US conductor charges university with racial discrimination

Brandon Keith Brown, 39, lost his job as music director at Brown University in 2017 after students were alleged to have complained about his attitude.

Brown has now filed against the university with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.

He says there were racist elements to the complaints against him and to his dismissal.

Read on here.

 

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  • Brandon says:

    Thank you Diverse for a most detailed article! https://diverseeducation.com/article/145528/

    • Karl says:

      From that article Brown says : “I have a history of being very commanding and being strict…”
      That’s considered bullying by many of today’s youths.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        And today’s youth are considered “snowflakes” by many of today’s leaders. A tour in Afghanistan should fix all that.

      • Ainslie says:

        “From that article . . .”. There’s a lot more to this story than that article. He was canned at UMass-Amherst for the same behavior.

        Maestro Brown’s version doesn’t hold water. Why would two prominent universities fire somebody with his credentials and obvious talent? Academia isn’t famous for moving quickly. It takes a lot to get fired after only five weeks.

        • Brandon says:

          If you read the above comments, I confirm the fact I resigned from UMASS, but your confirmation bias wants to believe the more negative despite the facts; I cannot change your mind. What I can say though is that you must either be supremely ignorant or a non-musician to believe UMASS Amherst is a major music school. I was the very first tenure track orchestra director. The first; think about it. Before then it was a position for itinerants. And yes, please keep these wonderful racist statements coming. I am thoroughly enjoying the fact you are proving my whole argument of racial bias is correct. Irregardless if you are white or black, you are a complete stranger, yet know the black man has done something wrong. Lovely! (as they say in the UK 😉

          • mkay says:

            Dude, your writing is highly narcissistic. Could it be that you are a narcissist using the victim card. You can’t be a strict, mean conductor anymore no matter what color. And sure there are too many mediocre white male professors who get special treatment but most people aren’t out to get you, they are busy living their lives. However, if you are a narcissist you think everyone is out to get you if life doesn’t go as planned. I’d get thee into therapy. P.S. Had a female white professor, she was an awful teacher, very combatant, very mean. Guess what, she was taken off the course not because she was female. I could care less about a teacher’s gender or ethnicity. But because she wasn’t fit for the course she was taken off. Most of the teachers were white and male so she easily could have pulled the female card. But too many students knew she was awful in the course.

  • Karl says:

    From the article: “Brown said from the day he was hired, other members of the music department told him he was there to help diversify the faculty.”

    So it looks like he was an affirmative action hire who only got the job because of the color of his skin. THAT was the discrimination. From the article it looks like plenty of students had complaints about him. I looked it up and see that Brown University is considered extremely diverse. It is ranked #4 in the nation by the College Factual website.

    • Brandon says:

      Brown as few underrepresented minorities. That is a big difference from asians, who were considered as in minority census. Additionally, the Brown Music Department is entirely white male, which they admit in their response to the charges.

    • Anon says:

      “Brown said…”
      Is that the University or the conductor? Both are named Brown and I’m very confused.

    • Ainslie says:

      This isn’t about racial discrimination; it’s about abusive behavior by a conductor with a track record of such abuse. UMass-Amherst dumped him because of very similar complaints from students.

      It’s really hard to believe that anybody would have been stupid enough to tell him specifically that he was hired to “help diversify the faculty. Far more likely, they told him that they were happy that his presence would help diversity the faculty. I would interpret that as being supportive and encouraging, and shame on him for twisting that into a chance to play the “race card”.

      It’s also hard to believe that, if the university really wanted to diversify the faculty they would have done it with a one-year, non-tenure track position.

      So we are supposed to believe that Maestro Brown was hired because he was black and then fired after just five weeks because he was black?

      There are big holes in this article that are addressed more fully here:
      http://www.browndailyherald.com/2017/11/09/orchestra-upset-conductor-turnover/

    • muslit says:

      Karl, this does NOT mean there was no discrimination. Poor white folk. They’re SO discriminated against. You’re racism is showing.

    • muslit says:

      Do you have proof that Brandon was an affirmative action hire? I didn’t think so.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      When you start playing the identity game you’re NEVER going to win. It will always have a blow-back effect, with counter claims like this one. That’s fair.

      Just put on the tee-shirt with the words, “Help me; I’m a Victim” so everybody knows the agenda.

      • Gabriel says:

        Sounds like you, Sue, need to put on a tee-shirt that says “I will keep blacks in their place”. Being dismissive of racism does not count as a blowback effect. Sorry, Sonata Form. People will continue to speak out against injustice whether you like it or not.

