No response from UK orchestras to collusion charges

In any other industry, if several companies were accused of ganging up on a client or customer there would be, at the very least, a promise of an independent investigation and an apology to the inuured party.

Not in the orchestra world.

Six British orchestras were found this week to be sharing a derogatory opinion of a disabled pianist and colluding in their reaction to a Telegraph article.

Since the article appeared, not a word of apology or inquiry has been heard from the Association of British Orchestras or any of the culprits. Silence is the order of the day.

This is not just bad practice. It is tantamount to an abuse of public trust.

The UK funding authorities may need to investigate.

 

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  • The CBSO is extremely concerned about the number of factual inaccuracies in relation to this story and the related posts. The CBSO takes any allegation extremely seriously, and we have responded to every enquiry on this matter that we have received. Neither The Times (February this year) nor the Telegraph (on Monday this week) printed our detailed responses. So I thought it might now be helpful if I were to offer some factual commentary.

    I can only speak for the CBSO, but in our case these are the facts:

    • Nick van Bloss’s agent wrote to us last summer an email headed ‘Disability discrimination by the CBSO’. It said that as his client was so famous and so excellent, yet we had not yet booked him, ‘…one must surmise that there is disability discrimination at play here towards Nick van Bloss by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.’
    • I responded to say that this was entirely untrue as until his agent’s message I had no idea that Nick had a disability (and nor did any of my planning team), and that therefore there could not possibly have been any discrimination. We receive dozens of approaches about soloists every week, and can at best offer opportunities to some 10-15 pianists per season, all of the highest international standard.
    • He took his complaint to the Times who published an article in February. We provided the above facts to The Times and denied that there had been any discrimination – though they did not print the full response that we provided.
    • Following this story, our PR company (who have answered all press enquiries since January 2016 as we do not have an in-house PR team) was approached and heard that a few other news outlets were thinking of running stories. In each case, the full context was explained to them, and they decided not to run a story.
    • The Telegraph articles this week repeat Nick’s accusation, and one includes our denial of any discrimination, but again does not print the full response that we provided.
    • Along the way – having been aware that Nick had accused five other orchestras in the same way – we have discussed the matter openly with each other, as we are entitled to. But each orchestra has handled Nick’s complaints in its own way. We have not engaged in any ‘ganging up’ at all.

    As to the more general point, the CBSO is opposed to discrimination of any kind, and our artistic work and learning & participation programme embrace the principles of the Arts Council’s Creative Case for Diversity – not only because we have to, but because we want to.

    Stephen Maddock
    Chief Executive, CBSO

    • Stephen,

      Thank you for showing consideration and taking the time to provide this information.

      There has been a great deal of conjecture but little in the way of facts.

    • Mr Maddock, in choosing to provide ‘facts’, has, alas, not done so.

      Firstly, he may wish to note that neither the Times nor the Telegraph printed all of my statements about this, either. That’s the nature of the press.

      Mr Maddock failed to include some very pertinent facts:

      1. Mr Maddock fails to point out the number of emails sent between either himself (or other CBSO management) and Rebecca Driver (PR) which mock me professionally – I am happy to produce these emails for public scrutiny.

      2. Mr Maddock fails to mention that, after receiving a legitimate and lawful complaint about diversity, he requested my manager to ‘withdraw immediately your baseless accusation’. As the CEO of a publicly-funded body, he is not legally allowed or entitled to do that.

      2. It is completely lawful and legitimate to question a publicly funded body on its diversity responsibilities, especially when that body is funded on the premise that it promotes and celebrates diversity. Mr Maddock seems to think he is above any scrutiny and accountability – he is not.

      3. Mr Maddock tries to pass off gross collaboration as though it was friendly ‘banter’ between colleagues. (See my final point below). He and the other orchestras engaged in a coordinated, joint effort. I’m uncertain of Mr Maddock’s motivation for denying something of which there is ample documented proof.

