Breaking: Radio France locks out orchestra. Tonight’s Bach Passion cancelled

Breaking: Radio France locks out orchestra. Tonight’s Bach Passion cancelled


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2015

The tenor Michael Schade has just posted:

Johannespassion cancelled for tonight. Thanks for all those who sang and played their guts out yesterday with Maestro Gatti. Management has locked out the players and cancelled all this weekend.


radio france fire2

UPDATE: Michael Schade adds:

After being all packed and leaving for the airport , and having booked the new flight home, cancelled the hotel, they called back in a panic to say– wait maybe we will do it- please stay, we will reimburse all- maybe we’ll just record it for the radio, perhaps for a small audience, or maybe for us , or maybe not all -Mon Dieu- never seen anything like it!!

FINAL OUTCOME: Cancelled. Once again from Michael Schade:

At 1620 we were told that they have no hall to play in after all…so now it’s cancelled for a SECOND time today….now supposedly it’s because of all the people working at the hall on strike…( ??? No clue they still sound locked out to me) I have no clue…trying to go home, missed the flight I had booked, prices for changes horrendous at this point, supposedly the maestro and the musicians will gather in front of the building and show defiance by playing “something ….already the chorus sang Bach Johannespassion chorales in the Lobby of the Radio France building to huge ( be it internal) applause the other day…it’s all really sad and unfortunate and aggravating to say the least.Seen my share of stuff but nothing like this!!!!!


  • Walter says:

    This Radio France story is, yet again, a typical ‘Made in France’ saga, complete with intrigues, chaos and, above all, stupidity. The current president of Radio France does not have the support of the staff. How he got into his position remains another ‘Made in France’ story, as he lacks experience to take on an organisation of the size of Radio France and he lacks the skills required in today’s rapidly changing environment. At 37 years old, Mathieu Gallet’s CV reads as a classic French story of somebody being propelled up the ladder not based on his intellect, but more on who he knows, why they know him, why they like him and his “network”, which, in France, counts a lot. That’s why the country is full of these 18th Century characters, or courtiers, who please the royal inner circle, for their looks or their connections, but have little, if any, competence and understanding for their job. Of course in France they remain protected, either by other courtiers or by their association and membership in secret societies, but that still won’t pull this moribund and archaic country out of its downward spiral. The country needs to enter the modern age and leave the 18th Century and its mannerisms for the sake of their country’s survival.

    • T-arafanboy says:

      What you write reminds me of “Made in South Korea “:

      Myung Whun Chung must be getting tired of this…

    • DA says:

      I don’t know where you’re from, so I can’t answer to your completely xenophobic commentary. We all know France has much structural problems, but I don’t think UK or US are paradises either. Gallet is a perfectly trained manager, with just as little brains and culture than managers all around the world…

      • T-arafanboy says:

        So you don’t mind what is going on with the Seoul Philharmonic or the KBS Symphony Orchestra?
        I am just concerned about the general hostility and public indifference that is shown towards such national treasures, which leaves the very essence and evolution of music at stake.
        “Xenophobic commentary ” ?!

      • Walter says:

        I am not being xenophobic at all. I am only a keen observer of cultural politics around the world. France has always been extreme in its upheavals, tension and incompetence. You certainly remember the drama when the Opera de la Bastille first opened? They fired Daniel Barenboim before he ever conducted one production, simply because he was chosen by a Socialist government (Mitterand) and once Chrac was in power, they had to get rid of any trace of the Socialist past, including an innocent and very talented musician. Barenboim sued and won a lot of money, at the taxpayers expense. Then several years later, they wanted to get rid of Myung-Whun Chung. Same thing. They fought with him, he sued and he too was paid an enormous sum of money, on the taxpayers expense. The result? The Opera de Paris has never been and never will be a major world class opera house. It is run like a political fiefdom, complete with political infighting and more politics than music. Yes, there are “no brain” managers all over the world, but France has made incompetence in management and political influence in the arts into an art form, a surrealistic one at that. Nobody takes them seriously and with good reason! Mathieu Gallet is yet another in a long line of such miscasting of characters and lacking the needed skills and gravitas. A pretty face does not a good leader make!

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        Based on what Walter says here, he could very well be from France. I have a number of friends from France, and they all talk about their political system and especially the favoritism and nepotism in exactly the same way as Walter does.

        • T-arafanboy says:

          Are we speaking about me or Walter?
          Some confused entries here (Q_Q)

          For clarification I was comparing the situation with the French orchestras to the tragic situation at the Seoul Philharmonic and KBS Symphony.
          But someone starts talking about xenophobia and UK and US paradises…( >﹏< )(?_?)

      • Gonout Backson says:

        You might have noticed there’s not a word in Walter’s writing about the US or the UK being anything like a “paradise”. Nevertheless, I doubt Chung could live there what he lived in France in 1994.

  • Michael Schaffer says:

    “…en prétextant le plan vigipirate” – what does that mean? I thought Vigipirate was some kind of terrorism alert system. What does that have to do with the financial troubles at Radio France?