Breaking: Orchestra pays out big time to the manager it fired within weeks

Breaking: Orchestra pays out big time to the manager it fired within weeks


norman lebrecht

November 04, 2013

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande has reached a last-minute, out-of-court settlement with its former manager, Miguel Esteban, who was suing for 1.8 million francs (US $1.95m) compensation on his five-year contract.

Esteban has done well out of the settlement and the orch will have much explaining to do to its financial and political supporters. No good cause was ever given for dismissing the manager, and the manner of his dismissal was particularly humiliating. The board chairman at the time has since resigned.

More good news today for Miguel Esteban: the moment the settlement was announced, he was appointed Vice President Artists and Events at Universal Music Arts and Entertainment ( Clearly, the world’s biggest music company has more faith in his abilities than the crabby orchestral gnomes of Geneva.

Statements below.



Lundi le 4 novembre 2013

La Fondation de l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande et M. Miguel ESTEBAN portent à votre

connaissance qu’ils ont mis, d’un commun accord, un terme au litige qui les opposait en relation

avec la fin des rapports de travail de M. Miguel ESTEBAN survenue le 12 juillet 2012.

Ils vous remercient de votre attention.

Florence Notter

Présidente de la Fondation de l’OSR

Miguel Esteban


Miguel Esteban a été nommé Vice Président d’Artistes et d’Événements auprès d’Universal Music

Arts and Entertainment (, filiale de la société Universal Music Group International

qui se consacre à la promotion de concerts, des tournées et d’autres événements en Europe et dans le monde entier.

UPDATE: The following statement was included in the severance document:

La Fondation de l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande et Monsieur Miguel Esteban ont mis un terme à leur relation de travail avec effet au 12 juillet 2012 sans que les qualités professionnelles ou personnelles de Monsieur Miguel Esteban ne soient remises en question.


The Foundation of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Mr. Miguel Esteban ended their working relationship on July 12, 2012, without casting any doubts on the professional or personal qualities of Mr. Miguel Esteban.



  • Savary says:

    Bravo Miguel, Mazel tov!!!!! These French-Suisse “copinage” & Free Mason mentality goes down the drain. Metin Arditi was fired too so 1-1 between Miguel and Metin. The arrogant OSR musicians and Board of Directors can bite their fingers now!

  • Martin Bernheimer says:

    It couldn’t happen to a nicer (or more worthy) guy.

  • UK Agent says:

    The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is certainly one of the most arrogant and unpleasant orchestras to deal with as an agent and it is not even a great orchestra, but rather a very mediocre provincial sounding ensemble who mistakenly think that they are something special. Boring, stuffy, arrogant and pretentious are the words that come first to mind when thinking of the OSR. I don’t know of any soloist or guest conductor who has ever played with them, who actually enjoyed the experience and they all say the same thing, that the OSR is of poor quality, yet the musicians behave so arrogantly and so unfriendly to any outsider. If they could play well, one might tolerate it, but playing like a provincial orchestra and behaving like they were the Vienna Philharmonic only makes one laugh and get out of their boring and unpleasant city as quick as possible. I also hear that their new GM, Henk Swinnen, has not been able to achieve very much since he arrived and many are disappointed and rumours are circulating that some want him out. It’s all a very sad story and this Miguel Esteban case only highlights the prior poor management under Metin Arditi and the board of incompetent locals, selected more for their money and connections than on their experience and ability to oversee a symphony orchestra. The whole OSR case has more to do with everything BUT music, i.e. money, family connections, Free Masons, political connections, etc. As long as it stays like that, the OSR will sink and go off the world’s musical radar. It has already been off mine since nearly five years and two other agents I know won’t deal with them anymore either. A disgrace!

    • Martin says:

      I have heared them play a thrilling Pictures at an Exhibition last year when they toured my home part of Switzerland.

      The hall they play in in Geneva, Victoria Hall is really beautiful and well worth a trip to the cultural corner of Geneva. Geneva does a Festival of the music every year. I attended last year and enjoyed every minute of it. I wish I’d seen more than just the academy for music and Victoria Hall.

      I haven’t enjoyed many of my visits to Geneva tough.

      The OSR is far from being my favorite Swiss orchestra though. I much prefer our busy local Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen, which also functions as the theatre and opera orchestra.

  • MWnyc says:

    I remember that when the Berlin Philharmonic fired Franz Xaver Ohnesorg (reportedly for being as nasty to them as he was to staffers at Carnegie Hall, where he was also effectively fired), a court ruled that the Philharmoniker had to keep him on the payroll for the entire length of his contract.

  • It appears now that right has won the day. Congratulations, Miguel.