German concertmaster is disciplined for Covid initiatives

German concertmaster is disciplined for Covid initiatives


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2020

The deputy concertmaster of the Augsburg Philharmonic, Agnes Malich, has been subjected to bizarre disciplinary action after organising a campaign for cultural awareness and fundraising during the Covid shutdown.

Her boss, André Bücker, says that while he does not object to her initiatives, the fact that the concertmaster had announced cooperation with other institutions without consulting the theater management was a violation of her employment terms.

The two sides go to court on Monday.

Agnes is being supported by the German Orchestras Association (DOV).



  • What was the disciplinary action?

    It must have been overkill if they’re going to court over it.

    • Max Grimm says:

      The disciplinary action was an official reprimand issued against Mrs. Malich.
      In a nutshell, the campaign in question was supported by the mayor of Augsburg, as well as the members of the orchestra’s committee of which Malich is a part. The only committee member to be disciplined by Bücker for the involvement was Malich (“intriguingly […] the only woman among the committe members”), according to the DOV.
      Malich is now suing Bücker with the intent of an immediate and unconditional retraction of the reprimand issued against her.

      (German only)

    • Bruce says:

      Based on the bare bones (no doubt over-simplified) version above, I would say any disciplinary action is overkill, as long as she wasn’t actively working against the organization.

      At most, something like “we understand and admire your efforts, but next time please remember that your contract requires you to check with us before you do anything like this.”

    • Brettermeier says:

      “What was the disciplinary action?

      It must have been overkill if they’re going to court over it.”

      A reprimand. Overkill? You decide.

    • Winterreise says:

      Es handelt sich wohl um eine Ermahnung.
      Diese kann nicht zu einer Kündigung führen, wird aber in die Personalakte eingetragen.

  • DG says:

    With the precipice that so many orchestras are dangling over, Augsburg thinks THIS is worth the time and effort to fight?

  • anon says:

    Managerialism gone mad, when even a PRINCIPAL player has to get permission for something!

  • Sharon says:

    Did she do this as an individual or did she do whatever volunteer work she did in the name of or as an initiative of the Augsberg Philharmonic?

    As a nurse in a state bureaucracy I can do whatever I like that is legal and does not impact on my work or on former patients on my own time, as long as I am not doing it as a representative of my hospital. For example, I recently wrote a letter of recommendation for someone on plain paper but if I used hospital letterhead I would need the hospital’s permission.

    In New York State civil servants have a right to administratively appeal letters of reprimand, called “written counseling” and in any event they will be removed from the file at the employee’s request after three years?

    Is Malich upset because she fears that the letter of reprimand, without explaining the circumstances behind it, might be mentioned in a letter of recommendation about her if she applies for another job?

    If not, although it does appear that the letter of reprimand is overkill isn’t Malich’s court action also?

  • John wills says:

    I’m on her side

  • Winterreise says:

    In diesem Fall da öffentlicher Dienst muss die ehrenamtliche Arbeit dem Arbeitgeber angezeigt werden.