Worst-run orchestra loses its two best friends

Worst-run orchestra loses its two best friends


norman lebrecht

October 21, 2016

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is a regular source of public entertainment on this site, getting rid of four managers in as many years and failing comically to sign the man it announced as chief conductor.

Through these travails, its president, Florence Notter, has refused to acknowledge the slightest error or misjudgement. She has lately appointed a maestro’s girlfriend as general manager.

However, a crack has finally appeared in the Suisse facade.

Today, the  president of the Association of Friends of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, André Piguet, has made public his resignation, saying it’s all the fault of Florence Notter. He also accused her of – strong word – ‘sabotaging’ the Friends. Piguet has been a key supporter of the OSR for 35 years.


Also resigning from  the OSR Foundation is Martin Engstroem, founder of the Verbier Festival.

He tells unflappable Florence: ‘Your desire to control all aspects of the OSR and the archaic hierarchy that governs the institution make harmonious collaboration very difficult.’

So, what now? Dawn arrests at the Baur au Lac?

The OSR is the Fifa of world orchestras.




  • Furzwängler says:

    Erm, the Baur au Lac hotel is in Zurich. TheOrchestre de la Suisse Romande, being based in Geneva in French Switzerland (the Romande), the dawn arrests would more likely take place at the Richemond hotel in that city.

    Just a small and completely pointless point…

  • William Tell says:

    The OSR hopefully will come out of this fiasco stronger, but not before they make serious and profound changes in how they do “business”. The Swiss way of doing things is often laughable, provincial and amateurish and when combined with Swiss arrogance it becomes unbearable. If the OSR wants to survive and be taken seriously, they need to change their provincial Swiss ways and open up to the big world, hire competent international managers, hire quality musicians, which is sadly not the case today and have a Music Director that is dynamic and proactive, not a Swiss styled foreigner, who may fit into narrow, provincial and conservative Swiss society, but is of little interest outside of those narrow confines. Florence Notter must resign for the good of the OSR and in order to give it any chance of surviving in the future.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Stunning news that WIlliam Tell is still alive, even after the Rossini opera.

      But Switserland is exactly like Holland, plus lots of mountains.

    • Pedro says:

      The Swiss have one of the best music festivals in the world ( Lucerne ), a superb opera ( Zurich ) and some of the best concerts halls anywhere ( the Victoria Hall and the Tonhalle among many others ).

      • Furzwängler says:

        Agree with your first point,and to a certain extent with your second point (the Zurich opera having been the venue for many notable first performances, such as Busoni’s ‘Doktor Faustus’ amongst others – – but as to the quality of the Victoria Hall and especially the Tonhalle, you are surely speaking in jest. Or perhaps you have never actually been to a piano recital in either.

  • Swiss Insider says:

    No surprise that Martin Engstroem wanted to be out as a Board member of OSR. Martin is a really smart man!!

    Most unfortunate situation: OSR Artistic Committee is led by the arrogant Madame Notter herself accompanied by people such as the old fashion, stubborn and outdated Brigitte Stockmann as well as the extremely pompous musician representative Hilmar Schweizer who thinks he knows more than the rest of his colleagues in the orchestra!