First with the news: Marin Alsop wins renewal in Brazil

First with the news: Marin Alsop wins renewal in Brazil


norman lebrecht

April 15, 2015

We’ve been sent press reports claiming unhappiness in the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra about their American music director. Closer to the ground, it appears the dissent was limited to a small faction with a lot of media friends.


Some time today, Marin Alsop is going to be renewed as music director in Sao Paolo until the end of 2019. Since her arrival in 2012, Marin has put the orch on the world map, performing in 11 Brazilian cities and touring abroad to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin), the Salle Pleyel in Paris and the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Marin Alsop is also music director in Baltimore, where she’s engaged until 2021.

Prom 45, BBC Proms 2012


  • Alvaro Gallegos says:

    The OSESP (Sao Paulo Symphony) is fantastic. The orchestra is great and also their hall, the Sala Sao Paulo.
    Marin has made a remarkable job there, with bold and innovative programmes, and comissioning pieces to Brazilian composers.
    Also, every year they invite a prestigious composer to work with the orchestra. This year will be John Adams.
    This is very good news.

  • Nick Rogieri says:

    Translated by Google, fwiw….

    In the process of renewing contract with Osesp, Marin Alsop faces rejection of 80% of musicians

    Survey of instrumentalists was presented the Administration Council of the orchestra, who held talks with conductor for renovation

    03.18.2015 7:00

    RIO – Next to renew the contract with the State Symphony Orchestra of Sao Paulo (Osesp), Marin Alsop American conductor, musical director and principal conductor of the institution since 2012, will have a big challenge ahead: to conquer his musicians. In a survey of 115 musicians that make up the Osesp, about 80% of them have spoken against the permanence of Marin. Among the reasons for the rejection of the conductor of the orchestra are split into two groups, alleged authoritarian measures and pressure on some of its members. The result of the survey was taken last month to the Board of Directors of Osesp, which nevertheless decided unanimously to continue the process of contract renewal.

    A survey to assess the Marin job is the same as the musicians do regularly with conductors invited to play with Osesp and follows the model of the Berlin Philharmonic. This is an online form, answered anonymously by each member of the orchestra, in which they can rate between poor, fair, good, very good to questions like “repertoire of knowledge and sheet music”, “technical performance”, ” relationship with the orchestra “and” performance in concerts / recordings. ”

    The last research question is whether the teacher “should return for future seasons of Osesp”. In this aspect, on the two occasions that the musicians were consulted about the Marin job since she took over the orchestra at the end of 2013 and the end of 2014, only about 20% responded positively. As a comparison, 80% of Marin rejection represent the same percentage that the British conductor Frank Shipway (1935-2014), a regular contributor to Osesp and historically one of the most beloved professional musicians, had approval.

    The main criticism of the orchestral body that weighs against Marin is the division of members into two groups for testing, baptized by her “Guarnieri” and “Mignone”. According musicians heard by GLOBE, and show preference for the former group, the division prevents instrumentalists touch with different companions, plastering the orchestra. In addition, with the scheme of the groups, the conductor would prevent the same suit members exchange their scales to meet any external engagement. The lack of flexibility, Osesp the members have had to refuse invitations to play in other institutions in Brazil and abroad, common practice in the world of classical music.

    At the beginning of the current concert season of Osesp at the end of February, the suit heads had a meeting with Marin to try to end the division of soloists positions in two teams, claiming that if there are two people concursadas to the same position would not accept discrimination they take turns in the role. The conductor, however, kept the two groups. Sought by GLOBE by Osesp, Marin did not respond to criticism.

    The Marin agreement with Osesp is valid for five years and ends only at the end of 2016, but the meetings for renovation are already being carried out by the Board of Directors of the orchestra, and the forecast is that the final decision to be announced in the coming weeks . They are part of the board Fabio Barbosa (President), Heitor Martins (Vice President), Alberto Goldman, Antonio Quintella, Helio Mattar, José Carlos Dias, Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, Manoel Corrêa do Lago and Savio Araujo. The Osesp is an orchestra maintained by the government of the State of São Paulo, with R $ 47 million budget for 2015.

    The research of the musicians was presented and discussed at the last board meeting.

    – We really got to us a survey, a survey of opinions, whose methodology unaware – says Alberto Goldman (PSDB), former governor of Sao Paulo. – What I realized is that there was a positive evaluation regarding the questions that attest to the competence of the conductor, but also indicative of some people advocating a change. There seems to be a relationship problem. But we did not take this very account, because there is no clarity of the value of this survey. Furthermore, following the evolution of the orchestra and noticing the reaction of audiences and critics, the results are mainly positive. If there are conflicts, they can be overcome. So, in our conversations of the board, the elements that we have, is unanimous that the contract should be renewed.

