Major US orchestra in turmoil over principal flute’s Covid views

Major US orchestra in turmoil over principal flute’s Covid views

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norman lebrecht

February 13, 2021

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has issued a statement, dissociating itself from the views of principal flute Emily Skala, who has posted a Covid-sceptic video.

Here’s the BSO statement:

The Baltimore Symphony would like to acknowledge attentions raised to the personal social media accounts of Principal Flutist Emily Skala. While we do not comment on internal personnel matters, we also do not condone nor support the words or sentiments expressed in these posts. Ms. Skala does not speak for the BSO, nor do her statements reflect our core values or code of conduct grounded in humanity and respect.

There are unconfirmed reports that Ms Skala has been suspended, following some other controversial comments. We will update when appropriate.

Skala appointed principal flute of the BSO in 1988 and a faculty member of the Peabody Institute the following year. She has not taken down her dubious video.

 

Comments

  • christopher storey says:

    The trouble is people are entitled to hold, and to promulgate , minority views, unless they are so gratutitously offensive that they need to be quashed. Merely because one disagrees with a viewpoint does not of itself make that viewpoint offensive and one that should be forbidden. The nations which have restricted freedom of speech are totalitarian regimes of a disgraceful nature, and neither European nations, nor the USA , should have any part in allowing employers to dictate what views their employees may or may not hold

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Exactly. And the left side of politics now fits that bill very nicely indeed with its rancid diktat and cancel culture. Their international ‘relatives’ do this so it’s in their genes.

      • Rogerio says:

        From: International Relatives
        To: A Man Named Sue
        (well how do you do?) (see your great Johnny Cash)
        —–
        We would like to give you and all our American brothers and sisters the following advice:
        Travel more.

      • Brian says:

        Anti-science propaganda has nothing to do with left or right. When bogus material about public health is invented and spread, a lot of gullible people buy it and lives are put at risk. The BSO did the sensible thing in distancing itself from this flutist.

        • Hope says:

          Ms. Skala’s views are not anti-science at all. She merely acknowledges that Ralph Baric and Anthony Fauci experimented with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (patented by Bill Gates, Fauci’s college roommate) in the UNC lab in NC before selling it to the new lab built by George Soros in Wuhan. This isn’t the first bioweapon Fauci has helped design. Fauci even announced in 2017 that Trump would face a pandemic in his first term, which I always thought was so weird. Did you all notice that, too? And she questioned the masks cuz Fauci said on 60 Minutes they weren’t necessary and wouldn’t do any good. Less than a month later he was walking it back. What a farce! Anyway, you know how in a trial each side can find their own experts? I think the media has found a bunch of compromised experts. That’s what it looks like to me.

          • Hayne says:

            Some of it may indeed not be true but to use “factchecker” from USA Today? Really?
            BTW, what country contributes the most money to WHO?
            Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
            Nothing to see here…

          • Mock Mahler says:

            Anthony Fauci was born in 1940 and graduated from College of the Holy Cross in 1962 and Cornell medical school in 1966. Bill Gates was born in 1955 and dropped out of Harvard in 1973. I’ve heard of precocity, but asserting they were college roommates is beyond silly.
            I marvel at a poster who puts forward ‘information’ that is so easily debunked. (Of course, I’m also sure that this poster or somebody else will impose another level of foolishness to justify this level of foolishness. Go right ahead.)
            And Norman, when they come for you, it may be hard to complain.

      • Nick says:

        As you noticed here, even on this blog there are so more left-wing totalitarian dictators!!! But you, Sue Sonata Form, are absolutely right! Leftism always meant DICTATORSHIP!

      • K says:

        Heil Sue!

        At it again. You can’t tribute anything of substance so you fall back on the most lame memes to somehow think you have relevance. You don’t, you never have and you never will. And regardless of where you are from, you can speak your mind, even if your mind is covered by a red MAGA hat- – Make Australia Great Again- which means, get rid of SUE!

      • Paul Allen says:

        Dude, the ones getting censored now are GOP officials who went against their Master. What’s with the free speech there? In case you haven’t got the memo.

    • Orchestral Musician says:

      The BSO is NOT dictating “what views their employees may or may not hold”. They have published a statement of dissociation, to make it clear that the BSO does not “condone or support” the specified employee’s statements.

      • Hayne says:

        So they also do not “condone or support” BSO musicians writing in support of marxist organizations like BLM? Antifa? Are they consistent? Hypocrites…

        • Seriously? says:

          Educate yourself on what Marxism actually is before repeating scary stories for kids about communism from Fox News and other right wing propaganda.

