Report: Chief conductor walks out

There were murmurs of discontent when the Brazilian conductor last year flew in as principal conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic, an orchestra boycotted by international organisations for its brutal dismissal of mostly non-Asian musicians.

Today, we hear that Mechetti has resigned. He told a Slipped Disc source that he had been treated ‘unprofessionally, unethically and with disrespect’ by the orchestra’s management. He told the orchestra he had been prevented making improvements in ‘certain areas’.

He quit during a week of Mahler Sixth performances, delivering an unscheduled third (or fourth) hammer blow.

The MPO has reconfirmed its status as an international outcast.

Fabio mechetti

Though there will be no shortage of desperate applicants for its vacant podium.

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  • I believe (from what I’ve heard) – he will continue to conduct this Mahler performance, and other weeks up until October 1, of this year. He has given the MPO due notice that he’s departing. Sad news for the orchestra again. Why the Board continues to employ certain CEO’s is completely baffling.

  • A very sad development for the remaining MPO musicians.

    It seems Mechetti tried his best to improve the situation in Kuala Lumpur.
    When he realized that he was not supported by the management he drew consquences.

    Respect!

    Decency and having principles are rather rare traits in this business.

    A lot of hope is gone though.

    It won’t be easy to find a qualified new MD.
    Any capable conductor who wants to improve things will run against the same walls.
    With this CEO the amount of incompetence, bullshit and lies must be unbearable.

    There are certainly conductors out there who would – for the right amount of $$$ not mind to be just the long arm of this unqualified and destructive Management.
    If they go for one of those it will destroy the orchestra.

  • How many more disasters before Petronas pull the plug on the MPO, I wonder? It and the lovely concert hall were sops to the former Prime Minister’s Mahatir Mohammed’s grandiose projects. i cannot imagine the present Petronas board and executives have much enthusiasm to keep pumping cash into a project they clearly have no interest in!

  • Yes, maybe it could now ring a bell for some people that Claus Peter Flor (former MD of MPO) tried exactly this?

    • No question, it was and will be hard for any MD to deal with this incompetent higher management.
      The people with decision making power come from the oil business, mostly Muslims with little interest in western culture or music. Never attend the concerts. The MPO became a pretty unloved child over the years it seems.

      It’s funny you mention Claus Peter Flor. He will be remembered for his highly questionable corrupt style as MD and not for his conducting.
      Giving him the benefit of the doubt…He certainly missed the moment to resign in protest when all those musicians got fired in 2012.

      • I’m sorry, but there has never been a shred of evidence nor a motive identified to support Claus Peter Flor’s involvement with the destructive things that began to happen towards the end of his tenure with MPO, and frankly I can no longer sit idly by and watch these rumours and unfounded accusations persist without challenge. The truth is that Mr. Flor’s contract was nearly identical to the musicians (with the exception of salary), with every clause ending with ‘at the absolute discretion of the Management’ of which he absolutely was NOT a part. I know this for a fact.

        Should he have resigned in protest over the non-renewal of these great musicians? Perhaps if he was independently wealthy it would have been a nice gesture. However I must ask, how many musicians have resigned over the non-renewal of a great Maestro? Mr. Flor is a single Father (his wife passed away years ago) with an ageing Mother and two sons to take care of and a lot of bills to pay just like the rest of us. It would have been completely irresponsible for him to do such a thing and it’s a ridiculous expectation to have in the first place.

        Love him or hate him, he is a great musician and a great Maestro, but more fundamentally, he is another human being in the world trying to make his way for the love of music. He is not without his eccentricities like many great Maestros (we all know that genius is one step away from madness), but his artistic quality and the level to which he elevated the MPO is well documented on YouTube. Being a competent and effective Music Director is not a popularity contest.

        I empathise, not sympathise, with Mr. Flor for taking the fall for Petronas, surviving theses wrongful accusations, and the nearly successful destruction of his career when he was nothing more than a scapegoat in this tragedy.

        People need to understand that the management architecture in Asian orchestras is not the same as in the West. There are no unions out here and the MD never is allowed to have Ozawa/MTT God-like powers.

        Please folks, let’s be careful to place the blame squarely where it belongs which is on the shoulders of Petronas and MPO (mal)management, and stop fuelling these myths. It’s time to afford Mr. Flor a chance to rebuild what’s left of his career as many of us have also had to do over the past several years. If he is forced to stop conducting, then this is another tragedy for Music.

        Finally, if you have a comment about what I’ve written, please reveal yourself and don’t be a coward like so many people posting on this blog.

        Sincerely,

        Jon Paul Dante
        Principal Trumpet, Singapore Symphony Orchestra
        Former Principal Trumpet
        Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra 2006-2011

        • Hi Jon!

          Thank you for your thoughts!

          Superficially, you write little that I can disagree with, however, based on my knowledge of the entire situation, I cannot sincerely nor completely exonerate Mr Flor from guilt. (He found himself unable to look me in the eye, nor speak to me directly during my last 6 months with the orchestra..!!..)

          I have often said that, in some way or other, we have ALL contributed to the situation that currently exists in the MPO. As I reflect on the orchestras entire history, it is clear to me that, at times, the inaction of an individual or individuals (be they well meaning, or otherwise) has proven to be just as damaging as the more conspicuous and unfortunate occurrences of more recent times.

          To apportion blame, particularly at this late stage, is meaningless!! I just hope that the choices and actions of all those who remain, can be pulled together, to work towards restoring the committed, passionate, ambitious and caring workplace that both you and I enjoyed during the “glory years”!! 🙂

          Paul Philbert

          (Founding Section Principal Timpanist, MPO 1998-2012)

        • It is a fact that Flor was mentioned in management letters related to the dismissals of the musicians in 2012. …“decision was made by the board, management and music director”…

          You are implying that CPF was not involved in anything.
          Sorry, but if this is true the only correct and honorable thing for him would have been to clarify this in public and/or resign.
          His silence made him guilty just the same.

