July 18, 2011

    For the past several months, the musicians of the OSG have been warned by David about upcoming auditions. We understand that under the Ley Organica de Servicio Publico, we are obliged to submit to personal evaluations every six months. To this, we have no objection — it is the law. However, when David announced at the end of May that we would be having mandatory auditions in September as the administrative plan for conforming to the six-month evaluation requirement, several issues regarding the violation of musician’s rights became evident.
    Musicians have the right to live and work in dignity, treating each other with respect and without discrimination. Calling for mandatory reauditions for positions that have been held for years is not only confusing, but demoralizing. An orchestra is the living instrument of the conductor. David is fully aware of the capabilities of each musician in the OSG, and their performance is evaluated every time they play, rehearsals or concerts. If they are not treated with respect, regardless of the individual level of the performer, they will never perform to their highest potential.
    The International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) established in their code of ethics for auditions that notices for auditions should be given only when there are genuine vacancies, including newly created positions, which the management intends to fill as a result of those auditions, with no predeterminations having been made as to who will be hired. Forced reauditioning under the guise of “personal evaluations” is considered paramount to firing the entire orchestra, and then re-hiring back those people willing to be dictated to, just because one has the power to do so.
    An evaluation is the systematic determination of merit, or worth, and is significant of the fact that someone has a specific set of criteria written down, in which they are able to judge an individual against such a set of standards, without prejudice or predetermined ideas. Evaluation looks at original objectives, what was accomplished, how it was accomplished, and through objective critical assessment checks to see if those objectives, or “goals” have been accomplished. In contrast, an audition is a trial hearing given to a singer, actor, or other performer to test suitability for employment. It is analogous to a job interview in the regular job market. All of the OSG musicians exceeded a minimum competency level to be hired. If the expectation for any one of them is not currently being met for whatever reason, it should be handled on an individual and professional basis.
    On the 7th of July, 2011, Gorki, David, and the cultural minister all received direct letters of protest from the General Secretary of the International Federation of Musicians. The actions of this administration are being broadcast throughout the arts’ world as a violation of musicians’ rights and are being compared to those of director Roberto Minczuk in the current fiasco of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra in Rio de Janeiro. By violating international protocol, they are creating a negative worldwide stigma for the cultural identity of Ecuador with which the Ecuadorian people and specifically the musicians of this orchestra should not have to be associated.
    It is well-known in the music community that auditioning and playing in an orchestra are quite different skills. An audition is at best only an “educated guess” as to who will or will not make a good orchestra musician. A musician’s record of service over time doing the actual job is the only real proof of who is a valuable orchestra musician. This continual assessment is the responsibility of the music director, David, and if he does not have the knowledge or skill to judge the players he works with daily on the job, or he doesn’t have enough confidence in his judgment to pursue a definite course of action, then he is not doing his job as the music director. Re-auditioning is therefore substituting “educated guesses” for the music director’s inability to make valid judgments and assessments.
    As of this date, the musicians of the OSG have received nothing official regarding the upcoming auditions, and musician requests for copies of the cultural minister’s letters to this administration have been denied. We were told that rehearsals with an accompanist would begin the first week in July, and most of us have already spent many hours preparing for them, whether we agree with them or not. This same lack of direction or open communication was experienced many times in our previous gira to Peru. In fact, if our administration was given a proper evaluation themselves at this time, they would probably score very poorly.
    The Orquesta Sinfonica de Guayaquil is our orchestra, and we should have a meaningful voice in the decisions that affect us. We agree to work and be paid for services rendered, but this does not mean that we are “owned” by our employers. We are dedicated artists who train for many years, and the improvement and success of this orchestra is our success. Tyrannical behavior is hostile, humiliating, and intimidating. A musician should not have to work under this kind of duress, and there should be no fear of tyrants, especially in the beautiful and creative world of the arts.

