It had gone quiet for a couple of months after the Brazil Symphony Orchestra agreed, in the face of a worldwide boycott, not to replace its players with East European mercenaries. The deal they struck was that senior musicians would join a secondary orchestra, performing community work.
But not everyone bought the deal, and dissenters are being progressively fired. Yesterday, Antonio J Augusto, professor at the federal university and OSB horn player for 23 years, posted the following statement:
Today, November 3, 2011, I was officially fired from OSB after 23 years of an intense and passionate dedication.
The only ones present were me, the Union’s lawyer, the head of HR and her assistant. No thanks, no farewell, no word.
But I publicly thank all that OSB has given to me over the years and would say that I would do all over again with the same dedication and respect that I have always cultivated for this great orchestra.
I hope the orchestra’s “new era” will be worthy to the history and social responsibility that this institution built. After all, they were primarily and essentially built upon love and dedication of its musicians.
In a personal mail to me, Professor Augusto adds: I was demised because I did not accept to come back to other orchestra than the real OSB. I was sacked from my chair and I understand I should be allowed to come back to it, not to a smaller and “never existing” orchestra. So, in a certain way I pushed my dismissal. Although I have all respect to my colleagues’ decision, for me was impossible to accept this agreement. It is just a position of a silly person who insists on believing in old fashioned things like ideals, humanity and music.
I have no close knowledge of the specific circumstances, but it appears that the OSB have treated a good musician with disrespect. The orchestra’s management keeps announcing that they want to be world class. First, however, they need to adopt international standards of workplace conduct.