      4. Mr Maddock, by joining forces with five other orchestras on this matter has forgotten something extremely important: The orchestras are individually funded by public money. They are NOT jointly funded. They do not collaborate on artistic decisions etc, they do not jointly collaborate over how they will spend their public funding. The orchestras are individually expected to ‘celebrate’ diversity and foster good relations with artists from protected groups. They are certainly not funded to jointly work together to shut down an artist’s news story, nor to partake in behaviour that could be to the detriment of an artist.

      To address the points Mr Maddock made with actual facts:

      *The email from my agent from last summer did not say I was ‘so famous’. Mr Maddock has invented this.

      *Saying that neither he nor his team knew of my disability is either an untruth, given all the press that has surrounded me for the last nine years (of which every singe item mentions my disability), or else it is a tacit acknowledgement that they have absolutely no idea what is going on in the industry, which raises more worrying questions, especially regarding diversity given their huge public funding.

      *The Times investigated this. Mr Maddock, again, complains that his views were not represented accurately. Neither were mine! That’s how it goes.

      *Following the Times article I was approached by multiple television and news outlets and booked for interviews. The ‘full context’ that Mr Maddock states was given to journalists does not cover what actually happened. His PR representative, Rebecca Driver, not only authored libellous emails on the day in question (which will be addressed in a defamation action), but she worked very hard, along with Simon Millward of Albion Media (who represents two of the other orchestras – and, ironically, used to represent me) to kill all news interest in my story. The orchestras were in utter meltdown and desperately doing anything to make it go away (provable). Each orchestra has not handled my concerns ‘in its own way’ – there has been (provable) collaboration from the start, demonstrated vividly in this joint effort to silence me in the media.

      *News articles rarely print everything one says – Mr Maddock might refrain from constantly using this as some way of justifying what has been appalling behaviour. He acts as though he has somehow been treated badly.

      *This is the most worryingly inaccurate of everything Mr Maddock has written. To suggest that there was no collusion, no ‘ganging up’ is, at this point, factually and provably untrue, as he will be aware. I will happily ‘leak’ every single email – and there are countless emails – that prove that the collaboration was not only real, but that it was an example of a group of people getting together, egging each other on, and acting like bullies in a playground. This behaviour, from CEOs of publicly funded organisations is utterly shocking and will be addressed.

      It is evident that the CEOs of these six orchestras do not like being questioned. But, given their huge public funding by Arts Council England, the public has a right to expect that, when presented with a legitimate diversity enquiry, they will act professionally. They have categorically failed at every turn.

      Whilst my initial concerns touched on discrimination, the subsequent actions of the orchestras have opened many other legal possibilities, all of which are now being explored.

    • Stephen, I read your account of this and then I read Nick’s. The accounts don’t tally. If he really does have proof of all he says he does then shouldn’t you be revising your version? It will look really bad if he has proof that you’ve been less than honest publicly.

  • Whether there is collusion or not, and for what reason, in the case of this pianist I have no idea.

    Why an orchestra would care if a soloist they wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole gets opportunities with their competitors is not clear to me.

    Artists via their managers are more than happy to invite a certain type of collusion when it results in an engagement — why else do the publicity packets include the list of “satisfied customer” orchestras, and more to the point, orchestras are told when the would-be soloist will be “in the area” and perhaps a bit of savings on travel costs can be passed on, and so on.

    So the message is please DO collude … when it helps.

    Word gets around about problem soloists. Is that collusion or just the common knowledge of the shop? A certain young violinist a few decades ago became (in)famous for his inability to get through any concerto, even Mendelssohn, without disfiguring memory lapses. Was it collusion that he stopped getting the good gigs? Or the highly touted pianist who time and again would interrupt his own performances to complain angrily about the piano, with this happening at stop after stop. I don’t know if it was the orchestra managers or the piano technicians who passed the world along about that guy, and he faded away. If the problem is a real one, is it collusion for people who all have the same job, and who are all up to their armpits in concert pianists as it is, to think and react along similar terms?

