An uprising in French orchestras

An uprising in French orchestras


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2019

Last week, musicians of the Paris Opéra declared solidarity with the orchestra of the Bordeaux Opera, which has been replaced for some performances with guest ensembles by the company’s director, Marc Minkowski.

The musicians in Bordeaux are in open rebellion.

Today, they received a message of support from the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice:

This is not yet 1789, but something is simmering in the French orchestral sector.



  • John Borstlap says:

    In 1789, among the crowd who stormed the Bastille were numerous orchestral musicians, slamming the heads of the guards with their violins and cellos (the porter was killed by a bassoon). But because orchestras were paid for by nobility and court, players who could not escape to England ended-up under the guillotine during the Terror, together with their instruments (for which a special small-size contraption was designed by the revolutionaries).

    • Mike Schachter says:

      Quite, let’s remember that along with the sanctimonious sermonising the French invented political terror by the state eg after the Vendee uprising. Really became popular in the 20th century of course, though the French were bit players then.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        The French did not invent political terror by the state. As a matter of fact, the French and other Western nations were amateurs in matter of terror. The French did not make common practice of human sacrifices and cannibalism as instruments of power, as was the case for example in some pre-Columbian American cultures.

        • John Borstlap says:

          If the precolumbians had had violins and cellos, they would exertize their bloodlust in a much more civilized way.