          • Hayne says:

            Socialism of the means of production. Dictatorship of the means of production. Centralized command of the economy. These are all the same thing. A central command economy can never have the information for what to produce, how to produce, who to produce for, how it is distributed, etc. This was shown by Mises in 1920.
            Marx’s labor theory of value says that the value of final production rests on the price of the inputs. Exactly ass backwards. The cost of factor inputs is based on competitive bidding by producers. Value moves from producers expectations to factor prices, NOT from factor prices to final output. This was shown by Carl Menger in 1871.
            But the West does have Marxism is different ways though (and they work oh so well).
            A few things from the Communist Manifesto.
            Abolition of the family. (thanks BLM!)
            A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. check
            Abolition of all rights of inheritance (through heavy taxation) getting there.
            Centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank (central banking) getting close, check
            Centralization of the means of communication…(big tech censorship anyone?)
            Free education of all children in public (govt) schools. mostly there.
            Bourgeois vs proletariat group nonsense has blossomed into all kinds of nonsense today. People are each individuals first. They are not “groups.” That is old fashioned tribalism.
            Let’s not forget the most deaths from war was in the 20th century from socialist/communist governments. And yes, socialism and communism meant the same thing until Stalin said the USSR was communist to distinguish it from some European socialist parties wouldn’t toe the line with him.
            As an aside, Build Back Better eh, Boris. What a “Tory.”

          • Paul Allen says:

            According to your definition, half of Europe should be building Gulags already. Free education for all, what horror, those poor German/Swedish/Finnish kids under ruthless fist of the state trying to educate them.

            Let’s save them by bringing them 30+% interest rate loans that are only legal in countries like US where banking is akin to letting rabid animals without leash.

            So they can pay 60k per year for a Great Capitalist university or maybe couple of grands for simple hospital check up.

          • Hayne says:

            Who educates? That’s why Marx wanted it. Geez…
            Try to homeschool your kids in Germany BTW.
            See where that gets you.
            Banks + state= corporate socialism
            What has driven up higher education costs in the US for many decades now?
            Over 50% of US medical costs are government now. Big pharma owns the govt, and media. Don’t believe me? Do some research.

          • Paul Allen says:

            I see where apparent homeschooling of you got you… I’d rather have government handle it so at least there is a functioning society and knowledge of history and philosophy instead of bunch of conspiracy loonies getting spooked. I’ve been to rural parts of US, I know it, not wondering they have to be homeschooled because gvmt didn’t bother to build even one school there.

          • Hayne says:

            “I’d rather have government handle it…”
            Yes, government has done so well, hasn’t it? Of course you’re opinion is right. That’s why you want to use the force of the state to make me do what you want.
            “Note too that a faithful study of the liberal arts humanizes character and permits it not to be cruel.” Ovid
            I’m sure you received a wonderful education, Mr. Allen:)

          • Piano Man says:

            Centralization of Communication? Yes, seeing as 6 corporations own about 90% of media outlets, including the conservative Sinclair Group of about 200 radio stations. But this is good old-fashioned capitalism, not your socialist/Marxist bugaboo.

          • Hayne says:

            Who controls the media?
            Mockingbird…

          • Stuart L. says:

            You state that Socialism and Communism we’re one and the same until Stalin but surely you know the Russian party had split into Bolshevik and menshivik factions prior to the revolution. And if you look at the other parties throughout Europe you will find splits long before that. So that is one of your claims debunked.

            As for the remainder of your claims such as your bugaboo claim that Socialism means centralization, try expanding your readings both so that you will be better informed and to improve your critical analyzing skills.

          • Hayne says:

            Socialism and Communism were used interchangeably in the early 20th century. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Of course there were factions under socialism/communism. It doesn’t take away the fact of the beginning of differentiation of the two was under Stalin.
            Please elaborate what socialism means then if it isn’t a central command economy. Over 100 million people were killed in the name of socialism in the 20th century. Yeah, I guess you could say it’s a bugaboo of mine.

            https://www.amazon.com/Socialism-Sociological-Ludwig-von-Mises/dp/0913966630/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1B2XFU5VZAIZH&dchild=1&keywords=mises+socialism&qid=1613677575&sprefix=mises+socialism%2Caps%2C131&sr=8-4

      • Another Musician says:

        It’s clear by so doing they have invited hate speech very much worse than anything she herself has said, if anything at all. I certainly can’t find any.

      • Ted says:

        They are merely waiving the white flag of innocence, to free them from being next on the the Cancel Culture Mob’s hit list.

      • Nick says:

        BSO is not a kinder garden. They do not have to support or condone any statement of their colleagues. Nobody should care what their views are. People care only about HOW WELL they play.
        We are all INDIVIDUALS and speak for ourselves only! It is none of the corporate business what a member of any organization says on personal social media! That’s DICTATORSHIP since it presumes that there EXISTS a ONE certain view only. It’s TOTALITARIAN, AUTHORITARIAN, ANTI-DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP. Plain and simple.

        • Seriously? says:

          You obviously don’t know how business works. These kind of people are always a trouble for the employer because employer has to try to balance its public image and when things go too far, employer has to take action. Now, if she would support January 6th thugs they would be right to simply fire her as any other responsible business. This Covid stuff is not strong enough reason to fire, but just to suspend. If she doesn’t get too loud about all this, the situation will eventually dissipate. Those yelling about communism and dictatorship also seem to have no clue how capitalism works either, lol.

