A conductor is accused of exploiting festival musicians

A conductor is accused of exploiting festival musicians


norman lebrecht

February 14, 2018

German social networks are alive with claims that a senior conductor has been underpaying, insulting and otherwise abusing musicians that he hired for a festival in the Tyrol.

The claims are contained in a local blog. Since the claims are anonymous, defamatory and unsupported by external evidence, we will not publish either the conductor’s name or any link to the blog. Nor do we necessarily believe the allegations to be true.

However, if you are musician who has been invited to a festival in that region, be aware that there may be issues.

If you wish to post a comment below, please do not identify either the conductor or the festival. If you attempt to do so, you may face heavy legal penalties.



  • Rodney Friend says:

    ===the claims are anonymous, defamatory and unsupported by external evidence, we will not publish either the conductor’s name or any link to the blog.

    Just a thought, why are you even printing such slim info as this?

    And if one of your regulars gave the correct name of the conductor, would you be obliged to hand over IP Addresss (etc) so that the police/lawyers can find the poster ??

    • norman lebrecht says:

      1 Because several readers have sent it in; to ignore it would imply suppression of a topic that is being widely discussed on German networks.
      2 Not as far as I am aware.

  • Hilary says:

    Judging by the photo, the landscape is sensational. One would hope it would bring out the best in human-nature, and cleanse the soul.

  • erich says:

    A certain Schubert song might seem to have appropriate undertones….

  • Charles G. Clark Maxwell says:

    From that link, see

    “celebrated and occasionally rebellious…”

  • Conradt Thomas says:

    I ve been there a several times and know some musican who wored there. It has been happend exactly that way the guy explains

  • A-UK-Cellist says:

    Oh boy – this ‘senior conductor’ is dreadful ! I hope the veil of secrecy can come off soon.

  • KM says:

    Then there need to be sued a lot of cultural institutions…..

  • YoYo Mama says:

    There is a format for festivals that is widely used, where the administrators are well-paid, receiving corporate sponsorships, and the performers are paid NOTHING. Which is typical of many nonprofits now, indeed, required by foundations and funders, that there are paid staff, even when the actual work is done by volunteers. It is disgusting, to say the least. That said, if they lose their corporate sponsors, the admins, too, are screwed in the end.
    It is probably much the same for competitions. But I have not yet been able to find out what the financial model is and how it works. These things are naturally kept secret.

  • Sue says:

    I’m absolutely outraged! 🙂

  • Do(u)g says:

    It is “official” news now.


    They are goign to sue the blogger. Gustav Kuhn and the Festspiele Erl might soon be in front of a court.

    • Nik says:

      What is strange about the blog is that it purports to consist of quotes supplied by many different people who worked at the festival… but reading through them, they all seem to be written in an identical, idiosyncratic, semi-literate style. As if they were all by the same person.

      • Do(u)g says:

        @NIK: This is what I was also thinking immediately. Especially because he said before these were “direct quotes”, only minimally redacted. However, if you “research” the blogger one would find it improbable that he is just campaigning against the festival.


        If you take these information into account, his credibility rises, in my opinion.

  • La Traviata says:

    On the festival’s website you find all the names of the artistic members. Just ask them personally. You will be surprised what some of them will tell you…
    And the one who knows aleady the situation in German und Austrian theaters will not be surpised at all.