          And please don’t write about his family problems! Most of the affected musicians had families with small kids too.

  • It is a fact that Flor was mentioned in management letters related to the dismissals of the musicians in 2012. …“decision was made by the board, management and music director”…

    -Yes, these letters were generated by the office, not him.

    You are implying that CPF was not involved in anything.

    -I am implying that he had much less/if anything to do with these non-renewals than people have been speculating.

    Sorry, but if this is true the only correct and honorable thing for him would have been to clarify this in public and/or resign.
    His silence made him guilty just the same.

    -He signed a lifetime non-disclosure agreement as all Maestros for MPO have done. Why do you think Kees and Matthias have been so quiet? They would all be slapped with major lawsuits if they opened their mouths and they know it.

    And please don’t write about his family problems! Most of the affected musicians had families with small kids too.

    -In context, my comment means that he didn’t have the luxury (like Mechetti) of two large additional salaries from two additional MD posts in other orchestras to facilitate his resignation. MPO was his sole source of income used to support his family. I understand that the affected musicians had families wit small kids too. I’m just asking them to put the blame the correct people. Flor can be difficult and I believe that he has made some bad decisions over his tenure with the MPO, but he has not done anything severe enough to warrant being banned from conducting both in Europe and in the United States. It is illogical to believe that the very person trying to build the MPO artistically would suddenly up and fire 7 of his key players(with no replacements in mind); not to mention that he had absolutely no contractual power to do so in the first place.

    This will be my only reply until you have the courage to reveal yourself. Otherwise I won’t waste my time.

    • @Jon,

      It’s not a problem if you share your opinion here using your real name.
      However, it should be easy to understand why – for a number of reasons – insiders normally won’t reveal their identity here.

      You witnessed everything first hand in KL and you have been one of the most vocal musicians back in 2010 openly opposing Flor’s renewal. For all the known reasons.
      You decided to resign after the management change and Flor’s renewal.

      So it’s rather surprising to read your posts now. Short memory it seems.

      Of course you are entitled to your opinion but not many MPO musicians (or office staff for that matter) would agree with your statements.

      Mechetti’s resignation is very bad news concerning the future of the MPO but it was most likely the necessary step for him to protect his reputation and career.

      Flor, for whatever reason, was not able or willing to do the same in 2010 or 2012. Seems he did not care too much about reputation and did not feel any pressure to clear his name as long plenty of Petronas cash came his way. Little could he know that management would get rid of him and his inner circle soon after. Good riddance btw.

      Reputation? As you sow, so you shall reap.

      If you get my drift: hijacking this thread with PR for Flor is rather inappropriate and unasked for.
      There is indeed no need for any further reply.

      • LIE DETECTOR SAYS:
        May 21, 2015 at 8:59 pm
        @Jon,
        It’s not a problem if you share your opinion here using your real name.
        However, it should be easy to understand why – for a number of reasons – insiders normally won’t reveal their identity here.

        Yes I do understand. Because you’re a coward.

        You witnessed everything first hand in KL and you have been one of the most vocal musicians back in 2010 openly opposing Flor’s renewal. For all the known reasons.
        You decided to resign after the management change and Flor’s renewal.
        So it’s rather surprising to read your posts now. Short memory it seems.

        Actually, back in 2010 I was one of the most, if not the most, vocal musicians organizing petitions to the board for Puan Karina to keep her job as CEO while a small group of others (most likely including yourself) were focused on Mr. Flor’s renewal situation being at the core of the Orchestra’s problems. My reasons for resigning had absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Flor or his renewal situation. My case with MPO is public record. Save yourself further embarrassment by reading about it here:

        http://kl.kehakiman.gov.my/sites/kl.kehakiman.gov.my/attachments/J_22NCvC-1176-12-2011_%28Jon_Paul_Dante_v_Malaysian_Philharmonic_Orchestra%29_%28bth_28.11.12%29.pdf

        Of course you are entitled to your opinion but not many MPO musicians (or office staff for that matter) would agree with your statements.

        Some things are true whether you believe them or not. Many believed the earth was flat for thousands of years

        Mechetti’s resignation is very bad news concerning the future of the MPO but it was most likely the necessary step for him to protect his reputation and career.
        Flor, for whatever reason, was not able or willing to do the same in 2010 or 2012. Seems he did not care too much about reputation and did not feel any pressure to clear his name as long plenty of Petronas cash came his way. Little could he know that management would get rid of him and his inner circle soon after.

        This is also your opinion to which you are also entitled. Misguided and completely unsupported, but your opinion nonetheless. But understand, you make the accusations so the burden of proof is on you, and so far you offer none at all.

        Good riddance btw.
        Reputation? As you sow, so you shall reap.

        If you get my drift: hijacking this thread with PR for Flor is rather inappropriate and unasked for.
        There is indeed no need for any further reply.

        This is not PR for Mr. Flor. This is reality for people posting here and sustaining baseless myths about his contribution to the near destruction of what was my favorite orchestra in the world for 5 years. Yes, I will admit that for a period of time, I also believed that he was complicit if not completely responsible for some of the awful things that were happening there. However, I have come to understand over the past several years that I was indeed wrong. There is just as much honour in knowing and admitting to when you are wrong about something as there is in fighting to the death in defense of what you know is right.

        Honour (and personal integrity) is obviously something you would benefit from learning a bit more about. Get my drift?

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