          • Wise Guy says:

            The thing about political correctness is that things that aren’t PC are ideas everyone is thinking, but a minority is using dirty tactics to make sure nobody says.

          • Hope says:

            You can only suspend a musician for violating policy or contract (CBA).

          • Hope says:

            I think you have no clue that CCP took over Congress, that Joe Biden has colluded with them for 40 yrs, that Nany’s, Chuck’s and Mitch’s laptops will show they controlled the Capitol Police in January 6th, over-riding all safety plans the Chief of DC Police had in place and this is why he stepped down that same afternoon.

          • nimitta says:

            Hope, dear, you don’t actually believe any of that, do you? Every claim in that pressured, run-on sentence is not only demonstrably false, but also zany mad cuckoo.

    • Hayne says:

      Especially if she’s right. If Emily is wrong, it should be easy enough to prove she is. Right?
      Your point about totalitarian regimes restricting freedom of speech is of a disgraceful nature. True. Should the West look in a mirror?

  • Guest mcguesterson says:

    That video isn’t why people are upset

  • Bone says:

    I’d like to see the video so I know what all the fuss about.

  • Rogerio says:

    There are certain people you go to for their opinions on matters of great concern to society.
    One of those people is Jeffrey Bruce Atkins (born February 29, 1976). His insight is invaluable.
    Now principal flutes… man, we should all just stay AWAY from principal flutes.

  • Jim West says:

    Somewhat ironic that such rubbish would come from a flute player. A recent study indicates that flutes spread Covid more readily than other instruments. https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/coronavirus/flautists-should-sit-three-metres-away-orchestra-study/

  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    Nor should she. The USA is NOT (yet)a communist dicatorship. Those who disallow her her views are to be considered traitors to the US AND the constitution and offered a one-way ticket to North Korea, where I’m sure they will feel more comfortable.

  • Victoria says:

    Opinions are fine, but facts are facts. We need to know the difference.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Right on, Victoria!

    • Ted says:

      Exactly! For instance, the FACT that Covid has 99.5-99.997% survival rate for people under 70 and 95% for people over 70. But we will just ignore that statistic. Norman Lebrecht and the Baltimore Symphony are exhibiting nothing but cancel culture here, only because Emily thinks for herself and doesn’t fall in line with the propaganda narrative being forced onto us by mainstream media.

      • Mecky Messer says:

        It is hilarious how people wjo claim to NOT be sheep and think for themselves literally repeat verbatim, word by word, the same phrases that they read on blogs, the dark web or alternative search engines.

        Someone should teach a Parrott to blob the words “propaganda narrative pushed by mainstream media”. Hilarious how many times one reads these exact words on supposedly “enlightened people who think for themselves”.

        • Ted says:

          Hey Mecky – What’s “hilarious” is that you actually trust mainstream media, despite its blatant hypocrisies, cover-ups, and emotional-based reporting. You use terms like the “dark web” and “conspiracy theories” in a cheap effort to debunk someone whose beliefs don’t line up exactly with your own, simply because you have no argument. HILARIOUS.

          Oh – and here’s your data. Or am I being a “parrot” by looking up the stats on the CDC website? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

      • Anthony Sayer says:

        When will we see the day when these pathetic bedwetters who wish to make people believe that a covid case equals suffering and probably death will be debunked as “liars”? Just asking.

      • Anon says:

        Baltimore is probably responding to the anti Jewish posts more than anything.

        Also, can you imagine what the mortality rate would be if we didn’t have a lid on it?

      • Ellingtonia says:

        Perhaps you could list your source reference for the statistics you have quoted as I would be very interested to read them.

    • Woodie says:

      As an educator of 36 years and a professional concert singer in about the same time frame, I wish to thank you, Victoria. We need to teach our children to distinguish between the two.

      I’m more worried that a professional musician (regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, religious points of view, etc.) has likely ruined her reputation.

      I know that I must have played alongside Emily at least a few times in our careers, but none of those involved her politics, genetics, or vaccinations. It DID involve a MASTER FLUTIST who did WHAT SHE WAS PAID TO DO! And nothing more than that.

      What goes on within a professional organization/employer and its contracted employees need to stay there. If the union’s contract speaks to what a member may or may not say, is a contractual obligation. If it’s not in her contract, either change the contract and change the subject.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    If I understand correctly, the flutist was not told to pipe down, only to blow her own embouchure.
    She can flaunt the flute, just not flout the fiat.
    She can drone on, and countermelody ad libitum en privé.
    So what the flageolet?

  • E Rand says:

    The left is the party of diversity and inclusion, unless you divert from whatever they tell you to think.

  • Kenny says:

    “attentions raised to the personal social media accounts” — OK, I’ll play. Who really wrote this? Not someone from Baltimore.

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      I’ll clarify: it looks like someone took excerpts from internal orchestra emails where she’d expressed her controversial opinions on various topics to colleagues and management and pasted them onto a public facebook page without her knowledge or permission. “Emily Skala In Her Own Words” is not her personal social media account. It’s an orchestra colleague trying to frame her.

