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
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.