The latest artist to join the informal international boycott of the Brazil Symphony Orchestra is a star bandoneon player from Argentina, the justly celebrated Rodolfo Mederos. His withdrawal is announced in O Globo.
The announcement that Roberto Minczuk has been removed from his post as artistic director, while continuing to plan and conduct most concerts, has done little to attenuate international discomfort with an orchestra that has sacked 33 players after they refused to reaudition.
The players appear to be receiving tacit support from immigration officials, who are refusing visas to foreign musicians that Minczuk tried to hire earlier this year to replace them. I hear from local musicians that the authorities have also blocked an application for a concertmaster from the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra to lead the OSB during a Beethoven cycle conducted next month by Kurt Masur. The status of that cycle must now be in jeopardy.
It is unlikely the boycott will abate until there are changes in the orchestra’s management, together with an acknowledgement that head-on confrontation is no way to improve a performing ensemble.