    Sincerely,

    Christy Solomon

    Estimada Administración, 18 de julio 2011

    Durante los últimos meses, los músicos de la OSG han sido advertidos por Maestro David sobre las próximo audiciones. Entendemos que en la Ley Orgánica de Servicio Público, estamos obligados a someterse a las evaluaciones de personal cada seis meses. Para esto, no tenemos ninguna objeción – que es la ley. Sin embargo, cuando David anunció a finales de mayo que sería tener audiciones obligatorias en septiembre como el plan administrativo de conformidad con el requisito de evaluación de seis meses, varias cuestiones relativas a la violación de los derechos del músico se hizo evidente.
    Los músicos tienen derecho a vivir y trabajar con dignidad, tratar a los demás con respeto y sin discriminación. Pidiendo reauditions obligatorio para las posiciones que se han tenido durante años no sólo es confuso, pero desalentador. Una orquesta es el instrumento vivo del director. Maestro David es plenamente consciente de las capacidades de cada músico de la OSG, y su desempeño es evaluado cada vez que tocan, en ensayos o conciertos. Si no son tratados con respeto, independientemente de su nivel individual de la artista, nunca llevarán a cabo a su máximo potencial.
    Una evaluación es la determinación sistemática de los méritos, o vale la pena, y es significativo el hecho de que alguien tiene un conjunto específico de criterios por escrito, en el que son capaces de juzgar a un individuo contra un conjunto de normas, sin prejuicios ni ideas predeterminadas . La evaluación tiene en los objetivos iniciales, lo que se llevó a cabo, la forma en que se llevó a cabo, ya través de una evaluación crítica objetiva comprueba si los objetivos o “metas” se han cumplido. Por el contrario, una audición es una vista judicial dado a un cantante, actor, y otro artista, para probar la idoneidad para el empleo. Esto es análogo a una entrevista de trabajo en el mercado de trabajo regular. Todos los músicos OSG rebasado el nivel de competencia mínima para ser contratado. Si la expectativa de que alguno de ellos no está siendo cumplido por cualquier razón, se debe manejar de manera individual y profesional.
    El 7 de julio de 2011, Econ. Gorki Elizalde Chiriboga, Maestro David Harutyunyan, y la Ministra de Cultura todas recibieron cartas directa de protesta del Secretario General de la Federación Internacional de Músicos. Las acciones de esta administración están siendo difundidos a través de las artes del mundo como una violación de los músicos de los derechos y se comparan con las de director Roberto Minczuk en el fiasco actual de la Orquesta Sinfónica Brasileña en Río de Janeiro. Por violar el protocolo internacional, están creando un estigma negativo en todo el mundo de la identidad cultural del Ecuador, con la que el pueblo ecuatoriano y, específicamente, los músicos de esta orquesta no tiene que estar asociada.
    Es bien conocido en la comunidad de la música que la audición y tocar en una orquesta son habilidades muy diferentes. Una audición en el mejor de sólo una “conjetura” sobre quién será o no hacer un buen músico de orquesta. Registro de un músico de servicio con el tiempo haciendo el trabajo real es la única prueba real de que es un músico de orquesta valiosa. Esta evaluación continua es la responsabilidad del director musical, Maestro David, y si no tiene el conocimiento o habilidad para juzgar a los músicos con los que trabaja diariamente en el trabajo, o no tiene suficiente confianza en su juicio para seguir una determinada curso de acción, entonces no está haciendo su trabajo como director musical. Volver a la audición es por lo tanto, la sustitución de “conjeturas” de la incapacidad del director de música para hacer juicios válidos y evaluaciones.
    A partir de esta fecha, los músicos de la OSG ha recibido nada oficial con respecto a las audiciones próximo, y músicos quienes pidieron para las copias de las cartas del ministro de cultura de esta administración se les ha negado. Se nos dijo que los ensayos con un acompañante comienza en la primera semana de julio, y la mayoría de nosotros ya hemos pasado muchas horas preparando para ello, si estamos de acuerdo con ello o no. Esta misma falta de dirección o de la comunicación abierta se experimentó muchas veces en nuestra gira anterior a Perú. De hecho, si nuestro gobierno se le dio una evaluación adecuada en este momento sí, es probable que se cuenta muy poco.
    La Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil es la orquesta, y debemos tener una voz significativa en las decisiones que nos afectan. Estamos de acuerdo en trabajar y ser pagados por servicios prestados, pero esto no quiere decir que son “propiedad” de nuestros empresarios. Somos artistas dedicados que se entrenan desde hace muchos años, y la mejora y el éxito de esta orquesta es nuestro éxito. Comportamiento tiránico es hostil, humillante e intimidatorio. Un músico no debería tener que trabajar bajo este tipo de coacción, y no debe haber temor de los tiranos, sobre todo en el mundo hermoso y creativo de las artes.

    Atentamente,

    Christy Solomon

  • neville Solomon says:

    Wiki answers

    An audition is a job that you apply for usually in the acting or singing profession. As part of your audition you perform either a scene from the play for acting or sing a song if you are a singer.

