NY Phil replaces sick Zubin with strikers’ maestro

NY Phil replaces sick Zubin with strikers’ maestro


norman lebrecht

October 26, 2016

Former music director Zubin Mehta, 80, has called in sick on three concerts next month with the New York Philharmonic.

Who’s free?

Why Manfred Honeck, who’s hanging around twiddling his baton while his musicians are locked out by the Pittsburgh Symphony.

A gesture of solidarity with the strikers might be timely.

manfred honeck



  • Gerald Robbins says:

    Solidarity and conscience: The question is where art thou?

  • Petros LInardos says:

    Can someone please explain what Honeck was supposed to do during the first week of November? Between October 15th and November 25th he had no scheduled concerts with the Pittsburgh Symphony.

  • MacroV says:

    It’s not uncommon for music directors of striking/locked-out orchestras to take other gigs. I’m pretty sure Osmo Vanska replaced some of his cancelled Minnesota dates with other engagements.

  • Eyal Braun says:

    Mehta has also canceled 12 concerts with the Israel PO this month.

  • Daniel F. Tritter says:

    In case Lebrecht is unaware of the facts, he appears unaware that the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony is an employee, just as the musicians are employees, with the very distinct difference that he does not work as a member of the American Federation of Musicians. Maestro Honeck has not been reported to have spoken publicly on any issues of the labor dispute, though presumably he would prefer to be practicing his profession. Does Lebrecht assume that he should be intervening on behalf of one side or the other? To do so would show him not just a knave, but a fool as well.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Would you apply the same terms to Osmo Vanska, who intervened in Minnesota?

      • Ppellay says:

        Honeck may be quietly working behind the scenes trying to get both sides on the same page again. Would be neither knavish nor foolish if he did – that’s what Slatkin did in Detroit when the DSO had that calamitous stoppage a few years back.

    • Ravi Narasimhan says:

      The Orchestra’s public tax form 990 shows that Honeck is an Independent Contractor not an employee. This is typical for the Musuc Director in US orchestras. There are legal implications to the distinction along with whatever his contract requires.

  • It seems to me that music directors traditionally are expected to remain above the fray. Charles Dutoit, at loggerheads with the managing director in Montreal, took the side of the musicians in the MSO strike of 1998. He then felt betrayed by the terms of the contract that resolved the strike, particularly those having to do with rehearsals on tour. And thus began the deterioration in relations that led to the ka-boom of 2002.