Ex-Malaysia boss lands job in Hong Kong

Ex-Malaysia boss lands job in Hong Kong


norman lebrecht

December 23, 2019

Timothy Tsukamoto is one of many foreigners who departed in the xenophobic clearout of the Malaysian Philharmonic in the past decade.

The American general manager has been luckier than others. A correspondent finds him working as director of artistic planning with the excellent Hong Kong Philharmonic.

This is a reminder that the Malyasian Phil is still under an international musicians’ boycott.

Don’t go there.


  • Nick2 says:

    I had dinner with Tim after a concert in Kuala Lumpur about three years ago. The conductor and soloist certainly spoke highly of him, but my definite impression was that he was leaving of his own accord – no doubt angered by the shenanigans of the appalling General Manager at that time. Malaysia’s loss is definitely Hong Kong’s gain.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    I have colleagues who could not take the pressure put on foreign players and left before the trial period was over. The pay was good, facilities were good, pay was good… but still not worth it.

    • Bratschegirl440 says:

      @FrauGeigerin—can you be more specific? No one I’ve spoken to has any recollection of a candidate leaving “before their trial period was over”, much less multiple people. That would indeed be bizarre. Additionally, what was the pressure they faced? From whom? The orchestra is over 90% foreign players as is—but these trialists received pressure not to join?

  • Bratschegirl440 says:

    Tim Tsukamoto was not fired, he resigned. You got that salient point wrong when it happened, and you repeat it to this day.

  • Bratschegirl440 says:

    I’m assuming your “correspondent” is unaware that well after his departure from KL, Tim Tsukamoto was brought back as a consultant to MPO on a number of occasions? He could frequently be seen at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. I guess the fact that Tim actually resigned on his own accord doesn’t fit the narrative of your “correspondent”, who likely has a substantial axe to grind and is happy to spread misinformation.

  • Guest says:

    Tim Tsukamoto left the MPO on his own terms. He wasn’t fired.

  • Bratschegirl440 says:

    I certainly appreciate the corrected headline, Norman, but it would be more appropriate to publish some sort of retraction acknowledging that your initial assertion that the MPO fired Tim Tsukamoto was incorrect.

  • Rachel says:

    Ever since the Malaysian nonsense regarding Jewish composers, in particular Lenny, I have a personal boycott of anything Malaysian. I was in Penang and K.L. in the 1970’s and would love to return but…nah.

    • Bratschegirl440 says:

      MPO celebrated the Bernstein Centennial with an all-Bernstein concert in January ‘18, conducted by Eiji Oue. Other recent Bernstein pieces performed by MPO include Chichester Psalms (yes, sung in Hebrew) and the Dances from West Side Story.

  • Fabio Luisi says:

    A competent, nice professional. Very good news for HK.

  • Violinist says:

    Was he the one the MPO/Petronas management brought in as general manager to oversee the causeless sacking of several musicians and key players in 2012?

  • Hornbill says:

    According to the 2020 brochure for the MPO, recently released, Raina Abdullah is not mentioned and the CEO is Sareen Filsham.
    More interesting, Kees Bakels is returning as “Conductor Laureate”. Has peace broken out?

    • backdesk says:

      Not sure what you mean with „peace“
      Management has changed again (like a few times before…).
      And yes the new CEO has asked maestro Bakels back.
      But really looks more like a PR stunt than truly fixing things.
      Contracts for the musicians are still same (bad) and no attempt was made to rectify the situation with the sacked players.