Swedes at odds in Nordic orchestra exit

Swedes at odds in Nordic orchestra exit


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2016

The management of Camerata Nordica has finally informed its musicians that the orchestra has been suspended, after being shamed by reports in Slipped Disc.

Here’s what they wrote:
Dear Musicians,
The Board of Directors have decided to cancel the Camerata Nordica projects that were going to take place in February and March 2017. This has resulted in the fact that Terje Tönnesen has resigned from his position as artistic director for Camerata Nordica which means that the January project will not take place either. The Music Foundation deeply regrets the present situation and the consequences for you personally. We are sorry for this and send our deepest regards.
Kjell Lindström
General Manager

This served only to raise the levels of outrage among the musicians, who maintain that the artistic director qut only after the management failed to reply to a single email for more than six months.

Here’s the musicians’ response:

Dear PG, Kjell, and whomever else is reading this,

We hope you realise how incredibly unacceptable this email is. To not have signed our artistic director or given him a contract after 6 months of emails makes it literally impossible for you to in any way place the blame on him for anything as you are attempting to do now. There are a large number of musicians who have been booked to play 3 different projects in the new year, and to offer no explanation, no sign of compensation, and to have ignored our letters and those of our leaders so thoroughly for so long is both incredibly offensive to all of us and entirely unacceptable. Nor can you hide your financial mismanagement behind decisions that you pin on our Board of Directors.

Your actions towards our leadership and our musicians demonstrate a gross level of incompetence and mismanagement and will not be accepted by any of us. We remain open to dialogue to fix this situation, but until you are willing to take the responsibility for what you have done, until you and the Board stop trying to cover up your actions, it remains completely unclear to us as to how we can possibly move forward. 

As it stands now you are killing an orchestra that neither of you possess the ability to fix, and it is up to you to stop this now


The Musicians of Camerata Nordica 


  • Stuck on zero says:

    Maybe the ensemble is not “inclusive” enough for the current political powers.
    Whatever, they should examine their legal framework for possible breaches of contract. Anything else is unlikely to work, unfortunately.

  • Catherine Bullock says:


    This is an example of what the orchestra has done.Metamorphosen by memory.

    Best wishes Catherine Bullock

    • Catherine Bullock says:

      I chose to post the youtube clip because it proves the dedication of our leader and all the players. Otherwise, Camerata Nordica have done many great recordings for BIS.

  • V.Lind says:

    When Orchestra leaders resign, the organisation usually has to scramble to find replacements. Was this not an option here to keep the confirmed “projects” going? (I find the word unusual; I do not know Camerata Nordica. Do they do things other than concerts?).

    And use the time to address difficulties, which in this story and its lead-ups seem to be very severe. There is something sinisterly wrong about the way the Board has responded to the requests of Mr. Tönneson, and the way they have informed the players.

    Do none of these boards understand that orchestras are there to make music? And that they hold the livelihoods of a lot of families in their hardline, bottom-line decisions?

  • Judy says:

    I feel seasick every time I run into one of their videos, sorry, it’s just too much acting going on, bring it down a notch.

    • Stamlit says:

      Perhaps you should consider shutting your eyes and listening to the performances of the musicians. It is music, after all. There’s no need to make such a fool of yourself with comments like these.

      • Judy says:

        I’m not making a fool of myself, perhaps you are for not being able to consider that perhaps they aren’t as good as they think. Last time I performed with Martha Argerich, we (the entire ensemble) talked about it with her, movement and music. She finds it ridiculous too when there is all this acting and dancing going on while playing, it’s a lot of clowning and adds little/nothing to the music.

        No offense, but I’ll take Argerich’s opinion over yours any time of the day, thank you.

        • Catherine Bullock says:

          As one of the people ‘clowning around’ I can assure you that it is not acting. I understand that you don’t like it, so then don’t watch it. It pretty simple. I am an English musician who has grown to love the ways of music making in Scandinavia. I will never look back.

        • Stamlit says:

          It’s unfortunate that you need to resort to name dropping and the spoon-fed ideas by other musicians. I have not seen a single word, article, comment, photo, or video that suggests for a single millisecond that any of these musicians or this ensemble thinks it’s so good or superior to yourself or any other orchestra. Maybe the rest of the universe is inferior to you Martha, but to unnecessarily insult any group of musicians who are fighting for their livelihood, for the cultural institution that people’s lives went into building for over 40 years, simply because you don’t understand their necessity to breathe and move when they play together without conductor is incredibly inflammatory.
          If you are in fact a musician yourself you should be massively ashamed of yourself for your disgusting lack of respect and support for colleagues. And if you can’t appreciate what they’re doing, like Catherine so beautifully said, then don’t watch it.

          • Catherine Bullock says:

            It’s possible that the lady above is referring to my comment about the great recordings. I wasn’t playing on them and I have great respect for what my friends and colleagues have done.☺ So I think it’s ok for me to applaud what they have done.
            Movement in music will always be a matter for discussion. I have great respect for the people who would rather use as little movement as possible but I could not work that way as it is unnatural for me. I am not right or wrong, and many great musicians have conflicting views on this. So perhaps we should leave these discussions for another forum.
            Whether Judy thinks CN is good or bad is irrelevant to the regular audience they have in Sweden, who now will not be able to hear these concerts.

          • John says:

            More irrelevant is this discussion, as apparently CN is going down the toilet lol.

          • Stamlit says:

            You find something amusing about the destruction of an over 40 years old arts institution and the lives of the musicians who have dedicated themselves to building it?

          • Catherine Bullock says:


          • Catherine Bullock says:

            I’m not sure it’s worth a response.

        • Arthur B says:

          Spit on people while using argument from authority, boasting discretely about your closeness with Argerich, all of that on an article about said people losing their jobs.

          How much more obnoxious one can get, that’s the only question left.

  • Isadora says:

    Please attend the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1170783232991310/ and sign the protestlist http://upprop.nu/QBXW

  • Benja says:

    One of the most refined ensemble to be scrapped due to mismanagement? Too theatrical or whatever is just irrelevant. Have seen them live performing without conductor most of the time and that’s a very nice achievement. Performing Metamorphosen by heart is NOT very common. Support this beloved NOW!!!