Violent conduct confirmed at Perugia music fest

Violent conduct confirmed at Perugia music fest


norman lebrecht

August 27, 2016

We have received the following validation of our first report from the festival’s MD:

On August 25, 2016 around 2:15pm, out of total surprise, Mihnea Ignat, the conductor of our resident orchestra, jumped on me on Corso Vannuci in Perugia and attempted to strangulate me.

I am not a teacher at Music Fest Perugia, but the managing director of the festival and as such was involved in discussion about the payment for the orchestra, which was provided and executed on August 25th as required by the contract. Mihnea’s assault occurred at 2:15pm on August 25th.

We called the police who directed me to immediately go to the emergency room of the hospital, which I did. I have since been in further meetings with the police and will be pursuing criminal charges against Mihnea Ignat for attempted strangulation. There is surveillance video of the attack and it will be released in due time.

I have copies of a letter from members of the orchestra apologizing to me for the conduct of their director, a copy of my hospital evaluation, a copy of my statement to police regarding Mihnea’s attempted strangulation and a copy of a signed contract stating that the orchestra has been paid in full. I am happy to provide these documents to you upon request.

Many thanks,

John Holloway
Managing Director
Music Fest Perugia

john holloway

pictured at piano, earlier this year



  • Alex says:

    I am one of orchestra musicians and I deny this article.
    The musicians of the orchestra have not apologized at any time by the behaviour of our conductor. We only looked for a communication and approach to John Holloway as representative of the MUSICFEST PERUGIA to receive at least the money the Festival owed us. The organization of the Festival didn’t want to do the last payment to the whole orchestra, using the horrible event of the earthquakes as an excuse for their own benefit .

    Me and the rest of the orchestra members want to transmit a message of support to our conductor Mihnea Ignat, who has always been concerned with the rights of musicians and students. His career has been always with responsibility and commitment to everybody who had worked with him.

    Over time the true nature of this festival will be unveiled as a fraud for the orchestra and for many teachers and students who have participated for years.

    • Alex says:

      By the way, the festival still owes us 60 euros per musician, as it is on record in the contract signed by the entire orchestra. And of course also more money to our conductor.

  • Ximo says:

    I’m a musician of the orchestra. I totally agree with my colleague. He has described what happened as he really was. I have only words of support for Mihnea as it has always fought for the sake of the musicians and students.

  • Andrea says:

    Cómo cambian las historias dependiendo de quién las cuente.
    Yo tampoco soy un profesor del Music Fest Perugia, pero sí soy uno de los 41 músicos que formaron la orquesta residente y que se dejaron la piel en cada uno de los conciertos para hacer que el festival saliera adelante con el mayor éxito posible.
    Mihnea, nuestro director, no es solo un gran profesional, responsable e incansable (de esos que trabajan diez veces más de lo que les corresponde), sino que es además una grandísima persona que no ha dudado en ningún momento en anteponer las necesidades de sus músicos a las suyas propias. Esto último le ha llevado a emplear su tiempo en negociaciones imposibles, a cargarse de trabajo y a llevarse más de un disgusto con tal de que la gente a su cargo no se viera perjudicada.
    Nuestro director nos ha defendido frente a aquellos que pretendían aprovecharse de nuestro trabajo y de nuestras ganas, por lo que solo me queda decir: ¡muchas gracias Mihnea! Estamos contigo

    • José Bergher says:

      A quick translation from the Spanish.-

      How stories change according to who tells them.

      I am not a teacher at Perugia Music Fest either, but am one of the 41 musicians who made up the resident orchestra and who went to great pains in each of the concerts to make the festival get through with the greatest possible success.

      Mihnea, our conductor, not only is a great professional, responsible and tireless (one of those who work ten times more than what they are supposed to) but is also a great person who has never hesitated to place the needs of his musicians ahead of his own. This last has led him to spend his time in extremely difficult negotiations, to overload himself with work and to be grossed out, as long as the people in his care were not harmed. Our conductor has defended us from those who attempted to take advantage of our work and our eagerness, for which all that remains for me to say is: Thank you very much, Mihnea! We are with you.

  • Jose Luis says:

    I am Jose Luis, first double bass of the resident orchestra of the Music Fest Perugia 2016.

    I have another title for this article: Mafia organization confirmed at Perugia Music Fest.

    1. A organization which doesn´t pay the musicians of the orchestra.
    2. A organization which doesn´t pay the restaurant where the musicians of the orchestra have lunch.
    3. A organization which doesn´t pay the hotel where the musicians of the orchestra sleep.
    4. A organization which cancel lessons, concerts and change professors to the students who go to the fest without give back the money.

    We didn´t apologize. We only wrote a friendly mail to John in order to meet and try to get the money that they owe to us. The organization still owes 60 euros per musician, and more money to the conductor.

    The day of the “strangulation” you were trying to scape without paying 200 euros per musician.

    You, John, you didn’t go inmediately to the emergency room of the hospital. You don´t have any video, you don’t have any letter from members of the orchestra apologizing and the orchestra hasn’t been paid in full.

    Violence is never the solution. But stop lie. Let’s tell all the history, not only the part of the history that you want to be known.

  • Miguel says:

    As a member of the orchestra, I have to say we have never apologized for any kind of bad behaviour concerning our conductor.

    The orchestra members had to find a way to communicate with the Festival to be paid, something that the Festival representatives didn’t do by themselves at nearly the end of the payday (as it was agreed in the contract by the way) so we established contact with John Holloway.

    I would like to end this reply making clear the total and absolute support of the orchestra to Mihnea Ignat, who has always selflessly defended our rights and is an example of professionalism and honesty wherever he goes. Thank you, Mihnea!


    My name is Pablo, timpanist of the resident orchestra in Perugia.
    I am a member of this orchestra since many years and I have participated two years in Perugia MusicFest and I can´t stand the manipulation of this new.

    I want to transmit my full support to our director, Mihnea Ignat, who always fought for
    the wellness of his musicians and the festival, with friendliness and professionalism.
    Mihnea has never had aggressive behavior with the orchestra musicians, students and festival organization.

    John and the organization of the festival tried to avoid a final payment to the orchestra using the earthquake as an excuse for their own benefit. The organization didn´t pay to each musician the last 60 euro as it was signed in our contract.

    A representation of the orchestra wanted to approach to John to receive our money,
    in a tough negotiation in which they tried to remove lunch and dinner, change us to a worse hotel and remove 100 euro to each musician, all with the excuse of the earthquake.

    Our director in any case fought for our rights and all members of the orchestra are with him.

    Estamos contigo. Gracias, Mihnea!

  • Carolina says:

    It’s so sad to read so many lies together. As a member of the orchestra I didn’t see any sign of violence but a hot discussion about the payment for the orchestra due to a bad management by the festival which wasn’t going to pay us for our hard work done with a lot of illusion. Finally the orchestra wasn’t paid as required by the contract and we didn’t apologize for any conduct of our director, but the absurd discussion that sadly take place at that moment, verify the information of both parts before publishing please.

    Mihnea is a brave person and an excellent conductor who always defends the rights of the musicians of the orchestra and I admire him for that a lot. I absolutely support our conductor for his honesty and hardworking, keep going!

  • ridiculous says:

    To go this far as to wanting To publicly bash this man is disgusting. No matter what happened at the festival the way the staff has behaved and the length they’ve gone to publicly humiliate this orchestra as well as the conductor is disgusting. I will discontinue any support both financial and public support of this messy festival. You should all be ashamed of yourselves…this isn’t tmz. Get the story correct before rushing to cheer one side. We should all be here supporting each other trying to understand the problem, not spreading rumors like children.