      The Baltimore Symphony needs to find and prosecute whoever made that fake FB page.

  • Minnesota says:

    Emily Skala apparently is a capable flutist. She really should stay in that lane because her political and pandemic-related performances are pretty embarrassing at best, and badly misleading at worst. Contrary to some other commenters here, she will not be arrested for spreading lies about the pandemic, but there could well be other costs. Her employer clearly is not amused, nor is Facebook, and she should take those developments, at least, as a serious matter.

    • Another Musician says:

      Musicians can know about more than one thing. Are you one-dimensional?

    • christopher storey says:

      Minnesota : it is no business of her employer to be either amused or not amused. They do not have to agree with her, but to suspend someone because of their views – unless for example they are views advocating criminal activity – is a large step along the road to a totalitarian regime

    • Hayne says:

      Kary Mullis, Nobel prize winner in 1993 on PCR test (which is misused now for political reasons) on Dr. Fauci…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtgUGxxzB_c

      Yeah Minnesota, keep looking at the shadows on your cave walls.

    • Jimmie says:

      Wow! You’ve got a lot to learn about life and the fact that the Constitution allows freedom of speech. Emily has every right to express her views without censorship or retribution from her employer. You live in a purely communistic leaning state that wants to dictate what one thinks, says and does. I pity your future when you finally wake up to the repressive regime that will be dictating your life. Good luck. By then it will be to late for you.

      • Bill says:

        The First Amendment on freedom of speech: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”

        That’s the entire discussion of freedom of speech in the US Constitution.

        Absolutely nothing about how your employer can’t take a dim view of your speech.

        Frequent misunderstandings about “freedom of speech”:

        I can say anything I want, and no one can do anything about it, and

        I can say anything I want, anywhere I want.

        Neither one is even remotely true. Only in very specific circumstances are you protected from consequences of your speech, and you generally have no right to insist that someone else provide you with a soapbox on which to speak. Wishing otherwise does not make it so.

    • Ted says:

      And here it is folks – the predictable, arrogant, condescending comment from the liberal who can’t fathom that someone would have a different viewpoint from their own….

  • Maria says:

    How can you have a view if you can’t hear or see what was said?

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    What’s dubious about expressing your opinion? If it’s ridiculous it’ll be seen as such. Nice to see the leftist bedwetters once again so keen to quash any point of view which doesn’t concord with their own.

  • Couperin says:

    Someone tell us what she said!

  • Isabel says:

    Why am I not surprised?

  • Anon says:

    She openly posted some pretty offensive things about Jewish people. A large portion of the BSO’s donations probably come from that same community in Baltimore, and I see why the BSO felt the need to respond. She should probably take action herself to apologize and rethink her words/delete her posts. If it continues, she will probably be out of a job, but now she has a clear warning from her employer.

    I truly hope she finds help; in general with life, and with climbing out of the online rabbit hole she fell into this past year. Her posts clearly took a weird turn during the pandemic. As a crazy person myself, I empathize.

    /wash your hands/distance/wear a mask/get the vaccine when available/be kind to others/drink responsibly

    • Seriously? says:

      I know people like that, who during pandemic went to all those Townhalls, Breitbars and other trash and due to lack of self awareness they went past all the red flags that many would notice in abundance on those sites, and got sucked in. It’s honestly mind boggling to me how people don’t smell right wing propaganda from a mile away which is usually much more blatantly obvious than left wing one (which can be ridiculous at times too)

    • Seriously? says:

      Oh and don’t forget the Federalist which can be a lot of fun to read just to be amazed how people can fall for its garbage

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      She did NOT openly post those things. Someone copied excerpts her private emails onto a public facebook page and named her.

    • Another Musician says:

      She actually didn’t say anything about Jewish people

  • MW says:

    This statement did not happen because of her views on COVID, but because of the openly racist/anti-Semitic views she shared on her public Facebook page. The comments are very hurtful. Many donors and patrons are personally hurt and offended.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      So, what were these antisemitic comments? That would be bad.

        • Hayne says:

          Really?

        • Anthony Sayer says:

          Not being on FB I probably can’t access the salient sections. What I could see was pretty inconclusive, with a lot of words blanked out and senseless, unattributed comment fragments. Is there another way of getting to this info (if it’s even worth the trouble)?

          • Bashh says:

            I could not find her comments about Covid either. But the flutist seems to be a believer in Qanon theories, There was something about Biden having been secretly arrested which has not been announced yet, and Trump is secretly running the government from behind the scenes.

            She does seem to think that her career has been hampered by other Jewish musicians, including a long time principal flutist from the Pittsburgh Symphony.. She rambles about Hitler, Rothschilds and a bunch of other nonsense

            In the US you are free to say what you like. Others are also free to avoid listening to you, buying your products and even hiring you or working with you, although the woman does not seem to have suffered any consequences at her job. Just like an athelete, she represents a group or a team and there might even be some clause in her contract that mentions consequences for offensive behavior that could reflect badly in the organization.

