Things are going down badly at Grand Teton, Wyoming, under CEO Andrew Palmer Todd.
Here’s what the musicians tell Slipped Disc:
This week, in a blatant and egregious attempt to silence its musician membership, the management at the Grand Teton Music Festival (GTMF) issued termination letters to three musicians and orchestra representatives on the grounds of “comportment” and “disruptive behavior”.
Two of the musicians, Kristen Linfante and Juan de Gomar, serve on the orchestra’s Players’ Committee. Linfante also serves as Chairwoman of the committee. The 10-member committee is chosen by election each year by the approximately 230 musicians that participate in the festival. Its role is to represent the collective voice of the musicians to the festival’s management and artistic leadership.
Juan De Gomar serves as bassoonist and contrabassoonist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of the GTMF for 19 seasons. Linfante serves as Principal Violist of Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra and has been a member of the festival for 23 seasons. The third terminated musician, Jennifer Ross, is a recent musician representative to the Board of Directors at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Former Principal Second Violinist of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Ross has participated in the festival for the past 38 seasons. The commonality among these three musicians is that each openly expressed grave concerns of the musicians at weekly scheduled “town hall” meetings organized by the festival’s management this past summer.
While town hall meetings typically provide a safe and open forum for discussion, these meetingsappear to have done the opposite. The terminated musicians expressed collective concerns surrounding new directions that the festival appears to be going in at the direction of President and CEO Andrew Palmer Todd – a shift that places more focus on the festival as a presenting organization of outside, one-off performers, and less focus on the foundation upon which the festival was built nearly 60 years ago – its internationally recognized orchestra, made up of musicians from the nation’s top orchestras and learning institutions that come together each summer for the 7-week festival.