    Wikipedia
    The audition is a systematic process in which industry professionals select performers, which is in some ways analogous to a job interview in the regular job market. In an audition, the employer is testing the ability of the applicant to meet the needs of the job and assess how well the individual will take directions and deal with changes.

    What Is An Audition?
    Generally, an audition is a brief acting performance by an aspiring actor or actress in front of a casting director or a casting panel, in hopes of receiving a role in a film, theatre or some other production.

    Audition
    (Ah-DI-shun
    The term used for the try-outs that a musician must go through before his or her acceptance into an ensemble; also the try-outs for a solo role or performance.

    Online Dictionary
    au·di·tion   [aw-dish-uh n]
    noun
    1. a trial hearing given to a singer, actor, or other performer to test suitability for employment, professional training or competition, etc.
    2. a reading or other simplified rendering of a theatrical work, performed before a potential backer, producer, etc.
    3. the act, sense, or power of hearing.

    1au·di·tion /ɑˈdɪʃən/ noun
    plural au·di·tions

    [count] : a short performance to show the talents of someone (such as an actor or a musician) who is being considered for a role in a play, a position in an orchestra, etc.

    The free Thesaurus

    audition – perform in order to get a role; “She auditioned for a role on Broadway”
    try out
    performing arts – arts or skills that require public performance
    perform – give a performance (of something); “Horowitz is performing at Carnegie Hall tonight”; “We performed a popular Gilbert and Sullivan opera”
    read – audition for a stage role by reading parts of a role; “He is auditioning for `Julius Caesar’ at Stratford this year”

    audition
    noun test, screen test They gave him the role after hearing him perform just once in audition.
    Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

    audition
    n audition [oːˈdiʃən]
    a trial performance for an actor, singer, musician etc She had an audition for a part in the television play.
    Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2010 K Dictionaries Ltd.
    Word Origin & History

    audition
    1590s, “power of hearing,” from M.Fr. audicion , from O.Fr.,”hearing (in a court of law),” from L. auditionem (nom. auditio ),from auditus , pp. of audire “hear” (see audience).
    Meaning “trial for a performer” first recorded 1881; the verb in this sense is1935,
    from the noun.
    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
    Cite This Source

    au·di·tion (ô-dĭshˈən)
    noun
    1. A trial performance, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill for a particular job.
    2. The sense or power of hearing.
    3. The act of hearing.
    verb au·di·tioned, au·di·tion·ing, au·di·tions
    verb, intransitive
    To take part in a trial performance: auditioned for the role and got it.
    verb, transitive
    To evaluate (a person) in a trial performance.
    Origin: Latin audītiō, audītiōn-, from audītus, past participle of audīre, to hear; see au- in Indo-European roots.
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    EVALUATE

    Definition:
    1. [verb] place a value on; judge the worth of something; “I will have the family jewels appraised by a professional”
    Synonyms: measure, valuate, assess, appraise, value
    Synonyms:
    • Search for synonyms for EVALUATE
    Related Words:
    • grade, score, mark
    • rate, value
    • standardize, standardise
    • reassess, reevaluate
    • censor
    • praise

    Dictionary entry details

    • EVALUATE (verb)

    Sense 1 evaluate [BACK TO TOP]
    Meaning:
    Place a value on; judge the worth of something
    Classified under:
    Verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    Synonyms:
    appraise; assess; evaluate; valuate; measure; value
    Context example:
    I will have the family jewels appraised by a professional

    Sense 2 evaluate [BACK TO TOP]
    Meaning:
    Form a critical opinion of
    Classified under:
    Verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    Synonyms:
    pass judgment; evaluate; judge
    Context examples:
    I cannot judge some works of modern art / How do you evaluate this grant proposal? / We shouldn’t pass judgment on other people
    Hypernyms (to “evaluate” is one way to…):
    cerebrate; cogitate; think (use or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments)
    Troponyms (each of the following is one way to “evaluate”):
    grade; order; place; range; rank; rate (assign a rank or rating to)
    anticipate; expect (regard something as probable or likely)
    ascribe; assign; attribute; impute (attribute or credit to)
    assign; attribute (decide as to where something belongs in a scheme)
    disapprove; reject (deem wrong or inappropriate)
    adjudge; declare; hold (declare to be)
    critique; review (appraise critically)
    fail (judge unacceptable)
    pass (accept or judge as acceptable)
    essay; examine; prove; test; try; try out (put to the test, as for its quality, or give experimental use to)
    calculate; count on; estimate; figure; forecast; reckon (judge to be probable)
    believe; conceive; consider; think (judge or regard; look upon; judge)
    stand (have or maintain a position or stand on an issue)
    approve (judge to be right or commendable; think well of)
    disapprove (consider bad or wrong)
    choose (see fit or proper to act in a certain way; decide to act in a certain way)
    prejudge (judge beforehand, especially without sufficient evidence)
    appraise; assess; evaluate; measure; valuate; value (place a value on; judge the worth of something)
    reappraise (appraise anew)
    reject (refuse to accept or acknowledge)
    accept (consider or hold as true)