            But again, conservatives who like to preach taking personal responsibility can take none.when it comes to their own actions and words. You can say what you like, You can’t be arrested for it, but there can be consequences if you offend others.

          • Another Musician says:

            Where to begin Bashh: Q is a high level military intelligence clearance. Other presidents had Q teams, too. If you look at pictures of troops in uniform/fatigues, you’ll see some with a Q appliqué on theirs signifying their clearance level.

            Ms. Skala did say Mr. Goldberg was hoping a student of his would win that job. Seems like he just never stopped working on that.

            It’s fairly well-known Hitler’s mother was raped by a Rothschild.

            And those who were paying attention last year will remember that Ukraine was investigating Joe Biden while he was running for president. Technically one isn’t supposed to be allowed to run for U.S. President while being criminally investigated. hmmm?

          • Bill says:

            The US Constitution spells out the entire set of restrictions on who can be President:

            “ No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

            I don’t see anything there that disqualifies Biden, even if he’d been tried, convicted, and was doing hard time.

        • BruceB says:

          The page is gone now, apparently. Oh well.

  • Scott says:

    For the record, Emily has not been suspended and neither should she be. We don’t live in 1930’s Germany or so I think. If you disagree with her, move on…

  • MacroV says:

    She is entitled to her opinions, but the Baltimore Symphony is equally entitled to disassociate themselves from them. And I understand their concern, because they, like so many other orchestras, are trying to make their way through the COVID crisis through the way they try to make music under these conditions and otherwise serve the community. Skeptics are fine but she is not entitled to put out a message that could be seen as undermining the position of the Baltimore Symphony without them saying “Whoa! That’s NOT our position.”

  • BruceB says:

    “There are unconfirmed reports that Ms Skala has been suspended, following some other controversial comments.”

    I’ll be interested to see if that happens/ has happened, and what the “other controversial comments” are.

  • David Goodman says:

    Considering that some (many? most?) of us have lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19, or know others severely affected by it, one may surely be puzzled by the persistence of such views. In my case, the most recent was a friend whose funeral was held just today.

    • Hayne says:

      Sad about your friend. Do you know how your friend was treated? That is the question that needs to be answered.

    • Ashu says:

      How many people do you know who have been rendered jobless, homeless, and alone by lockdown? Most of us elitist pensioned work-from-home bums don’t know too many, and they don’t get great connectivity in homeless shelters and tent-slums, so they aren’t here to remind us of who’s paying for our righteousness. Hence your touching puzzlement.

    • SVM says:

      What about the some/many/most people who have lost a friend or loved one to the side effects of lockdown (depression, failure to seek/receive medical attention due to fear of catching COVID-19, domestic violence, alcohol/drug abuse exacerbated by being stuck at home), or who know others severely effected by it? Or are non-COVID-19 deaths unimportant? What happened to the late-2010s mantra “mental health is just as important as physical health”?

      There are plenty of people (including many in the medical profession) who, based on the evidence available at the present time, have come to the reasoned conclusion that certain anti-COVID-19 measures, such as persistent lockdowns lasting for several months, are causing significantly more harm than they are preventing.

  • Bernard Nussbaum says:

    Every flutist knows she’s totally crazy and why the symphony hasn’t gotten rid of her and found someone better is a great mystery. It’s no secret why she hasn’t a gotten a job somewhere else— because no one can stand to work with her.

    • Hayne says:

      Mr. Nussbaum, thanks so much for your
      example of cancel culture.

      • MacroV says:

        That’s not cancel culture. People who get a reputation for being difficult to work with often find people don’t want to work with them.

        The only real “cancel culture” incident I can think of that had any legs was the Dixie (now just plain) Chicks of 2003, when radio stations stopped playing their music, record label dropped them, concert bookings dried up, etc..

        • Emily Skala says:

          Either that, Macrov, or gossip is dangerous and does real damage without requiring research or validity.

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      I’m a flutist & I’ve never heard anything of the kind.

    • Ted says:

      That’s funny – I’ve only heard excellent things about Emily. But nice try, spreading rumors.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      She managed to replace a star in the orchestra and hold the job for what? almost 3 decades? Also, how do you know she wants a job somewhere else? Maybe she has a family her and has no reason disrupt her life. Buddy, you are blowing smoke!

    • Emily Skala says:

      Have we met, Bernard? How can you possibly make a statement like that for “every flutist?” Have I personally wronged you in some way?

  • Oresta Cybriwsky says:

    BRAVISSIMA!!!!!!!!!

  • Wannaplayguitar says:

    flautists need to be put into the perspex goldfish bowls of shame, as gig touring drum kit players often are, saving the other musicians from hearing their opinions, ear damage and now Covid aerosols. Shoulda played guitar.

  • Musicman says:

    Some of you clearly do not understand the constitutional definition of Freedom of Speech. All this means is that she cannot be thrown in jail for what she says, so long as she is not threatening personal harm to someone. It does NOT mean that her employer cannot punish her for making controversial statements!

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    I am more troubled by her embouchure than her postings.
    How did she get the job?

