Boston's Zander scandal: more hokum from the NEC

Boston's Zander scandal: more hokum from the NEC


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2012

An NEC insider has sent us this disturbing report:

Just before the Youth Philharmonic’s concert at the end of last week, the first 
without Benjamin Zander, the orchestra had a question-and-answer session with an administrator from NEC. The administrator’s answer to essentially every question posed by the students was “It is for your health and safety.” 

This answer was given, for example, to someone who asked why Zander 
couldn’t have been allowed to conduct the upcoming concert, which he 
had planned and rehearsed with the orchestra. 

It may well be that NEC officials are under legal constraint and unable to say anything substantive about the shameful dismissal of a respected teacher and conductor. But the formula they have adopted is an outright lie and a serious defamation. Zander was not fired for health and safety reasons. The notion that he could have been a risk to anyone is absurd. If students at the NEC cannot trust what their administrators tell them, they will soon consider moving elsewhere.

See here for the full story so far.



  • Anonymous says:

    To think that they were concerned with the “health and safety” of the students is of course laughable. They were concerned about lawsuits. Ben Zander never posed any kind of threat to the students. On the contrary. He nurtured them. He taught them to get beyond technique, which they all have to burn, and to understand that music is a humane art. Many of his students have worked for years for the privilege of joining Zander’s orchestra — and it IS Zander’s orchestra — only to be deprived of their reward by this senseless firing. We know from their beautiful letters how they feel about that. There are many fine conductors, but those who can inspire and guide the most talented young performers as Ben has inspired and guided the YPO kids are very, very rare. He will not be replaced. Pity the poor kids who might have had their lives transformed by playing in Ben’s YPO. This is a great, and unnecessary, loss.