    • You have a point but there’s an easy answer to your question: it is collusion when there is evidence demonstrating collusion. Let’s see the emails

  • This is what I wrote on the previous post regarding Nick and I have no hesitation in reposting it here for all of those who dismiss Nick as a “pianist no organisation would touch with a ten foot pole” or who claim he’s mediocre and not worthy of considerations:
    “Several years ago, after the BBC broadcast a television documentary fronted by the neurologist Dr. Oliver Sachs with Nick van Bloss, I was approached to produce a recording of the Golderg Variations. The repertoire decision was taken at a “getting-to-know-you” lunch. I assumed he played the work already. We met shortly afterwards in the studio, and I discovered that Nick van Bloss not only plays no wrong notes, but possesses one of the most impressive keyboard techniques I’ve encountered. I produced Andras Schiff’s Bach series for Decca when we first signed him. Nick is very different and less reverential to period informed performance, but equally agile, creative and inquisitive. Only later did I find out that Nick did not already play the Goldberg, but learned them by memory without a piano. At the time, he was too poor to afford one. Later, when we recorded Bach concertos and it was rhetorically suggested that the keyboard should double all the voices in a fugal movement, Nick did it completely spontaneously without even thinking about the logistics, or the fingering. He simply doubled where required when required. It was only at this point, that I found out from the sponsor of the recording that Nick did not own a piano and learned music without the instrument. The extraordinary technique was a by-product of the Tourettes, as was the photographic memory. I’ve worked with a number of important pianists over my career: Radu Lupu, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Alicia Delarrocha, Jorge Bolet and as earlier mentioned, Andras Schiff. Nick is the first genius in the neurological sense I’ve ever encountered. The fact that he’s a creative musician and a highly intelligent individual makes a mockery of all the vile commentary I’ve read on this page. Nick van Bloss is a once in a generation pianist. Some of his brilliance is the result of his Tourettes, but the rest is down to him. The utter irony of this hideous story is that I advised him against presenting himself as a sufferer of Tourettes as the goods he offered had no need of the extra endorsement. In addition, I was worried he would be dismissed as a failed David Hilfgott. Ultimately, agents and labels couldn’t figure out how to deal with Nick, but his artistry spoke for itself. The arrogance of the UK music business is legendary. Only the over-confident entitlement of infallibility could possibly explain the recklessness with which they have dealt with Nick van Bloss. Ignore Nick van Bloss, and frankly, it’s only music lovers who lose out.”

  • Jesus! It gets worse and worse every time I read about it.
    A pal of mine plays in one of the orchestras and apparently the players are taking bets on which boss will get the boot or have to resign first.

    Come to think of it, if this was about MPs or senior figures in the public eye, they’d have resigned by now. Place your Slippedisc bets this way. Who’s going to go first?

      • Yeah Hilary. Couldn’t be clearer. As long as you ignore the collusion, ignore the evidence in the Telegraph, ignore all ethics, ignore what Nick van Bloss wrote above. Clear as it gets. If your morals are so low, that is.

        I’ll take it that you think Maddock will be first to go.

  • Let’s cut to the chase.

    Look how the sex scandals were covered up for years. Look at how people are scared to come forward. Look what happens when someone does come forward. Of course there was collusion and dirty tricks here. They want to shut this guy up badly.

    It’s all simple. The folks at the top are protected by Arts Council England. I’m not the first to say it. It reaches all other areas of the arts too. These orchestras don’t give a damn about equality. They care about their funding. Period. The bosses don’t give a damn about musical quality. They care about their own salaries. Period.

    Look at some hard evidence. Starting with cosy connections between some of the orchestra bosses and their funder Arts Council England.

    Helen Sprott. Philharmonia. Salary approx = £150,000. Previous position Head of Music with…ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. She’s still listed on their website as such. No connection there then.

    Michael Eakin. Royal Liverpool Orchestra. Salary as of 2017 = £115,000. He also sits on the National Council of…ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. The National Council decides who gets what funding. His previous position was Executive Director North West for… ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. No connections there then. None at all.

    John Summers. Halle Orchestra. Salary as of 2017 = £95,000. A previous position was National Lead Advisor on Music for…ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. Then there’s the strong connection he has to the Arts Council via his wife. She was previously Director of Music Strategy at…ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. No connections there then. None. Unless you count benefactor and beneficiary having been in bed with each other in every sense.