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      You’re judging her embouchure by a photo where she posing for a photo & not actually playing? Get a life. She’s a really fine player.

      • Bashh says:

        It would to be better to be able to say she is a really fine person as well as a good principal flutist. Judging from the FB posts I was able to see I would not be able to say that.

        I don’t know how the Baltimore Orchestra operates but in some places the members vote to give you tenure after some years. Judging by her FB remarks, Ms. Scala would just blame a certain segment of the orchestra if she did not get tenure somewhere. Maybe she should consider a career as a soloist.

    • BruceB says:

      If you’d even bothered looking at the picture, you’d see that she’s not even pretending to play. It’s possible you’re not an idiot, but this was an idiotic post.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    This is the kind of world we live in: if you don’t think like the official and/or politically correct line, you will be fired, suspended, ostracized, or insulted anonymously on social media. Great “freedom” we have in the 21st century.

  • Bill says:

    In a recent exchange, sort of defending literature like “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”:

    “You saw the part where Hitler is quite probably the grandchild of a Rothschild, right? Possibly 1/4 Jew himself? His mother was Polish and could have been Jewish, too, though they do not talk about this. Is it possible he was half Jew? So that Adolf Hitler may have taken the last four letters of the Ashkenazi sect to identify his party by code language, a war tactic…well, this seems completely implausible to you, does it?”

    I mean, sure, freedom of speech and all, but f*ck this person.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      The FB page link posted by Norman, above, does not make it clear who posted this rambling rant. As for the content, however clumsily it is expressed (particularly the stuff about the four letters of the Ashkenazi ‘sect’), I suggest you read François Kersaudy’s Secrets of the Third Reich (Chapter 1: The Mystery of Hitler’s Origins) to get some sort of idea how obsessed Hitler was with covering up his ancestry.

      Yes, there are fabulists and nutjobs out there but that should not absolve us of our duty to be as well-informed as possible. Conspiracy theorists et al gain traction by basing their ideas on a kernel of provable evidence. We need to be able to identify where the truth stops and the fantasy begins.

  • Here’s Emily Skala’s post on her Instagram page – to see the whole 11 minute video, click on ‘view post’: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17882022832884573/

  • World Class Bore says:

    The only thing “Major” about the Baltimore Symphony anymore is the constant drama from their cast of self-hating personnel.

    They haven’t sounded good in decades.

    “World Class Orchestra?”

    Nah, more like “World Class (undeserved) Privilege.”

    • MacroV says:

      Not really relevant to the issue at hand, but if don’t live within proximity of Meyerhoff or Strathmore, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve heard them regularly the past 2-3 years and despite all their financial troubles, they sound great.

      • World Class Bore says:

        They’re a fine regional orchestra, but they can’t objectively lay claim to a quality, “World Class” status since Temirkanov.

      • World Class Bore says:

        There’s no question they would perform better, attract better talent, be managed better, and be better funded if it weren’t such a poisonous place to work. Just look at the turnover in staff and management.

  • John Porter says:

    Reading a bit of her posts on Ashkenazi Jews, I think it would be fair to say she’s more than a little bit meshuga. She may be a fine flute player, but ummm, clearly meshuga, a Yiddishism from the Ashkenazi Jews…

  • TuttiFlutie says:

    Reading the photos of her conversations posted on her FB page, she makes some pretty far out points. I can see that she is claiming that Ashekenazi Jews are not actually Jewish. She appears to be disputing the history of the Jewish people. Not clear why.

    DIsturbingly, the source she cites for these opinions is Janet Ossebaard, saying that Ossebaard explains the true history of the Jews in her most recent documentary. (I’m paraphrasing here.) Janet Ossebaard is a Dutch conspiracy theorist who is tied to the QAnon movement. http://lorenzoquint.nl/index.php/Janet_Ossebaard

    In some later screenshots, she goes full on Conspiracy Theory, posting a picture of a special beanie she just bought to protect from supposed bluetooth & 5 & 4 G dangers. This poor woman.

    Then she has a thread where she explains that Hitler was probably the grandchild of a Rothschild, and that Hitler took the name “Nazi” from the word “Ashkenazi”.

    The problematic posts are where she specifically starts referring to her orchestra & the Pittsburgh Orch. and her auditions and other orch. related politics.

    I honestly can’t follow a lot of what she’s saying with the screenshots, but it looks like she’s probably been isolated, under a lot of stress and reaching out on social media with these wild ideas is her survival mechanism.

    Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon here criticizing her without actually knowing what she’s said. Go & read for yourself. And have some empathy.

    Being a Principal player in a major orchestra at any point in time is stressful. The pandemia has taken its toll mentally on many many people. Why would a top musician be immune to that?

    Emily Skala is a superb flutist. She is well educated, hard working and has always done a fine job for Baltimore. I do not know her personally but I have heard her play. She sounds to me like someone who has gone over the edge during the pandemic. I hope that Baltimore will be understanding in reprimanding her & perhaps mandate some type of counseling. What a shame to see such a fine musician in this situation.

