Breaking: Musical chaos at Radio France amid rumours the maestro has quit

Breaking: Musical chaos at Radio France amid rumours the maestro has quit


norman lebrecht

September 29, 2014

The Orchestre philarmonique de Radio France has declared a strike, starting Thursday, following the forced resignation of its capable and popular artistic director Eric Montalbetti.

The musicians are protesting – this reads much better in French contre “les méthodes brutales employées par la nouvelle direction de Radio France qui ont forcé leur directeur artistique à la démission”. 

We understand that the music director, Mikko Franck, had a two-hour conversation over the weekend with the director general of Radio France. It appears there is a plan to merge two radio orchestra, the Philharmonique and the National.

Franck promptly withdrew from the forthcoming concerts. We are trying to clarify whether he has resigned altogether.

Either way, chaos is probably an understatement.

mikko franck conducts

UPDATE: Latest here.


  • French Observer says:

    Sadly, this should not come as a surprise to anybody who knows how the French system and French people work and “think”. The country is incapable of ever resolving any conflict or any disagreement in a civilised way through negotiation, discussion or compromise. No, any disagreement in France is ONLY resolved through tension, hurling insults, anger, fights (both verbal and physical), strikes, demonstrations, civil disobedience, chaos (blocking highways, airports, city streets, dumping manure in front of public buildings or in the streets, burning down public buildings, etc.) and more of the same. Radio France and French orchestras are no different than any of the other failed French companies or institutions. There may well be issues here that need to be addressed, no doubt, but that it must always come to dramatic “diva-like” resignations, strikes and loss of image is yet again a clear sign that France remains locked in a backward and extremely dangerous downward spiral. Seen from outside, it all looks pathetic and quite primitive, as does the recent 20 day strike by Air France and the recent burning down and destruction of a regional tax office in Brittany by local farmers, who also dumped manure in the central town square and blocked roads.

  • Edwina says:

    France, a country in decline and turmoil, has become a sad and unhappy place. The people, on my visit in July, looked so depressed and withdrawn, like a hopelessness has set in and they seem beaten down by all of the strikes and disaccord in their once great country.

  • sdReader says:

    Myung-Whun Chung is music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.