The Long Read: When a music director unseats a concertmastermain
This weekend’s long read delves into some serious backstage turmoil at the Utah Symphony, an orchestra that appears to have been shaken out in quite old-fashioned ways by its Swiss music director, Thierry Fischer.
There has been high player turnover under Fischer’s direction. A popular concertmaster, Ralph Matson, has been demoted.
In June, the only mention of Matson’s change of status came in the form of a statement on the Utah Symphony website: “Thierry Fischer, Music Director of the Utah Symphony has initiated a search for a new concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. Auditions for the position began in February 2015 and are ongoing. Auditions for the Utah Symphony are conducted by the Music Director and the Musician’s Audition Committee. After a new concertmaster has been selected, the Utah Symphony’s current concertmaster, Ralph Matson, will continue with the orchestra in the position of associate concertmaster.”
A guerrilla campaign is being mounted behind the scenes: One former symphony member created Facebook posts offering “Free Ralph” T-shirts, “Just pay attention to the message on the T-shirt” the post reads. “Very bad things are happening in Utah.”
Read the full article here. It’s polite, but quite ugly.