    • Seriously? says:

      Do you suggest they babysit her and hire for her a psychologist? Once you get a notable position you either hold the responsibility and possibly get even higher if you have the talent or do something stupid like what seems to be her case. She is not a grocery clerk. Some people when they get higher up the ladder don’t realize that they should also start watching their words more carefully. If she doesn’t like it, she can just teach private flute lessons – less stress, less public responsibility.

      • TuttiFlutie says:

        Yeah, well, then they should probably find & reprimand the person who lifted excerpts from her private inter-orchestra emails & posted them publicly to shame her. I’m sure that would make life much less stressful for her.

  • TuttiFlutie says:

    Also worth noting here that Emily Skala has 2 separate FB pages. One is her own page, and another page called “Emily Skala In Her Own Words”. This page consists of screenshots and photos of Emily’s conversations, many of which look to be private communications within the orchestra, and postings on social media.

    The page’s disclaimer says “Emily Skala, self-described principal flutist of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and faculty of the Peabody Conservatory of the JHU, in her own words from social media accounts and emails. This page is not run by Ms. Skala, just her words.”

    “Self-described” is a pretty nasty clue. This page is run by someone who is trying to publicly discredit Ms. Skala. Since there are conversations which follow orchestra Zoom meetings and are addressed to the participants, this page indicates that someone FROM WITHIN THE BALTIMORE SYMPHONY is trying to bring Emily Skala down.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      Now there is some intrigue.

    • Mecky Messer says:

      Why would a colleague want to expose someone 3 teeets away from the flat earth community and tinfoil hats? As the events of Jan 6 demonstrate, these people are only peaceful patriots….right?

      • Rodrigo says:

        Probably because they have to work with her and she annoys them. She looks to be a Trump follower. That’s a definite minority among orchestral players. Funny how this all came down exactly when Trump was acquitted.

        Look: she did not post her views publicly. She expressed herself in private chat groups & emails within the BSO. Someone took excerpts from those private communications & posted them on a public fake FB page which has now been taken down by FB itself.

        I’m not a fan of Trump or QAnon. I am 100% on the other side. But this is the first time in my sheltered little world as an orchestral musician where I can see that a Trump follower, Skala, someone who doesn’t hold mainstream view, has been bullied and harassed online.

        • World Class Bore says:

          They were public. She took them down (probably after pressure), but they were public

          • TuttiFlutie says:

            The objectionable ones, which specifically related to her job, the BSO, her dislike of the hiring process in Pittsburgh, her opinions on racial diversity in the orch., were all private emails. They were a follow up to an orchestra zoom meeting on racial diversity. She was expressing her personal views on the subject which had been discussed. She did not do that publicly. Someone in that email chain broke a professional confidence & decided to publish excerpts from her emails on a public FB page.

            The other stuff, the more general opinions, on Covid, and vaccinations and 5-G posts favoring Trump, may have been public on her page. I still see some there. But there was nothing specifically offensive in those. She’s a Trump follower, an anti-vaxxer & possibly QAnon. Geez, we have a Congresswoman who’s Qanon now, so why not a Principal Flute who’s one?

            We may not like her views, her opinions are probably offensive to her co-workers, but this is all tempest in a teapot. She’s done nothing wrong & she’s being tarred & feathered.

            If our good and ethical congress members have to work on a daily basis with someone like Marjorie Taylor Green, just suck it up, Baltimore Symphony players & make it work with Emily Skala.

          • World Class Bore says:

            Her comments about Ashkenazi being “fake Jews”, saying Hitler was a Jew, reposting the “Protocols of Zion,” and holocaust deniers were all public.

          • TuttiFlutie says:

            Saying that Hitler was a Jew is not anti-Semitic. It’s probably true.

            As far as the history of the Ashkenazi, she is quoting a Dutch conspiracy theorist who has made a documentary with some peculiar alternate history of the Ashkenazi. It’s not derogatory or anti-Semitic, it’s just historically questionable.

            In what context did she repost the Protocols of Zion, or anything about holocaust deniers? Was she specifically advocating them? I saw nothing about that. That’s a horrifying accusation and I ask that you prove it.

            I can see that Skala has gone down deep the Conspiracy Theory rabbit hole with all that entails. I have no idea what she actually believes but I resent that you and this social media mob are stirring up so much dissent with very little actual proof.

          • World Class Bore says:

            Yes, she even defended the ‘Protocols of Zion.’
            She took all that down, likely under pressure?

          • TuttiFlutie says:

            No they weren’t. Read Melissa Wimbish’s twitter page. Those screenshots were copied from Skala’s internal BSO emails to members of a racial diversity zoom group. She did not post them publicly. Have a look. https://twitter.com/melissawimbish/status/1360640758986997765/photo/2

    • I Got The Email says:

      Not necessarily. I was forwarded that email. She initially sent it to ten people and several were not in the orchestra. So it’s not “private” nor “inter-orchestra.” That email has been forwarded all over the world. Don’t put anything in an email you don’t want shared.

