Musicians refuse to play for French director

Musicians refuse to play for French director


norman lebrecht

June 13, 2019

It is reported in Bordeaux that musicians of the opera orchestra are refusing to perform under the baton of general director Marc Minkowski.

The orchestra has fallen out with him before when Minkowski replaced them with an independent ensemble.

Now they are picketing the house with leaflets that read ‘We, musicians of ONBA, are absolutely not convinced that Mr. Minkowski has the technical, musical and human qualities to lead us as a conductor.’

Minkowski, who has been in charge at Bordeaux since 2015 was lately renewed until 2022.



  • Jonathon Higgins says:

    He replaced them with his own orchestra, ‘Les Musiciens du Louvre’ who are not a ‘training ensemble’.

    • Pianoissimo says:

      Here we go again. Yet another ridiculous French musical soap opera drama, with angry musicians who walk out and threaten not to play under their conductor, an equally angry and “prickly” French conductor who has the usual bad French attitude and what do we get…a tremendous waste of time and another window into daily life in France! When will people realise that constant strife, anger, being in opposition to your colleagues, going on strike and creating as much upheaval and discord as possible is just simply “normal” life in France.
      For those who want to collaborate with more sensible, mature and professional musical colleagues, avoid any professional contacts with France and French musicians. Sure there are exceptions. I have experienced them on a few occasions, but for the most part it is a place to avoid at all costs, unless you enjoy being stressed out, shouted at, talked down to, having to take sides against somebody, watching neurotic, depressive arrogant people get all angry and upset about things that would be quickly resolved, or wouldn’t even happen, elsewhere.
      I have performed in no less than 62 countries and only in France have I been treated with such disdain, contempt and impoliteness. In 2012 I decided, never again would I perform in France. I initially refused all offers to perform in France. Now, they don’t even bother to try to engage me and for that I am eternally grateful! There is a big and beautiful world out there with wonderful musical colleagues and warm receptive audiences. The risks of performing in France are too high and not worth the trouble.

  • Emil says:

    Since when is Les Musiciens du Louvre a training orchestra?

  • Will Duffay says:

    If you look at some of his reviews it’s clear he does like to shake things up, and not necessarily in a good way.

    I remember a very awkward interview with him on Radio 3 where the presenter, Sean Rafferty, mentioned that he is an early-music specialist. Uncontroversial, you’d think. But Maestro Minkowski got very uppity and said it absolutely wasn’t true. All rather strange and unnecessary. He’s clearly a prickly character.

  • Mathieu says:

    Sorry to pile on but: not a training ensemble. Let’s keep our facts straight please

  • PETER L says:

    I went to Berlin to hear him conduct the Franck symphony and the Immolation scene. The soprano was staying in the same hotel and I thanked her for a fine concert and she was effusive about what an inspiring and warm musician Marc is.

  • Tweettweet says:

    I have played as an orchestra musician with Marc Minkowski. Rehearsals were ok, but the concerts were truly fantastic and inspiring!