    evaluate
    American Heritage Dictionary:
    e·val·u·ate

    Foreign Credential Evaluations Evaluations are Academically Fair!
    (ĭ-văl’yū-āt’)
    tr.v., -at·ed, -at·ing, -ates.
    1. To ascertain or fix the value or worth of.
    2. To examine and judge carefully; appraise. See synonyms at estimate.
    3. Mathematics. To calculate the numerical value of; express numerically.
    [Back-formation from evaluation, from French évaluation, from Old French, from evaluer, to evaluate : e-, out (from Latin ē-, ex-; see ex-) + value, value; seevalue.]

    estimate
    American Heritage Dictionary:
    es·ti·mate
    Ads
    Fluke® Tester Calibratione.flukecal.com/TesterCalibration
    Download a Free Guide on How to Calibrate Electrical Safety Testers
    (ĕs’tə-māt’)
    tr.v., -mat·ed, -mat·ing, -mates.
    1. To calculate approximately (the amount, extent, magnitude, position, or value of something).
    2. To form an opinion about; evaluate: “While an author is yet living we estimate his powers by his worst performance” (Samuel Johnson).
    n. (-mĭt)
    1. The act of evaluating or appraising.
    2. A tentative evaluation or rough calculation, as of worth, quantity, or size.
    3. A statement of the approximate cost of work to be done, such as a building project or car repairs.
    4. A judgment based on one’s impressions; an opinion.
    [Latin aestimāre, aestimāt-.]
    estimative es’ti·ma’tive adj.
    estimator es’ti·ma’tor n.
    SYNONYMS estimate, appraise, assess, assay, evaluate, rate. These verbs mean to form a judgment of worth or significance. Estimate usually implies a subjective and somewhat inexact judgment: difficult to estimate the possible results in advance. Appraise stresses expert judgment: appraised the works of art. Assess implies authoritative judgment in setting a monetary value on something as a basis for taxation: assessing real estate for investors. Assay refers to careful examination, especially to chemical analysis of an ore: will assay the ingot. In extended senses appraise, assess, and assay can refer to any critical analysis: appraised his character; will assess the impact of higher taxes; assaying the idea’s merit. Evaluate implies considered judgment in ascertaining value: evaluating a student’s thesis for content and organization. Rate involves determining the rank or grade of someone or something in relation to others: rated the restaurant higher than any other in the city.

  • neville Solomon says:

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil
    Av.Quito e/ Venezuela y El Oro
    Guayaquil
    Ecuador
    Paris, June 30, 2011