    • Music says:

      In college may be but not in music department

  • Wai Kit Leung says:

    Brown fired Brown, and now Brown sues Brown.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Is this a new thing, or just specific to this publication, having black start upper case ..?

    “Being a Black man…”
    “…I was the first and only Black faculty member,..”
    “…which is a racial stereotype of unknown Black men..”

  • prof says:

    Is this the guy who was also dismissed from U Mass Amherst? Hmm.

    • Ainslie says:

      Yes, it is. And the student complaints sound very familiar.

      • Brandon says:

        I was never fired from UMASS. I resigned in part because I was solely penalized for leaving to conduct European engagements. It must feel nice to be believed only on your word. I am sure Emmett Till, and Central Park Five would have liked to have the same consideration. Are you part of a dominant majority population (white), where your word is automatically fact without investigation? Then you will fit right in at Brown University. I doubt you are a member of a racial class of involuntary immigrants, who were considered less than human, and continue to be marginalized to this day. While white intensity automatically denotes competency, inspiration and quality, black competent intensity is considered fearsome, threatening, dangerous, condescending and not worthwhile. Competent and intense I am; the others not.

        • Ainslie says:

          You are a master at playing the race card. Who needs talent when you can do that?

        • mkay says:

          Huh? Talent is talent man. What about Wynton Marsalis? He seems to be doing all right. You act like you are the only black man to be hired in the music world and then tossed out. There are plenty of music teachers who are not white and not having a problem. And there are plenty of white teachers who get bullied by other white teachers simply because they aren’t of the same ilk. The white race isn’t an automatic club where everyone is nice to everyone. People suck and get fired for all kinds of reasons other than race. And yes, racism sucks but I know plenty of musicians who aren’t white and are not having an issue and I know plenty of white musicians who have problems with white a-holes.

          • Anna says:

            Marsalis is not a classical musician first or a conductor………..black conductors historically and contemporarily face different challenges than other black musicians.

  • Simon says:

    Isn’t possible to be either suck at your job or to be guilty of acting like a schmuck, despite one’s color?

  • Mick the Knife says:

    After reading the article, I have a lot of sympathy for him. I doubt that this is an issue of racial bias against him. But clearly, these students are the problem. He tried to make the orchestra what it should be, and what it normally is at non-music schools and it conflicted with the culture of the orchestra and the department (perhaps). They should have backed him up for the duration of the contract. But if there was a general mutiny in the orchestra, a department won’t do this for a visiting professor. Better to just “cut bait”.

    • Karl says:

      I know. It sounds like the students are being snowflakes; “One of the UMass-Amherst students, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of professional repercussions, said Keith Brown mocked his accent in front of the orchestra. The second student, who also chose remain anonymous for fear of retaliation in the department, said Keith Brown gave the orchestra one six-minute break during a two- and-a-half hour rehearsal.”

      But he’s also snowflaking by claiming racial discrimination.

  • The View from America says:

    It’s worth reading the article.

    Some people don’t have very good people-skills. Simple as that. Apparently, this conductor is one of them.

    • Anna says:

      Even if Mr. Brown’s people skills are lacking, why is this something to fire him over. I mean they would have to be severely lacking to be an offense to be fired over, much less after only a few weeks. It is true that many white conductors also have horrible people skills, but they still get gigs.

      I can think of a couple University conductors right now that are terrible people that through tantrums in rehearsals, call students out in an unproductive way, are sadistic personalities and sleep with their female(and sometimes male) students.

      I can also think of several music universities that systematically fail black students in academic work. I know of one instance where a white student copied the tests and homework of a black student. That black student ended up failing the class and the white student didn’t. They turned in exactly the same tests. What is the difference? The Black student was a black male and he would fail tests with his handwriting being the excuse whereas the white student- with not much better handwriting mind you- was a very attractive, though not to talented, white female and the professor would openly flirt with her(and other female students) in class. The whole department was made aware of this and instead of reprimanding the professor, the administrators decided to circle the wagons and protect the racist teacher.

      I by the way am a white female. I just call bullshit when I see it. Though not as underprivileged as minorities, we to go though it.

  • anon says:

    “complained about his attitude”

    Ha ha, show me a conductor without an attitude, and I’ll show you a _______________ (fill in the blank).

