When an orchestra splits down the middle, the conductor must be wrongUncategorized
Some readers have complained that we reported protests in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra over the imposition of a new music director, Antonio Mendez.
Mendez, they say, is a young conductor whose career could be damaged by such revelations. And a symphony orchestra is like Las Vegas – what goes on in Vegas, should stay in Vegas.
Nothing, in our view, could be more wrong-headed.
Players in the Tenerife orchestra contacted Slipped Disc with a genuine grievance. Preposterous as it may seem in this day and age, they were not given a chance to vote on the new music director. The last time they voted, 52 percent said they never wanted to work again with this conductor. That ballot was ignored. The appointment was fixed by an ambitious manager and an aggressive agent. The players will now have to go to work with a boss they neither like nor respect.
This kind of thing should not happen in 2018 and any damage to the young conductor will arise from the manner of his appointment, not from the players’ reaction.
More concerning is the fact that opinion within the orchestra was evenly divided. Some will argue that if almost half the players are happy to work with the new guy, the appointment should go ahead. But that’s the worst course of action. If democracy teaches us one lesson it is that a decision that is split evenly down the middle needs urgently to be reconsidered. A majority of one is no majority.
The best thing Tenerife can do is revoke the appointment and resume the search for a music director who is acceptable to a large part of the orchestra. The best orchestras benefit from a