    Different connections.
    James Williams. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Predecessor’s salary = £265,000. Williams was previously in a management role at the Philharmonia.

    Darren Henley. CEO Arts Council England. Author of a book about the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/products/60647 No connection there. Previous colleague of Helen Sprott of the Philharmonia. No connection there then. Current colleague of Michael Eakin of the Royal Liverpool Orchestra, as they both sit on the funding council of ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND. No connections there then. None.

    There are plenty more connections and an arts journal is compiling more for publication.

    Is it any wonder that Arts Council England doesn’t lift a finger over the treatment of this pianist? Ask yourselves. Will Arts Council England discipline it’s friends? Will there be an enquiry? You can bet there will be nothing.

    How about another painful bit of hard evidence. Nick the pianist is with the wrong manager. If he was with one of the few top cartel agents then the orchestras would be calling him the best thing since sliced bread. You think there’s no truth in that?

    Look at the agents that most of the soloists for these orchestras come from. It’s a cartel. 90% of their soloists come from just a few agents (I’ve done the math) … IMG, Askonas-Holt, Harrison Parrot. Would they treat this guy like they have if he was from one of these agents? You can bet they would not.

    It’s a stitch up. They know it. You know it. We all know it. You think there are no convenient arrangements between the orchestras and the top agents? Think again.

    To summarise:
    Arts Council is in bed with the orchestras. The orchestras are protected by the Arts Council. The Arts Council feels protected by the government. Therefore the orchestras do whatever they want.
    The orchestras only hire from a few agents.

    Remedy.
    A public enquiry into corruption in the classical music industry and Arts Council England. Select committees to grill Darren Henley. Let him show there are no convenient connections if he can. Let this pianist testify and show how they’ve tried to make him back down.

    Stop the money tree that supplies big bucks to cronies of Arts Council England. Thousands of arts groups have funding cut. Many groups die out. Theatre, music, dance. It’s the same everywhere. The friends of the Arts Council benefit. Only the friends.

    Stop a select number of agents (theatre, music) calling the shots over who gets hired. It amounts to an Abuse of Dominant Position and that’s illegal.

    Final thought.
    The salaries of the remaining orchestra bosses as follows.
    Bournemouth Orchestra. Dougie Scarfe. Salary £105,000.
    CBSO. Stephen Maddock. Salary £105,000

    Many orchestral players live on the breadline. The average player’s salary in the CBSO is £30,000. This balance needs to be re-dressed. https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-43976334

    Salaries as of 2017 http://slippedisc.com/2017/08/which-uk-orchestra-chiefs-are-underpaid/

    • Bravo. The musicians always lose out. Nobody has our interests at heart. Mere cannon fodder. And there’s so much posturing from Arts Council England, which is almost as bad as the ABO! Yes. Corruption in the music industry is rife – all to do with connections.

    • Wow. Bravo again. Agree with Anon, we’re treated like dirt by the execs. I’m in one of the orchestras you name. ABO is a joke. Arts Council Eng funding is a sham, and where does all the money actually go? We all know there’s corruption. As it happens I played in the ECO as part of my freelancing and have worked with Nick several times. He’s humble, fun and a brilliant pianist. The players loved working with him. He doesn’t deserve this treatment.

    • Holy gonads! Someone is definitely gonna be given the boot now.
      My bet is that Maddock goes first. He placed himself in the line of fire and got gunned down good. Then work your way down the list.

      • What a bizarre world you all inhabit. One of thousands of good-but-not-great concert pianists who doesn’t get hired by major orchestras starts throwing round wild and fairly offensive accusations while demanding special treatment on the basis of a disability that – everyone agrees – has no bearing on his musicianship. The parties he has collectively attacked collectively agree an appropriate response. Cue for every embittered fantasist and back-desk timeserver to let fly with their pent-up resentments at the people who make the difficult decisions necessary to put the food on their tables.

        If under-the-line comments could be written in green ink…

        Disabled artists have an absolute right to be considered on equal terms for a gig. That’s not the same thing as their disability entitling them to a gig. That seems to be pretty much the issue here – compounded by Mr Bloss’s decision to assume the bad faith of the people he’s dealing with, and to follow up with threats and shit-stirring. Not a great way to obain employment in any sector. Truth is, if his playing was distinctive enough, they’d be calling him.

        No CEO is going to find their position threatened over this: boards are aware that orchestral managers deal pretty much daily with fantasists, obsessives, the paranoid and the embittered. If it’s not talk of “cartels” it’s Havergal Brian fans banging on about nonexistent blacklists. It’s part of the job, and I’m a little (but not wholly) surprised that Norman has given the oxygen of publicity to this slightly distressing (because he’s an artist of genuine if limited merit) case.

        • Keep on dreaming, dear. But start preparing yourself for the outcome, mainly by sticking to THE FACTS.

          As far as Mr. Bloss’ talent, read Michael Haas post in here. You should know who he is. He has produced hundreds of recordings and worked with all the great ones. I would say his opinion his a bit more authoritative than yours lol

        • FS60103, you poor sad thing. You seem so upset by this – what’s your vested interest, or are you just bitter and ignorant to the facts? For some reason you feel very threatened. Read the full facts or remain ignorant. People like you give the industry a bad name. If you are actually one of the guys involved in this as it kind of appears you are, then your days are probably numbered. Very sad little person.

    • Insidejob you missed someone out of your list of arts professionals who have previously worked for Arts Council England:

      Peter Puskas, manager of Nick van Bloss. Previous employment: Relationship Manager/Music…ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND.

      According to Insidejob that would make him part of this ACE ‘Old Boys’ Network’ too.

      In Stephen Maddock’s comment above he says Mr van Bloss’s agent was the first to level the accusation of disability discrimination so I looked up who his agent is and discovered he too worked for ACE – albeit not for very long according to his Linkedin profile.

      However I also see that there has been a fair amount of mudslinging at ACE on both Mr Puskas and Mr van Bloss’s social media. One must surmise that there is certainly no love lost between Mr Puskas Mr van Bloss and ACE!

      • Holmes, in order to avoid future disappointment, never take a MENSA test. Even elementary logic eludes you.

        From your painstaking deductions you’ve proved that Mr Puskas was never a boss of an orchestra, was never in receipt of major funding and was never in a position to make funding decisions.

        But your detective work has been unsubtle. You took time to research Mr Puskas and you’ve been monitoring him and Mr van Bloss on social media.

        You’ve given yourself away as working for one of the orchestras. DUHHHHHHHH!
        You guys have made yourselves look so sleazy.

    • I’m sure this guy from Arts Council, Derren Henley will oversee a big investigation into the orchestras over their sordid actions to Nick van Bloss. Otherwise he’ll be seen to be ignoring it all and therefore complicit, no? If he doesn’t he’ll be for the chop as well as Maddocks and the rest.
      CHOP!

  • I’ve read this particular exchange & the newspaper articles which it started with great interest.
    It is indeed a distressing read.

    Firstly may I say that savaging the CEO’s of the orchestra’s named & pouring special vitriol over the one who had the courage to reply does not advance the arguments here one bit.
    Neither does quoting their salaries-which are both insignificant in relation to equivalent positions in the private ( Non Arts) sector and to their opposite numbers in Europe & the US.(Not forgetting what principal conductors are paid either, which puts everything into a slightly different perspective!)

    Fleshing out conspiracy theories of a sinister ‘Old Boy/Girl’ network centred around ACE-with everyone funded or positioned as part of an elaborate back scratching cartel is perhaps a little far-fetched.
    (Frankly I don’t think anyone has the time or the wits to do this. It’s just a case of trying to make ends meet & getting someone to get the job done.)

    The Arts in the U.K. have a very small number of people with the requisite specialist knowledge & experience to run our orchestras.
    Inevitably as part of gaining that experience in rising through the ranks, they will have contact with & possibly work for ACE-the largest organisation associated with the sector.
    Our orchestras operate on a financial knife-edge & simply cannot afford a cock up that could see them go under-so inevitably they will appoint a CEO with a known track record in the business-as any high risk industry does.
    Because we pay them (As we do everyone in the UK arts-musicians included) bugger all relative the world, they inevitably tend to be U.K. trained & hence from the small pool I describe.
    This is the market we live in.
    I don’t like it & don’t know anybody who does….