    (empty hall)
    (potted plant)

  • Liberal says:

    This guy is unbelievable. Look at his Facebook. Extreme left. I am not saying there aren’t racial and institutional problems in the US. But he doesn’t do anything else than complain and complain. He doesn’t conduct! Why is he living in Berlin? He literally has close to no engagements.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      You’ve obviously do not understand the extent of his victimhood – which is the first point of departure for a nation which started the victimhood olympics. This man is just another competitor – each one fighting over who has the most victimhood in some kind of special boxing event. We can call it Social Engineering too. That works.

  • Patrick says:

    Search Committee screwed up. Hired the wrong person for the job. Bad fit. Move on.

  • muslit says:

    So. A new, black conductor wanted to make some changes. No wonder the students complained about him.

  • Anna says:

    Brandon is a very capable conductor. Whether he was hired for diversity or not, the way that he was treated is not right. To be fired inside a semester without anyone even speaking to you? Unacceptable. To be fired because you are a tough professor? This is where we are in the world now.

  • Jack says:

    The article is entirely from Mr. Brown’s perspective, so any matters of discrimination that he alleges will be sorted out in a court of law. What I find much more interesting and even amusing are the rather subtle racism in some of the comments in this string. Very fascinating.

  • anon says:

    If he were the basketball or football coach, neither his race nor his behavior would raise an eyebrow.

    Student athletes, student musicians: Same university, different universes.

    American universities (sports, frats) are such an aberration in the world, if American society invested just as much in college orchestras as they do in college sports, America would be in a very different place today.

  • Nick says:

    Playing a race card…what else is new?

  • Miriam Lowbury says:

    Hi Brandon (if you’re still there)

    I just watched your YT films of Roman Carnival Overture and Daphnis+Chloe. You’re a big talent. Don’t get dragged down by all this nonsense ! Good luck

    • Brandon says:

      Thank you Mariam! While it did drag me down at first, no I am completely empowered as an outspoken social justice advocate. I am enjoying very much all the racist comments in the blog, which prove without a doubt every claim I am making in my charge against the university, that being people will never become comfortable with being uncomfortable to talk about racism, thus they will never confront their own racial biases. The perception of black men is starkly different than white men, just notice how you feel when you get in a elevator alone with a black man, it’s different. Before the students met me, they emailed feeling “anxious” and “nervous” to join orchestra. That is not the way start the semester off right with a new black professor. Thank you for your support and let the racist comments on the blog continue!!

      • Karl says:

        The perception of people has more to to with their attitude and mannerisms than their skin color. I don’t have any problem getting on an elevator with a black man. In fact I often find myself being the only white person in restaurants sometimes when I visit Albany, NY or Hartford, CT.

        And if you think comments in a blog help a case against the University you are not making any sense.

        • David says:

          Two blacks in an elevator immediately called me a racist because I wouldn’t enter the elevator with them. What they didn’t realize is that I needed to ride a different elevator to get to my particular floor. I actually went out of my way to explain that so they wouldn’t think that I was a racist. Sometimes it’s flat out racism (never going to change) and sometimes it’s outright paranoia.

  • James says:

    I should stipulate that I firmly believe racial discrimination is real, insidious, and is a huge problem. With that said, I have worked with Mr. Brown before, and he is simply a deeply unpleasant person who systematically alienates everyone he meets, whether they are a musician, administrator, or other colleague. It’s a shame, because he is talented, but his personal problems are well-known, and make him practically impossible to work with. This has nothing to do with high standards or rigorous rehearsal – it is about social skills. He is perhaps the most unpleasant person I have ever come across in the field.

    • Brandon says:

      James, if you like to make such defamatory remarks, tell us your last name? Otherwise they can be construed at minimum as uncredible embittered conjecture from a highly insecure musician. I am mildly authoritarian compared to many white conductors young and old, yet some how this is intolerable. While white intensity automatically denotes competency, inspiration and quality, black competent intensity is considered fearsome, threatening, dangerous, condescending and not worthwhile. Students stole instruments including a $12,000 english horn the previous year, a bass clarinet and contra bassoon. They had unfettered access to expensive percussion equipment. I made an instrument loan policy which they hate. Shoot me. Students arrived when the wanted, never helped set up, talked profusely during rehearsal, didn’t prepare their music. It was chaos. I made essential rules and regulations which late adolescents tend to hate. The chair, deputy Provost Joseph Meisel, commended me on the first day stating via email stating ““Brandon is rightly (in my view) looking to put a little more organization and systematization into things. (The department has not been strong on organizational practices overall, as I am experiencing.) Brandon would like to bring a bit more rigor and responsibility to this situation. “Had these reforms come from a relatable white person, they would have been commended. The also threatened my physically and put their hands on me, racially stereotyped me before meeting me, and the administration said I was a token hire in an all-white male department. I have over eight hours of rehearsal footage reviewed by attorneys and the media which show not even the slightest lack of professionalism. Would you care to view the video footage as it is all unlisted on YT, OR do you only want to feed your confirmation bias based on the one time you worked with me and your need to continue making fun anonymous defamatory remarks? Take your time. 😉

