The maestro who calls his musicians ‘lazy dogs’

The maestro who calls his musicians ‘lazy dogs’


norman lebrecht

December 06, 2016

This may be a term of endearment in some parts of the world, but it’s one reason why the Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra has gone on strike, demanding the dismissal of chief conductor Uroš Lajovic.

This is Lajovic’s second term in his home town, where he first conducted in the 1980s. Musicians tell us he has yelled at them and threatened financial penalties for those who fail to show respect. They have also obtained details of his fees – 10,500 Euros, allegedly, for a regular subscription concert, which is more than guest conductors of much greater renown.

Lajovic, 72, was appointed last year after retiring as professor of conducting at the University of Performing Arts in Vienna. His star pupil was Kirill Petrenko, music director of Bavarian State Opera and incoming chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.

The musicians are also seeking the removal of general director Damjan Damjanovič, a former third trumpet in the opera orchestra who speaks no major language and has hired four music directors in a dozen years while nurturing a political career. Two years ago he ran for Mayor of Ljubljana. The voters rejected him. Now the musicians want him out.

Here’s Marijan Zlobec’s local blog (in Slovenian), canvassing the musicians’ grievances.





  • Janez Novak says:

    It is important to know that last 3 “chief” conductors were chosen by the management without even consulting the orchestra. These are the main reasons for tensions between the last few maestros and the orchestra.

  • Gerald Martin says:

    I’m sorry; what’s a major language?

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Maybe this is a reference to a kind of consensus that was current about a Century ago, that four living languages were means of expression for High Culture: English, French, German, and Italian (in alfabetical order).

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Those were the languages used in the multilingual magazine ‘Cosmopolis: A Literary Review’, published between January 1896 and November 1898 simultaneously in several European cities, with head office in London.

  • Adoniram says:

    The one who knows the man can’t be surprised. It’s alright the way it went.

  • Marija Novak says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    of course calling the players lazy dogs isn’t nice, but we don’t know for a fact if that is true or not. But listening to their playing, I could say myself, those players didn’t do their homework.

    Here’s the link:

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts…