Sacked director ‘did not pay enough attention to women’

Sacked director ‘did not pay enough attention to women’


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2017

New evidence on the dismissal of Matthew Halls as artistic director of the Oregon Bach Festival has been obtained by the indefatigable Bob Keefer at Eugene Weekly.

A document obtained from public records shows that Halls was being investigated by the University of Oregon on two complaints of racial and gender discrimination.

The first involved a joke he shared with an Afro-American friend, the countertenor Reginald Mobley, which Mobley insists was inoffensive.

Bob Keefer continues: The second is a July 12 complaint made by an unnamed OBF musician that Halls did not pay women musicians as much attention as he did men in rehearsals. “Our artistic director Matthew Halls does not call on them during rehearsals and favors the men,” the complainant said….

At one point, the complainant says, “It is the responsibility of those in power not to perpetuate old patriarchal systems.”

And these were the grounds for dismissal?

More here.


  • Olin Williams says:

    The article from the Eugene Register Guard includes this statement:
    “The document does “not indicate that the reported incidents are the *why* behind the change in Halls’ status,” UO chief spokesman Tobin Klinger emailed. “You’re assuming a causal relationship that is speculation. As has been said before, we can’t discuss specifics of a personnel matter, but all such decisions are complex and many factors are taken into consideration.”
    So I still do not know exactly why he was dismissed, since the report has been heavily redacted. Only adds to the mystery of the situation.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Maybe the female musicians were much better than the men and did not need as much correction as the opposite sex, and in that case it was not the perpetuation of old patriarchal systems but female masochism.

  • Edgar says:

    The day will come when all humanity has politically corrected itself out of existence. PC will then have achieved what even to worst dictatorships in history failed to achieve. Maybe OBF needs to exclusively hire eunuchs? Always politically correct, of course.

  • Nik says:

    He should take heart. Many others are in trouble for paying too much attention to women.

  • Robert says:

    Ridiculous! If they were paid too much attention they would complain they were harassed or victimised. It is one of those blame everyone else for anything situations where common sense does not prevail. It seems that women these days will find anything to complain about.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But that has been a long tradition. We know of how Richard Strauss got engaged to the singer Pauline de Ahna: at an opera rehearsel where Pauline was the lead role, Strauss corrected everybody on the stage and in the pit except Pauline, since she did an excellent job. But she got angry, threw her part into the pit and yelled: ‘I want to be corrected too!’ and left for her soloist room, followed by an angry Strauss. When some time later one of the musicians went to the room to find-out whether things had calmed down, he heard loud screaming behind the door and suddenly it opened and Strauss said, beaming with pleasure, that he just got engaged.

      So, considering the photo of Mr Halls, he appears to be an attractive man, it is therefore not impossible that there is something comparable lurking behind the story of this festival.