      • Mick the Knife says:

        Why have James de Priest and Michael Morgan been successful? I’ve played for both and had a positive experience. Why didn’t racism destroy their careers in the US?

      • Karl says:

        You’re cherry picking again. White conductors get in trouble for being ‘intense’ too. Dutoit left Montreal after several musicians complained about him.

  • Brandon says:

    I invite you to please read my latest article on common experiences as an African-American conductor as a student and academic.

    https://medium.com/@maestrobkb/brandonkeithbrown-isntthatracist-845652a5b24b

    I was encouraged to write this article from colleagues who share the same or similar experiences I faced at Brown. Thank you so much for your time, and curiosity in discovering the experience of an African-American conductor; it is different.

    • Karl says:

      Is the lack of black conductors ( and musicians) from lack of interest? When I go to the symphony even in a city with a large black population like Hartford I see very few black people in the audience.

      • Gabriel says:

        It is from lack of support.

        • Karl says:

          What kind of support do you need to purchase a $30 ticket? In Boston they have $10 rush tickets and I still see a 99% white audience in a city that is 25% black.

          • Brandon says:

            Cultures must be given the opportunity to be included, primed and conditioned to receive the spiritual sustenance which is classical music. Many blacks have not been given this opportunity, therefore in part because of repression and oppression, we created our own genres of music to express ourselves (Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Hip-Hop, R&B etc). The affects of Jim Crow, redlining and tax based education have severely marginalized black classical audiences, who typically arrive at experiences where the musicians, composers, administration and audience are mostly white. Many blacks understandably report feeling unwelcome by such an experience.

          • Karl says:

            They play free classical music on the radio. Everyone has the opportunity to listen.

          • Gabriel says:

            But you were talking about classical music concerts, not radio. Are you saying “If black people want to listen to classical music, they should do it at home”?

          • Gabriel says:

            I am glad you asked, Karl…You need emotional support, and a feeling that you are welcome. The stereotyping of black people as those who cannot afford a $30 ticket is another part of the problem. You need to be a more openminded, sir.
            There have been many stories of audiences looking at a black person in the audience like they do not belong. I am also happy you mentioned Boston, which so happens to have one of the most racist and exclusively white orchestral institutions in the US.
            You inadvertently exposed attitudes seen every day at a classical concert and in a classical music environment.

          • Brandon says:

            I must also add that I sat down in the audience of a US opera house (not my beloved MET Opera!!! 🙂 and the woman next to me told me to “Go sit somewhere else, I don’t want you to sit here.” After two words from me, she was absolutely quiet, however, I have heard similar experiences. When I go the MET in NYC, white strangers come up to me asking if I had went the night before, what I thought of that night’s cast, how is the staging? They don’t know me from Adam, but I felt included, not out of place. You see, it depends on the degree of social distancing people have experience to predict their perception of unknown racial groups. ERASMUS prize winning and Harvard Professor sociologist Michele Lamont found that 75% percent of white American’s do not live around black people, which makes the self-reporting or racism suspect. Is it possible that some of the blog responses here support this theory?

          • a Conductor says:

            It happened to me on opening night at an opera house in London were I was the cover conductor for the performance that night. When I sat down I was immediately hit with a barrage of verbal abuse from a woman sitting not directly behind me, but a bit off to the side. Besides the insults and telling me literally that I do not belong in the house and that she wanted me to move, she then threatened to get an usher. She then got one of the ushers who told her who I was. Embarrassed she sat quietly for the rest of the show.

          • Karl says:

            You’re not making sense. You’re the one who’s being microagressive by implying that my statement was racist. The mod should be filtering out these microaggressions!!

          • Gabriel says:

            “Microaggressions”?….Slow your roll, Karl.
            You asked in your “statement” why black people do not feel supported going to a classical concert, since they are $10 rush tickets if they cannot afford the $30 ticket. You also brought up Boston which has a history of racial discrimination in classical music. You have read examples from other non-whites how audience members treat them when they go to a concert. And now you want to filter those other statements simply because they call you out on your attitudes?

          • Karl says:

            I’m done feeding the troll.

          • Gabriel says:

            It’s good not to overfeed yourself. It was a pleasure conversing with you 🙂

          • Mije says:

            Dunno. Sounds strange to me. Went to two Orchestra Hall , Detroit, concerts last week last week the Chamber Music Society of Detroit with 3 string quartets and Leon Fleischer, and the weekend before that Kiril Gerstein with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Walton, Dvorak, and the Tchaikovsky Second Concerto. Most of the audience around me was African-American and all of us had a great time. (Fleischer conducted /played Mozart – at 91 !) No talk or inkling of “race”. I played in the DSO Youth Orchestra under Paul Freeman who has had a terrific career since then. No talk of race there, either. And 3 hours West in Grand Rapids, the most popular conductor in 35 years was James DePriest! This was after Semyon Bychkov, whom many despised for various reasons, mainly being a jerk and cheated on his wife. Had it not been for his health, DePriest would still be in GR. Players snd audience loved him. No ” race” stuff there either.

      • Brandon says:

        To compete, black musicians must surmount their involuntary immigrant status and contend with decades of white legacy wealth, in addition to their unmitigated federal rights to education. Furthermore, the US refuses to recover from its complete disinvestment in black humanity. BKB

      • I will try to make this as succinct as possible. As an African-American composer and conductor I have been the only one in the concert hall many a time, whether as a participant or an audience member. I have also spoken with many of my brethren and have asked why they consider classical music either as an “enemy” or an unwelcome intruder.

        Many black people in our current world view classical music as the domain of an elitist white society whose snobbery pigeonholes outsiders as ignorant personages who can’t comprehend or are unable to understand the intricacies of such complex music, whether it was composed by Palestrina or Penderecki. Many black people have also never been properly exposed to this music, especially when it comes to many African-American musicians who have made their presence known and have been lauded for their talents. For this I blame the education system which shuts out a significant chapter in the musical history of this nation.

        Finding a role model is not easy, especially when the media continuously celebrates and promotes African-American accomplishments in sports, politics and, when it comes to music, popular artists. Yet for those who discover the vast and endless wealth of African-American composers, conductors, singers and instrumentalists who have kept their eye on the prize and continuously succeed in making their dream a reality in addition to blazing paths for successive generations to make it easier for them, the rewards in listening to those musicians is never enough.

        • John Marks says:

          Dear Kevin,

          Thank you for your heartfelt contribution. I do not disagree with anything that you have written. But I want to contribute from a different perspective. Everything you wrote about the systemic, class-based impediments to (many) African-American peoples’ embracing concert music as part of their received and shared cultural heritage, IMHO also applies to working-class whites. Really.

          I have spent most of my adult life in (mostly classical) music production, music criticism, and music education.

          I cannot tell you the number of times I have said things like, “The last music teacher will get fired before the first football coach gets fired.” Or: “When they hand the parents the birth certificate, they should also give them a free copy of ‘Kind of Blue.’ ”

          I have so often yearned to stand in front of an audience of young, impressionable African-American students and ask them who Abraham Lincoln was, and ask them why was Lincoln important.

          And then, ask them if they knew that Lincoln’s favorite form of entertainment was–opera?

          To the extent that, Lincoln arranged his trip to get Inaugurated with a detour to NYC to catch the American premiére of “A Masked Ball”? And that Lincoln’s favorite opera was “Martha”? And that Lincoln heard “The Magic Flute” less than 30 days before he was killed?

          Opera was what people watched before there were movies. What could be simpler?

          But that word, I assure you, is not getting out to young people–at least to disadvantaged/working-class young people, regardless of race.

          So, yes, education is the crux, but non-whites are not the only victims of cultural neglect. The riches of culture should not be only for the economically rich.

          Cordially,

          john marks

  • Elvira says:

    I can understand the conductor who wants to bring an orchestra to to the highest level,
    unfortunately those students are on different path and music is just a way to relax and have music in their lives.
    I think Mr Brown did not consider enough this aspect when he was hired.

    • Brandon says:

      They told me it was a serious program when I was recruited for the position. They cold called me for the position, it was never advertised and I never applied. I would not have come halfway across the world for a hobby orchestra or racist entitled students.

      • anonymous says:

        Sorry, but this one is entirely on you. You could’ve done some basic research on the Brown music program before answering their call.

        Even a casual perusal of their website shows that Brown’s performance program is the very model of “hobby” performance opportunities for privileged students studying Gender Theory but get to play in a group, as long as their parents keep up their semester tuition payments.

        (Great business model, I ought to start an orchestra where players pay me to get in, rather than me paying them a salary.)

        But you are in the industry, you were trained in the US, you know the music education landscape in the US, you know that every college has an orchestra, but few have a music school, and even among those, only a handful are at the conservatory level.

        • Bill says:

          It’s completely possible, and reasonable, to have an orchestra that strives to be the best it can be, despite being part of a music department that is more interested in musicology than performance. Does Brown also provide a selection of undemanding classes for students who don’t wish to work hard? If you don’t want to do it well, why bother doing it at all?

          • Saxon Broken says:

            On the other hand, if it is students playing in the orchestra who aren’t majoring in music, then they can always drop the orchestra. If enough students drop the option to play in the orchestra then the orchestra/music programme folds. The music department has to take action before that happens.

  • muslit says:

    These days, you can’t look at a person without being reported or canned, white or black. But since racism is rampant in the world today (i.e., the response to this article), blacks have it especially tough, from police to musicians.

  • Brandon says:

    I am enjoying the abhorrent racist commentary from this blog, but I am also heartened by those who recognize ludicrous white entitled racial stereotyping from Ivy League snow flakes who never had a black teacher before due to a lifetime of social distancing from black populations. ✊

    • Dr. Rushton Fan says:

      I know. I know. Always the White man’s fault. It’s never Mother Nature’s fault [redacted]

      • Brandon says:

        Thank you for proving my point, that white people still think of us as less than you human, making them feel automatically threatened, anxious and nervous without ever meeting us. Bravo, Mr. Hitler would be very proud of you!

      • sam says:

        C’mon NL, how is this comment even permissible? In many countries in Europe, this statement — therefore this site — is prosecutable under hate speech statutes.

        Not in the US, where hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, but this site is accessible in Europe also, where hate speech is not protected.

        • Mr.Knowitall says:

          Steve, do you really mean to introduce pseudoscience into this already ugly thread? What’s next, eugenics?

        • Patricia Yeiser says:

          I don’t like the term hate speech. It can be used to cover legitimate criticism one doesn’t like. And the First Amendment is not absolute. Nor is any conductor’s right to a job.

  • Tim says:

    BKB will never again get a job in the United States. He’s a terrible human being.

    • Alan W. says:

      I think that he proved that here as well. Never met him and hope I never will. Hopefully he never runs on stage because, you know, people might think he stole something.

  • Roman Reshetkin says:

    I actually saw maestro Brown conduct with my own eyes, and he’s definitely very good at what he does. He studied under Kurt Masur among others.
    I also saw him rehearse with an orchestra with my own eyes, and he’s definitely extremely rude and agressive.
    Saying he was fired because he’s black is ridiculous on his part.

    • Brandon says:

      Roman, statements from complete beginners–who are socially distanced from African-American populations–who cannot unfortunately start the orchestra when they conduct, should not be taken with any validity. You asked me repeatedly for conducting suggestions in exasperation over your lack of training and success with the orchestra, and I actually remember trying to help you. You actually emailed: “I would be interested in getting a copy of your work from the workshop, strictly for personal study purposes.” Given your age, discomfort fathoming racial discrimination, lack of discipline, inexperience and immaturity, it is understandable that you completely emulate Brown students. You are not entitled to the conducting profession Roman. You must do the work. You have not. You must have talent. I did not see this from you yet. Additionally, you saw me work with amateurs, who unarguably by the time they were finished with me, sounded almost professional. Then you benefited from my work by making a recording with them. I wish you the best of luck, but until you actually learn how to conduct and are willing to understand the lived black experience–one of constantly being perceived as an aggressive threat (often responded to with extra-judicious murder at the hands of police in my country)–your uninformed attacks on social media will only be seen as privileged entitled white child trying to control the narrative of the minority experience. Your world is one of automatically assumed agency and competence when you walk into the room. It must be nice.

    • Frankster says:

      Hey Roman! You were very lucky to have missed the experience of Toscanini, speaking of rude and aggressive. You would have hated Szell too.

      • Patricia Yeiser says:

        Different times. For some reason, audiences ad orchestras expected conductors to be tyrants. But the product was not necessarily wonderful. Much of the Classical repertoire sounded dense and heavy-handed. Thank goodness playing and conducting styles have changed, mostly for the better. It is no longer a matter of ‘one-size conductor fits all.’

  • Sergio Mims says:

    To be honest I’m not really surprised about all the negative comments that Brown has been getting. I know him personally and I can personally the he is a extremely talented, versatile and accomplished conductor and musician. But with these negative comments what I see is fear. These pathetic snowflakes still living in their mother’s basement terrified of the black man taking over. It’s time to grow up

  • Brandon says:

    Before signing off, I would like to thank those who supported my sociological experiment here; that members of hegemonies marginalize or kill people who are different. Undeniably, this phenomenon led to countless wars and current atrocities (New Zealand, Pittsburgh, Sri Lanka, Louisiana church burnings). When hegemonies feel challenged by out groups, their terminal cognitive dissonance fuels morbid white fragility. Through violence, anger, character assassination, racial bias and sheer racism, your cowardly efforts strive to justify and mitigate irrational insecurities. It is innate in each of you, and when confronted, the exposer rips you apart with rage, a rage so dangerous and vile, it sometimes drives you to commit genocide, extra-judicial lynchings (police shootings), and radical acts of terrorism. I am sorry, but this misbehavior is atypical of my people.

    You invent terms like “race card,” allowing you to pretend occurrences of racism are rare. You are socially conditioned to believe your opinions are automatically facts, and white is always right even when presented with a preponderance of evidence proving otherwise. Not unlike our lives, minority words hold no value to you. What a privilege you have.

    I am no match for your continued exercises of worldwide dominance, superiority and authority over minorities. I now serve as a social justice advocate for the choir of minority voices you choke silent by standing in jack boots on our necks. With abandon, I will keep teaching and conducting with the entitled intensity the music requires, aiming to shepherd it into the future with minimal harm (proud lineage through Leopold Mozart and Corelli). I will keep striving for a level of black excellence you will never think I am worthy or capable of, because I know better, and the composers I look after require it. It is obvious if I were not a good stick waver, you would never have been so vehement. However, thank you for motivating me to become better with your predictable crazy rage and putrid hate.

    I am heartened to know that much to your chagrin, black voices will not be silenced as you have designed. There is definitely nothing you can do to stop me. I am resigned to accepting that as long as the world spins, you will keep coming for me and I accept the challenge.

    Most sincerely (and with much pity for your occult malignant ignorance),

    Brandon Keith Brown, Conductor

    • Mitch says:

      You have a high opinion of yourself as a musician and your sense of self importance is overwhelming, maybe even more intense than your obvious disdain for Mighty Whitey.

      I would be curious to know your IQ score. We conduct our own experiments as well.

      • Patricia Yeiser says:

        I agree with Mitch – but then, I am asserting white, American, female , educated, musical privilege.

  • John Marks says:

    I wish to stay–entirely–out of the BKB controversy.

    However, for the record, I attended the final performance of the Brown University Orchestra under its departing conductor Paul Phillips. The only work on the program was Mahler 9.

    The orchestra acquitted itself very well. There were many wonderful moments. I especially was impressed by and enjoyed the playing of the (IIRC, non-white) concertmaster. It made me regret that I had not heard her earlier, when she played the Beethoven Concerto.

    I post now only to refute, from first-hand (or rather, “these ears”) experience, the thread that seems to run through many comments to this post to the effect that the Brown University Orchestra is unserious, incompetent, or both.

    For a University that (NB!!!!!!!) does NOT offer degrees in music performance, I think it is a very impressive outfit–judging solely by the performances that I have heard.

    John Marks

  • Roman Reshetkin says:

    Brandon,
    My conducting ability at the time has nothing to do with the fact that your rehearsing was insensitive and undiplomatic. That, by the way, is not my own opinion, but that of the musicians you worked with.
    Nobody there put in question the artistic excellence you achieved. What people are usually discussing about you is the means you use to achieve your ends. Your method might work, but unfortunately it is only short-lived. After all, what orchestra wants to work long-term with a conductor they dislike as a person, especially in our age of abundant supply of conductors?

  • timpanitroll says:

    Okay everyone, say it with me:

    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength
    Diversity is our strength

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