Struggling Memphis lets music director go

The Tennessee city that served as a launchpad for Elvis, Aretha Franklin and a host of rock legends is having trouble sustaining an orchestra on a population base of 1.3 million. The musicians have taken a 38% pay cut.

Music director Mei-Ann Chen has been told to look elsewhere next year.

mei-ann chen


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  • Memphis and Aretha Franklin? What’s the connection? She’s from Detroit. Her first hits were recorded in Alabama for a New York label.

  • We’ll take her in Phoenix! She has guest conducted several times in the past few years and she’s terrific! Exciting, well-prepared and the orchestra players enjoy her, too.

      • I read it the same way, Norman. She’s resigned, moving on, etc. The article cited indicates that subscriptions, single tickets, and giving are all rising. This sounds like an orchestra that has overcome a number of obstacles and is crawling back from the abyss, not one that is “struggling”.

  • This headline is more than misleading. Ms. Chen is not being let go. Her contract is up. She was renewed before her initial contract expired, and everyone in the organization knew that next season would be her last. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • Thank you for stating the matter so succinctly, Michael. “More than misleading” is a drastic understatement, from my perspective–wow.

  • They’re letting go a woman…who’s also a minority?!

    OUTRAGE!! SCANDAL!!! Clearly this is yet another attempt to keep some people out whilst others stay…?

  • No where in the article that you have linked does it say she was “let go” or “was told to look elsewhere”. It states her contract ended and chose to look for other opportunities. If you can’t read the content on which you’re commenting, don’t post inaccurate information. It’s bad journalism, if that’s even what you can call this.

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