Maestro: ‘These musicians need a finger up the ass’

Maestro: ‘These musicians need a finger up the ass’


norman lebrecht

November 21, 2017

Musicians of the Mexico Symphony Orchestra have long been fed up with their veteran music director, Enrique Batiz, denouncing him to the Government as abusive and profligate.

But Batiz, 75, clings on, despite the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.

Now the musicians have published a new denunciation of the maestro, together with a tape recording of his foul, aggressive and mostly unprintable language in rehearsal.

You can listen to the tape here.

Toscanini might have got away with it. But Batiz is no Toscanini.



  • Olassus says:

    Enrique Bátiz is “maestro en dirección” of the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de México, which he founded in 1971 and has headed ever since, except between 1983 and 1990, so for a total of 39 years. Too long. He is a bully and should go.

    The Orquesta Sinfónica de México (“Mexico Symphony Orchestra” above) became the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México, long ago, at the urging of its founder, Carlos Chávez. Its “director artístico” now is Carlos Miguel Prieto.

    When Bátiz was gone from the OSEM, he headed the Orquesta Filarmónica de la Ciudad de México, whose “director principal” today is Scott Yoo, though Eduardo Mata and Enrique Diemecke have been associated with it in the past.

  • Marc Parella says:

    I briefly handled Batiz in the 2000s. He offered conductors large and small an opportunity to conduct OSEM. OSEM also toured the US on extensive tours. (I did not handle those.)

    I had the opportunity to conduct both OSEM and Orquesta Sinfonica de Universidad de Guajuato (Batiz was the director at that time.) Two very excellent orchestras.

    Maestro should step down and go out on the best possible terms. Ending a career at the bottom eclipses any good that you may have done in your career.

  • Linda McDougall says:

    Living in Guanajuato for many years and involved with classical musicians’ inner lives (!), I’m still facing the trauma Bátiz inflicted on even the very best, emotionally and professionally. He is the essence of bullying, and watching him in rehearsal made me quite ill. I never understood why he lasted here so long…a very angry, sick man.

    • Silvia Crastan says:

      Yes, I absolutely agree. He raped me in 1996 in a hotel room in Zurich and I can’t belive he lasted so long..I informed also the orchetsra staff about it, but nobody reacted..he was protected by his lawyers and entourage. Everybody putting up with that ‘mass abuser’

      • Jose Ramirez says:

        I am so sorry for your horrible experience with Batiz, it is also true that you are one of so many of his victims. Another talented British violinist by the name of [redacted] was just too scared to denouce Batiz after her dreadful ordeal with him. You are very brave for speaking out!

  • Andrew Balio says:

    Batiz will go down in the books as one of the most colorful and spectacularly inappropriate conductors in musical history. I am surprised there isn’t a movie villain based on him yet. There is a Facebook group called “We Survived OSEM” (Batiz’s orchestra).This has been going on as long as he stepped on to the podium in the 1970’s. I can’t bring myself to write the things he screamed at us just during my four years in Toluca, never mind the stories I heard from the old timers and the fresh crop that arrived after I left.
    I will offer this relatively mild one when I started playing faster where the composer wrote “play faster” (I didn’t look at Batiz, as a rule):
    Batiz: First Trompeta!!!! Where the hell did you go?!?!? Its like the whole orchestra went to a party and you went to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PARTY. (long string of expletives)
    And what kind of party was that?
    (Long pause for dramatic effect)
    Me: Uh, I dunno
    And why did you go there?

    Because you like that.

    • Simon Scott says:

      How did he get away with all this verbal
      abuse for so long?

    • Mark Mortimer says:

      What a horrible man Andrew- you should have put his lights out for that alone. Despite his conducting achievements- he had rare guest appearances in the UK- probably because our orchestras wouldn’t tolerate him. Anyhow- sounds like he’s getting a well deserved comeuppance.

      • Philip R Cunningham says:

        His guest appearances were with the LSO, which the State of Mexico (Hank Gonzales) rented for him with public funds to do recordings. The musicians I knew there loved him, because they would get paid for an entire recording session but he would arrive late, high, take the piece once from top to bottom, and leave early. The sound technicians would fix anything that the orchestra hadn’t been able to solve by ignoring him.

  • Sara Scurry says:

    I have played in the OSEM a few years back. To be honest, a nerve-wracking experience. The following compilation of quotes feature the words of Enrique Bátiz:

    “It’s too god damned slow. It’s god damned because it’s too slow.”
    “If you rallentando, you will obtain from me a mean-shit face.”
    “It’s like Hollywood is in town – these Halloween people…the Circus!”
    “Sounds like some giant bird, flying around, shitting all over the place…but it doesn’t smell.”
    “An omelet full of marmalade, honey, and lies…you love this!”
    “The last note must be heard as well…ass well…ass, ass, ass!!!”
    “I don’t care what you do in your private life….sleep with cats!”
    “You disappear like – como se llama? – David Copperfield… Fuck him!!”
    “Sounds like Mandarin Chinese Communist castration!”
    “If you don’t follow what is written, I suggest you write your own compositions and become a
    member of the league of idiotic composers.”
    “Last name: Dragging. First name: Hateful. Middle: Tex-Mex!”
    “I want a fast Till – not a fat, slow, American McDonald’s Till….McBurger Boy!”
    “Horns – too fast! Stop agitating the cows, cowboys!”
    “Missing — like the British in Iraq!”
    “I’m not even conducting evenly here!”
    “Telegram to London: Harassment is VERBOTEN! Signed – Adolphus.”
    “Long live the Omelet – full of honey!”