Aftershocks of Dallas Symphony’s shameful exit

Aftershocks of Dallas Symphony’s shameful exit


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2015

It has emerged that the shocking decision by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to cancel a Europe tour ‘for security reasons’ was taken without consultation with the musicians or with their music director.

van zweeden1

Jaap van Zweden has responded in diplomatic terms: ‘As an individual, I continue to travel around the world for my various conducting engagements. However, I respect the decision that has been made, as the safety of our DSO musicians and our extended touring group is primary.’

The musicians, however, are furious that a long-awaited trip has been scratched and that the first they heard of it was on Slipped Disc. The DSO seems to have forgotten that the music it produces is made by musicians. Failure to involve them in important decision can only be detrimental to organisational well-being.

There will be internal trouble ahead for DSO President and CEO Jonathan Martin. But it will pale in comparison with the scorn that will greet Dallas next time it tries to book an overseas engagement. Martin and his board have locked the Dallas Symphony in a self-enclosed ghetto.



  • william osborne says:

    About 12,000 people per year in the USA are killed by guns. The yearly average for the number of Americans killed by terrorists since 9/11 has been 27. As a whole, Americans are about 1000 times more likely to be killed by one of their fellow citizens than a terrorist. In 2010, the last year for which I find data, there were 1,246 murders in Texas alone, by far the largest number of any state in the USA, and a rate with no comparison whatsoever in any European country. Members of the DSO would probably be far safer in Europe than in Texas or the USA.

    • Peter says:

      That’s the reality. Who do you think you are, that you can bother us with such ridiculous references to reality?
      Are you one if these rational thinkers? You are dangerous.
      Our daily fear give us today.

      • CDH says:

        Like I said: without something to be paranoid about it, America would cease to function.

        • Milka says:

          And without your stupid observations so would you .

          • Jaybuyer says:

            Who or what is Milka? A claqueur pro/contra SD? Kick anybody but never provide a logical argument. Actually, it was a cheap German chocolate bar when I was last there.

          • Max Grimm says:

            And without your observation about his observation, so would you.
            Well, for closure’s sake…without my observation about your observation, so would I.

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      In 2014 there were 1141 murders in Texas, dwarfed by California’s 1697. Some 450, about 40%, were in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. You know, cities. Where progressives want to drive people. Because they’re easier to control. Anything else is fascism.

  • Peter says:

    Music is made by musicians? No no no, its all about the money. Money makes everything. And if I miss anything, I can just buy it. All I need is money.

    The New World Religion in a nutshell

  • David says:

    As one who had already booked for a Dallas concert in April, we are not just talking about the safety of the band, but also the audiences. We have recently started to be subjected to bag searches in provincial concert halls in Britain, previously this was confined to London, so the authorities perceive a treat to soft targets, and an American Orchestra concert would be a, relatively, soft target. Anywhere where a thousand or more people congregate in a confined space, must be. Every time I go to London, I am aware of the potential threat, but I do not let it stop me going about my business. If I were about to run a multi-venue tour I would be very worried about safety.

    • MWnyc says:

      Whatever did you do during the heyday of the IRA?

      Seems to me most folks over there just got on with things.

      An example I wish more of my fellow Americans would follow (although we New Yorkers are pretty good at it).

      • David says:

        I lived in Notting Hill London in London during the Seventies, and we just carried on as normal. The difference is that the IRA did not go in for suicide bombs, nor mass attacks with automatic weapons, or people with machetes attempting to behead servicemen in Woolwich, so it was nothing like the perceived threat there is now!

  • Different Peter says:

    I hope the tour managing agent claim their full fees, after all the work has been done – booking engagements, travel, hotels etc. And the venues too should be claiming compensation. Too many people let down at too short notice.

  • Shopper says:

    Of course many musicians are upset, but it isn’t true that the first the musicians heard of this was on Slipped Disc! An email was sent previous to the press release which also included M. Van Zweden’s quote that you just posted.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Slipped Disc published the story 30 minutes before the press release went out.

      • Shopper says:

        But an email to the musicians (which was essentially the PR minus some of the quotes) was sent several hours before the PR went out. Maybe you got this “big scoop” from a DSO musician?

        • Jeanne says:

          The point, Shopper, is that the musicians were not consulted or given a chance to give input…they were sent an e-mail. As to when or how Mr. Lebrecht recieved his information is beside the point. Let’s think about that for a moment without blaming the musicians for this decision. Maestro Van Zweden (like all conductors eventually leave orchestras) will soon be free of his association with the Dallas organization and can get on with his sparkling international career. He will perhaps find it difficult to fulfill his remaining weeks of the season…just like he recently cancelled his appearance in Israel with the Israel Philharmonic. But let’s not think about that …let’s all get on the anti-American bandwagon and derogate the musicianship of the musicians who are in the Dallas Symphony because they haven’t been punished enough.

  • Gregory Nigosian says:

    When is his next contract renewal? For that matter, when is the orchestra’s next contract renewal?

    Had the musicians been consulted, I’d guess that there wouldn’t have been unanimity on the issue.

  • Hilary says:

    It would be a nice idea if a composer like John Adams, Gerald Barry or Brian Ferneyhough wrote a piece for the orchestra called ‘Dallas’ which was inspired by the iconic soap opera. Excellent publicity all round.

  • Dougie says:

    If they want to be safe, let’s hope they have deleted San Bernadino, Colorado Springs, Roseburg, Chattanooga and Charleston, to name but a few, from their list of potential tour venues.

    • MWnyc says:

      Hey, the guy that shot up that church in Charleston was from upstate, okay?

      Charlestonians would never shoot up a church. Too vulgar.

  • milka says:

    Jaybuyer seems on comfortable terms with the cheap whether a chocolate bar or anything else that comes to mind .

  • John G. Deacon says:

    I recall, at the time of the 1st Gulf War, commenting on the cancellation of an EU tour by one of the very major US orchestras, a major US musical figure replied to me, “Listen, Jaaarn (sic), you have to understand that a lot of Americans think Baghdad is just down the road from London”. Perhaps these bands should brush up on their geography before making these crass decisions ?

    • John Borstlap says:

      But geography is a difficult art to master. The London music agency Thunderbolt Ltd organised a tour in the fifties for the Bournemouth Symphony, touching Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna, Odessa, Toledo, Frankfort, Manchester, Alexandria and Rome overlooking the fact that the invitations from these towns actually all came from the USA. And we know about the report of the head of the dragon of the Ring, having been ordered from a fun factory in London, ending-up not in Bayreuth but in Beirout. Also Valery Gergiev sometimes appears at two different concerts at the same time, due to geographical misunderstandings.

  • Mark Stryker says:

    For context: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was the first American orchestra to travel overseas post-9/11, leaving for a 12-day European tour on Oct. 1, 2001. With the orchestra’s music director Neeme Jarvi still recovering from a stroke suffered during the summer, the conductor for the tour was Leif Segerstam.

  • Doug says:

    Such a fine circus on this page: a pissing match with Norman about scooping the announcment and a lineup of anti-American lunatics. Good job, clowns!

  • Milka says:

    Remember here censorship rules the day