    Estimado señor,
    Nos hemos enterado de vuestra intención de reorganizar la Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil realizando audiciones a todos sus músicos. Aunque el objetivo pueda ser mejorar la calidad de la orquesta, tal procedimiento es, en nuestra forma de ver, no sólo injusto sino también contraproducente.
    Todas las orquestas de renombre alrededor del mundo, tienen una larga tradición de diálogo social. Éste diálogo es crucial tanto para prevenir conflictos como para resolver problemas que puedan surgir en el día a día de una orquesta. Un intercambio abierto y confiable con los músicos debería ser llevado a cabo antes de considerar una decisión que no solamente impactará la carrera de los músicos sino también el futuro de su institución.
    La mayoría de los músicos de orquestas ya han tenido audiciones antes de ser elegidos para sus puestos. Desde ese momento, ellos están realizando, de alguna forma, audiciones en el escenario, cada día frente al director, la orquesta y la audiencia. Realizar una re-audición sólo representará una prueba en extremo estresante, que tiene muy poco que ver con un ambiente de trabajo normal y es, por lo tanto, incapaz de proveer una imagen precisa de sus cualidades y destrezas.
    El concepto de re-audiciones es, en sí mismo, altamente cuestionable ya que coloca la carga de la prueba en el músico, a quien se le solicita que establezca si él o ella pueden desempeñarse a un nivel adecuado. El proveer evidencia de posibles defectos profesionales debería ser una responsabilidad del empleador.
    Si se sospecha que existen problemas, artísticos o técnicos, individuales, hay muchas formas de darles solución, o prevenir que ocurran, a través de comunicación adecuada entre la dirección artística y los músicos involucrados. Si el problema no se puede resolver, deberían enviarse avisos formales y programar una entrevista con el músico, a la cual se le debe permitir la asistencia de una persona de su elección (representante sindical, delegado del comité de la orquesta, abogado…).
    Finalmente y lo más importante, la personalidad artística de una orquesta es el resultado de procesos de largo plazo que dependen no sólo de las cualidades individuales, sino también del trabajo colectivo realizado diariamente por la orquesta como un todo, así como también en el marco artístico definido por su Director Musical.
    Creemos firmemente que su objetivo de mejorar la calidad y las expectativas legítimas de los músicos pueden reconciliarse. Para éste fin, en nombre de FIM y sus miembros, le exhorto a buscar diálogos con los músicos a la brevedad posible, con la visión identificar juntos las mejores formas de alcanzar el nivel de excelencia deseado por ambas partes. Hacer esto maximizará las probabilidades de comprometerse con éxito a la renovación de la imagen de la orquesta para beneficio mutuo de los involucrados, incluyendo el público.

    La comunidad Mundial de intérpretes no entenderá si se hace caso omiso a ésta solicitud.
    Atentamente,

    Benoît Machuel
    Secretario General

    • neville Solomon says:

      XXXXXXXXXXXXX
      Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil
      Av.Quito e/ Venezuela y El Oro
      Guayaquil
      Ecuador
      Paris, June 30, 2011

      Dear Sir,
      We have been informed of your intention to reorganise the Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra by way of auditioning all of its musicians. Although the objective may be to improve the quality of the orchestra, such process is in our view not only unfair but also counter-productive.
      All orchestras of significance throughout the world have a longstanding tradition of social dialogue. Such dialogue is crucial for both conflict prevention and the resolution of the various problems that may occur in the course of an orchestra’s daily life. An open and confident exchange with the musicians’ representatives should therefore be conducted before considering a decision that would not only impact the musicians’ career but also the future of your institution.
      Most orchestra musicians already passed an audition before being appointed. Since then, they are somehow auditioning on stage every day in front of the conductor, the orchestra and the audience. Re-auditioning them would only represent an extremely stressful test, which has very little to do with a normal working environment and is therefore unable to give an accurate image of their qualities and skills.
      The concept of re-audition is in itself highly questionable as it places the burden of the proof on the musician, who is requested to establish that he or she can perform at an adequate level, whereas it should instead be a responsibility for the employer to provide evidence of possible professional shortcomings.
      Should individual artistic or technical problems be suspected, there are many ways to solve them or simply prevent them from occurring, through adequate communication between the artistic direction and the musicians concerned. If the problem remains unsolved, formal warnings may be sent and an interview be proposed, for the attendance of which the muisician should be allowed to be assisted by a person of his or her choice (trade union representative, orchestra committee delegate, legal adviser…).
      Finally and foremost, the artistic personality of an orchestra is the result of a long term process that depends not only on individual qualities but also on the collective work carried out daily by the orchestra as a whole, as well as on the artistic framework defined by its Musical Director.
      We firmly believe that your objective of improved quality and the legitimate expectations of performers can be reconciled. To this end, on behalf of FIM and its membership, I urge you to engage into discussions with the musicians’ representatives with no further delay, with a view to jointly identify the best ways to reach the level of excellence that is equally desired by both parties. By so doing, you would maximize your chances to successfully undertake the renewal of the orchestra’s image, for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders, including the public.
      The World community of performers would not understand if these requests were to remain unheard. Yours sincerely,
      Benoît Machuel General Secretary

      The International Federation of Musicians (FIM), founded in 1948, is the only international organisation representing musicians unions at global level, with members in about 70 countries covering all regions of the world. FIM has a permanent relationship with major inter- governmental organisations such as WIPO, the ILO and UNESCO. It is recognised and consulted by the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, which enables it to participate in crucial negotiations and to make the voice of musicians heard.

  • >