    It is not new that is shaken the relationship between the musicians and the direction of Osesp: in November 2012, the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo” revealed that the instrumentalists sent a letter to the artistic director of the orchestra, Arthur Nestrovski complaining about the lack of recognition of the excess of the group’s activities and the lack of trials.

    Sought by GLOBE with questions about the research done by the musicians, criticism of the conductor and the division of groups, Osesp concentrated all the answers in a text sent by email by Nestrovski:

    – Renewal of the principal conductor contract will be a decision of the council; but this only happens after hearing many voices: musicians, subscribers and the general public (in annual satisfaction surveys), national and international media (in texts on Osesp), members of the Steering and Advisory Councils, executive and artistic directions, foreign consultants, sponsors, agents and others in the professional environment, in Brazil and abroad. In reaching the decision, the board must also evaluate the results of the partnership between the conductor and the orchestra in the last three years is in concert governed by it in the Sala São Paulo and in the state, national and international tours (BBC Proms Festival and Concertgebouw in 2012; Berlin, London, Paris and other European cities in 2013), or in recordings (CDs for Naxos label) and broadcast (TV, radio and internet), is still the impact of this work in Brazil and abroad. There are many elements that come into play; and it is not to forget that the very regent must be consulted. The commitment of musicians as much as the conductor, has resulted in a remarkable technical and artistic development of the orchestra during this period. All assessments point to a highly satisfactory direction.

    If the renewal of the contract with Marin Osesp is confirmed, it may be in the orchestra until the end of 2019. On Tuesday of next week, the conductor will be at Harvard University, in the United States to receive the Luise Vosgerchian Teaching Award, an award for his technique and dedication to music.


    Conductors and orchestras fight forever. The relationship of delicate balance that involves internal competition and hierarchical positions inspired the Italian film director Federico Fellini, which led to the screen “Orchestra Rehearsal”, 1978 film, which exposes those ailments and the miracle of yet, good music being produced . There are cases and more cases of estrangement between rulers and his men, the traditional Berlin Philharmonic, which had severe clashes with Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989), the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra (OSB), whose main barney occurred with musicians and the conductor Roberto Minczuk.


    The Osesp went through a difficult crisis with John Neschling, conductor leading the orchestra restructuring and headed the group from 1997 to 2009. In the process of making the group the largest set in the country, Neschling raised criticism from musicians in administration and its temperament. While he drew praise for the orchestra, also won enmities. In this role, was included the then governor of São Paulo, José Serra. In 2007, in a video that ended up on YouTube, Neschling appeared calling Sierra “spoiled brat”. The fact was trigger the crisis that ended in 2009 with the resignation of the conductor after an interview in which he criticized Osesp Foundation.

    In the OSB, the biggest crisis happened in 2011, when the direction summoned all the musicians to compulsory hearings performance, displeasing to a group, which was subsequently fired for refusing to take the test and demand the resignation of conductor Roberto Minczuk. At the end of the episode, he remained as principal conductor, but lost the artistic direction. It was then created the Orchestra and Opera Repertory, to house the 36 musicians away. Last year, the two orchestras have undergone a merger, but the musicians of the former Opera Repertoire and are not presented in concerts governed by its holder.

    Minczuk, however, was not the first to face the musicians of OSB. Before him were shot down from the podium conductors Roberto Tibiriçá and Yeruham Scharovsky.

  • David Boxwell says:

    It’s easy to predict that many, many tears will be shed between now and 2019.

  • Ks. Cristopher Robson says:

    Love the google translation 🙂 The last paragraph might conjour up all sorts of wish lists for public executions of conductors. Good old Google Translate 🙂

  • Wish Marin could care about Sao Paulo half as much as she cares about Baltimore says:

    There is a HUGE DISCONNECT ON HER PART ABOUT HOW SHE DEALS WITH HER TWO ORCHESTRAS. In São Paulo, she couldn’t give a damn about the very same riots that take place pretty much every month in the city.

    On the other hand:

    “Baltimore certainly has problems,” Alsop said, “but prides itself on its sense of the community. I think we just wanted to get together and do what we know, what brings us joy, and also do something that isn’t attached to any political opinion.”

    Alsop says the crowd cheered enthusiastically outside Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

    Alsop teaches a program that reaches several hundred children each year in Baltimore’s low-income neighborhoods.”

    I am sorry to say [redacted] her mind and heart keeps tagged only to Baltimore.

    She’s undeserving of a renewal in Sao Paulo (or in any place other than Baltimore) if she cannot at least pretend that she cares about the place.

    Four years down, and she still does make a point of NOT BEING INVOLVED at all.

    Then, why keep the job???

  • Western Shipway says:

    Heaven help us.