Wobbly Sydney Symphony goes straight on LGBT

Wobbly Sydney Symphony goes straight on LGBT


norman lebrecht

October 01, 2017

Australia’s best-funded orchestra put out a horribly equivocal statement last week on the Government’s Same-Sex marriage survey. It didn’t need to say anything, but facing both ways was a very bad idea.

Now, under mounting pressure, it has just made matters worse.

A message from the SSO Board to our community on Marriage Equality:

“The Sydney Symphony Orchestra initially decided that it should remain neutral on this question, taking the view that as a matter of principle it would not take a position that might be seen to commit its wide range of stakeholders to one side or the other.

In doing so, the Board now acknowledges that it misjudged the need for such an organisation – with its long commitment to inclusiveness, equality and fairness – publicly to proclaim its support for the yes vote which plainly advances each of those ideals.

This decision has the overwhelming support of the SSO’s musicians and staff.”

As from tomorrow, the organisation will be known as the Sorry Symphony Orchestra.

We’re happy sorry to present its new logo.


UPDATE: Why did Sydney change its tune? Read this.


  • Sue says:

    I see no further need to attend any SSO concerts as I think music should be excluded from politics. They don’t need my support henceforth. And where is the evidence that every member of the orchestra feels the same way (as in any organization). I thought “diversity” was the flavour of the month. Apparently it’s group-think now, and not “diversity”. Oh, but who’d have thought?

    • Vlngk says:

      I guess you’ve always refused to attend a concert when Britten (War Requiem), Shostakovich (Symphony No. 5), Messiaen (Quartet for the End of Time), Schoenberg (A Survivor from Warsaw) or John Adams (Nixon in China) was programmed, right?

      • Mikey says:

        No, no, no, you completely misunderstand.
        “Politics” means anything to do with LGBT subject matter. That’s always offensive and never acceptable.
        Good old ordinary politics is a completely different animal.

    • Dom Perignon says:

      Never mind Beethoven refusing to dedicate his compositions to Napoleon when the general declared himself emporer; or Chopin’s efforts in voicing his opposition to Russia’s occupation of Poland through his arts. Sue, you are never worthy of the goodness of classical music. You are not worthy of the comments on political oppressions in Tosca; you are ignorant of the sad truth of inequality and discrimination in Otello; nor have you the sense to sneer at the privileged through humour like Figaro. You have learned nothing. I am happy not to have to share the audience seats with you from now on.

  • Sam says:

    Their incoming CEO posted this on Facebook on the SSO official page:

    A message from Emma Dunch, the SSO’s incoming Chief Executive Officer.

    “As the incoming Chief Executive Officer of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra next January and an out, gay leader, I am proud to express my personal and professional commitment to advancing equality and inclusion for the LGBTQIA community, and to affirm my unflinching support for marriage equality. I believe that same-sex marriage is inevitable in Australia, and that this outcome is right and just.

    Over the weekend, I have joined the SSO’s musicians, staff, and Board members in discussions that have helped clarify the organization’s position in support of marriage equality in Australia. I deeply appreciate the thoughtfulness that has been brought to bear throughout a respectful and nuanced dialogue. I know that there are very diverse views across Australia on this issue, and I respect the Board’s commitment to encouraging every Australian to develop his or her own opinion, and to vote.

    For me, this is about more than my own identity. Personally, I believe that our society and its institutions are made stronger and more vibrant by the diversity of the individuals who people them. And I believe that denying those of us in same-sex relationships the civil rights accorded the married is the antithesis of the Aussie “fair go” and perpetuates profound inequality. I hope that my home country will soon be one that validates my committed relationship of 17 years.

    Artists and their art have long played an important role in challenging accepted norms. I am committed to leading a Sydney Symphony Orchestra that champions its exceptional musicians, serves Sydneysiders in new ways, and provides value to our city beyond traditional concert-giving. I hope that you will join me and my colleagues on that journey, confident that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will continue to welcome and support our LGBTQIA community and be an organization that strives to foster respectful, meaningful dialogue around complex issues.

    After nearly two decades in New York City, I will be returning home to Sydney with my life partner, Elizabeth Scott (pictured left). We have been gratified by the terrifically warm welcome we have received from the SSO’s Board, staff and musicians. We look forward to making new friends when we arrive next year and to proudly counting ourselves among the many Australians who support a fair and inclusive society for all.”

    #VoteYes #LoveIsLove

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    The pressure is too high.