    Secondly, in the same way as any of us engage someone to perform a service we go on recommendation & track record.
    If there is little track record to support the recommendation or not the expertise in a specific field we require, we all will tend to avoid risk by going for the apparently safe option:what we know or what we have heard about.

    We are talking here about risk averse Symphony Orchestras-If one we’re to visit Mr Van Bloss’s website there is little to suggest he has performed the kind of popular romantic C19/20th works that these orchestras have to programme to sell tickets. There are considerable numbers of others who do have this kind of CV.
    Who does one reasonably expect these orchestras to book?

    Discrimination & Collusion? I doubt it-every orchestra & arts organisation in the land is frankly cacking itself over the matters of diversity, discrimination & inclusion-and the potential impact on its funding support if they show they’re not up to scratch-so they’re not going to actively risk their necks by being as stupid as deliberately doing something as abhorrent as this.
    Collusion? These orchestras will talk to each other of course: They cooperate on a range of issues from shared commissions to finance initiatives & contractual matters.
    Of course they are going to discuss this issue amongst themselves-they’re being collectively threatened!!!
    (Wouldn’t you???)

    Mr van Bloss is undoubtedly clearly a very fine pianist & musician but regardless of this evident ability and the magnificent fortitude he has displayed in overcoming his disability he has not convinced the people-who make the decisions based on a broad range of considerations-that he gives them what they need.

    I greatly admire what Mr Van Bloss has achieved & deeply sympathise with his evident frustration, but whatever he states as the justification for this campaign is-he is unlikely to succeed in his aims by threatening these orchestras-or any others internationally-with ‘Financial Armageddon by Legal Action’ if they don’t book him.
    If he wins in court-or even before he gets there-there won’t be any orchestras to play with in any case.
    Pyrrhic victory…

    • Hi Gerald,

      I feel the need to reply to you directly in order to address some major factual inaccuracies in what you have written.

      1.
      You write ‘he is unlikely to succeed in his aims by threatening these orchestras-or any others internationally-with ‘Financial Armageddon by Legal Action’ if they don’t book him.’

      With respect, you don’t actually know what my aims are.

      You’ve missed the point here completely. There is no mention of any international organisation in my complaint. Nor is any intention of legal action on my part as a result of simply not having been booked by any one of these six orchestras.

      Fact: My manager heard from a source who is employed IN the administration of one of these orchestras that I was not being invited to perform because of my disability – I questioned and complained, as is my right.

      Fact: Had a person of colour heard something similar in relation to their race, had a transgender person heard this in relation to sexuality etc etc, a legitimate complaint or concern could rightly have been raised.

      Fact: All complaints or concerns posed to publicly-funded bodies on matters of equality, diversity etc, especially, as in this case, to orchestras funded on the insistence that they actively ‘celebrate diversity’, must be handled in an appropriate way. My complaints were not handled so.

      Fact: 5 out of 6 orchestras handled my enquiry violently – responses designed to intimidate and make me disappear. Some responses contained examples of diversity unaware statements (one so much so, that many senior figures in the UK have been forced to resign over much less). Many contained untruths. And, having made their violent statements of response, no one followed up on further enquiries. Not one orchestra ever answered my concerns.

      2.
      You write ‘Of course they are going to discuss this issue amongst themselves-they’re being collectively threatened!!!’.

      Fact: They were not collectively threatened, or even threatened individually. Had I wished to make a collective complaint, I would have done so. I did not. Each individually-funded orchestra was addressed individually. You somehow make their collusion sound polite, as though it was a civilised scene from a Merchant Ivory Movie. It was anything but.

      Fact: The responses were largely a result of gross collusion. As I previously said, I have hundred of pages of documented proof of this collusion. Many pages include evidence of the orchestras writing to each other (en masse) thus:

      *Calling my concern ‘defamatory’
      *Suggesting copying and pasting of their replies to show solidarity
      *Utterly trashing me as as a pianist
      *Trashing my complaint because it mentions my disability – how ‘shameful’ it was of me to mention it
      *In no uncertain terms defaming my manager professionally and personally
      *Copying unrelated orchestras into potentially very damaging remarks made about me by themselves
      *Bragging, like kids, to each other about how wonderful their answers were, and how they’d nipped the complaint in the bud
      *Congratulating each other on such brilliant answers – answers which failed to actually address my concern
      *Calling me ‘trouble’
      *In the case of the BSO, warning off their current disabled conductor from making contact with me
      *Employing PR companies to make me and my complaint ‘go away’
      *Most orchestras acting as one in their collusion with the PR companies
      *PR companies acting as though employed the by orchestras collectively and addressing everything to most of them
      *Calling my story every name you can think of
      *Working together to stop me getting any media attention
      *Seeing a PR company make defamatory statements about me – with the clear intention of using such statements to the media in order to kill my story
      *Treating me with zero respect, treating my disability with scorn, treating my concern as invalid.

      The above communications were mostly for all eyes (every CEO) and most CEOs partook.
      These are but only a few examples. There are many more, which I will not release at this time. The ‘internal emails’ paint no less of a disturbing picture of dismissing my valid and legal concerns.

      The collusion, speaking as one voice, acting together, acting in order to damage me – was all very real, and is documented. It was as far from a civilised scene as you could imagine.

      3.
      You write ‘they’re not going to actively risk their necks by being as stupid as deliberately doing something as abhorrent as this.’

      Fact: You seem to have chosen to ignore that they have done exactly that. And more.

      4.
      What this means for the orchestras financially is not my concern. Should I, or anyone, have a diversity concern treated in such a way and just walk away and sit in a corner because of the possible financial repercussions for the people who have addressed the concern with vitriol? Should I, as a professional, ignore such clear intention to cause damage to me professionally by a large group of people because I fear for their financial futures?

      I have only, as it happens, personally been in contact with five of these orchestras very recently.

      They have had over a year to reach out to me to create dialogue. They have had over a year in order to consider actually addressing my concerns. They have had over a year to ‘foster good relations’ with a person from a protected group, as is required of them by their funder. I am not saying they should have ‘hired’ me in that year – that will never happen. But they could have absolutely handled this in a very diplomatic fashion. They failed at every turn. Who knows what positive outcomes for diversity on a larger scale might have been achieved had they simply reached out?

      If, as a result of any legal action, they are annihilated, then it is absolutely of their own making and they must accept responsibility. Six orchestras and two PR companies worked together to discredit an artist, a disabled artist, an artist who dared to ask a question.

      My regards,
      Nick

      • Dear Nick
        You state above that ‘with respect, you don’t actually know what my aims are’. Indeed this is the case for all readers. Are you in a position to tell us what your aims are? Are you after financial compensation for the perceived injustice, performance opportunities with these 6 ensembles, to discredit the orchestra’s involved or something else?
        Best wishes
        Hernando

    • As a self-confessed insider at a London orchestra (as Gerald also is, though not necessarily London?), I can appreciate some of Gerald’s worries. Problem is it now seems that these orchestras have acted terribly. Just look at what’s coming out! I share Gerald’s worries regarding funding. As I said before, the orchestras are making us all look bad. All of us could suffer financially as the result of their behaviour to one individual. That is indeed why other orchestras are now distancing themselves from the ones named. We are horrified at what we’re learning.

  • I have to make decisions about who gets hired or not (although nothing that involves the pianist hear). Just last week I had to tell someone that I wasn’t taking them on because I didn’t like his behaviour (and I consulted a number of people in a similar position to mine before making the decision). He understood I required a demonstration he had improved his behaviour if I was going to reconsider.

    Nick may want to take this on board. I very much doubt he will win a legal action since he isn’t clearly superior to the people that are being booked already.

    • That’s told him. I’m sure Nick is now sitting on the naughty step and taking your expert opinion on board. Hahahaha.
      How patronising of you.

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