      • TuttiFlutie says:

        Yeah, but it was an email, not a public social media post. Big difference. And at least one was a response to an orchestra zoom meeting, addressed to the participants. She’s wasn’t just proclaiming this stuff to the world on a public facebook page, although someone did that for her.

        • World Class Bore says:

          Although the SD article said the problem was about social media posts, it isn’t. It’s about her racism.

          • TuttiFlutie says:

            Explain to us exactly why you accuse her of being racist. Specifically. What is your proof?

          • Ted says:

            And here we go with the “racist” card. What ISN’T racist to you guys these days? How about that door knob over there? Is IT racist too?

  • Rodrigo says:

    The person Baltimore Symphony should fire is the creator of the fake FaceBook page called “Emily Skala in Her Own Words”. This person has copied excerpts from private emails and communications within the orchestra and posted them publicly in order to denegrate Emily Skala. This page, not Skala’s own page is what the BSO is responding to. The page should be removed and the creator prosecuted.

    • Cucaracha says:

      After checking her official FB, it’s not much better a bit, she is one step away from being a flat earther. Which might prove problematic if she wants to tour around the world.

      • TuttiFlutie says:

        What exactly are you seeing? I see nothing especially bad there. Are you sure you’re not seeing the “Emily Skala in Her Own Words” page created by someone else to defame her? It’s been taken down. So please share with us what you are still seeing.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Well said.

  • Jean says:

    I would like any covid skeptics to volunteer in the
    covid wards for a day. These idiots are a disgrace and do not respect the hard working first responders and hospital workers who deal with the reality of Covid every day.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      What do you mean by covid sceptics? People who don’t believe the virus exists? Or maybe those who remind anyone who cares to listen that the recovery rate is about 99%. Please tell us.

  • Alexander Graham Cracker says:

    Dear BSO: “[W]e also do not condone nor support the words or sentiments” should be “we also do not condone *or* support the words or sentiments….” You’re welcome.

  • Anthony Kershaw says:

    I’ve been ‘FB friends’ with Emily, a very fine flutist, for some time. I do not know her personally. I have not ‘followed’ her on FB for a long time.

    Most professional musicians are incredibly circumspect on social media. Many are very aware (fearful) of their positions, gigs, etc. Much like most professions. So, it was a bit of a shock to read all her recent anti vaccine posts, anti Greta, her celebration of Fox (‘New faces on Fox News. Truthful analysis is so refreshing from a mainstream news station’) and her denigration at ‘the likes of Soros, the Clinton Foundation and that ilk’.

    She’s definitely swimming against the current.

  • dd says:

    Food-for-thought Dept: ‘Settled Science’: The Rallying Cry Back To The Dark Ages by Claudio Grass
    Increasingly over the past decade, but infinitely more so over the last year, we’ve been hearing politicians, mainstream media and all kinds of experts urging, and often sternly demanding, citizens, voters and taxpayers to “follow the science”. This demand usually accompanies various new policies, regulations and mandates.

    Very often, those tend to have passed into law with very little public debate and most of the time, they require some type of sacrifice on the part of the governed. They are instructed to give up another chunk of their income, part of their liberties, or a few of their ideas and personal beliefs, always for the common good and in the name of science.

    Examples of this phenomenon abound, from emissions taxes to fight global warming to today’s lockdowns to fight covid. And these are contemporary cases of policies that can conceivably make sense, at least to some. However, governments have used the “science defense” for a very long time to silence opposition and criticism and to force through legislation and policies that have been infinitely more absurd and even criminal.

    The same flawed idea, that science must be blindly followed wherever it might lead and whatever it may cost, has also been the driver behind countless atrocities and savageries. One doesn’t need to look in the chapters of extreme evil in human history or in modern dictatorial regimes to find that sort of thing. There are plenty of cases in “civilized” places too. Just a few decades ago in the US, but also in other enlightened western democracies, “following the science” led to multiple state-run experiments on unwitting citizens.

    Poor and desperate people, minorities, pregnant women and even children, were robbed of their humanity and treated like lab rats, as the government-backed “experts” of the day studied their suffering and took notes as they died.

    At the time, everyone in those circles agreed with each other and thus the “scientific consensus” within those groups was clear: Human life and dignity can and should be traded for “progress”, whatever that means to whomever happens to be in charge.

    Such obscenities and crimes against humanity are the direct result of a monomaniacal obsession with this vague and highly subjective notion of progress over all else. But they are also important reminders of the dangers of the perversion of science, either by single diseased minds that happen to occupy positions of power or, more often, by unfeeling and uncaring bureaucracies, fueled by a collective iron will, but lacking a conscience, that is the exclusive prerogative of the individual and can never emerge in the “hive mind”.

    Where it all starts to go wrong and at the core of this perversion of science lies a highly unscientific notion. This is the twisted and primitive concept of “settled science”. This idea runs entirely contrary to the very nature of scientific inquiry and should offend every literate person that understands and appreciates all the marvels that the scientific method has produced and the protections it affords us from fanatics, zealots and ideologues.

    Science, as it is understood and practiced by people who really seek truth and knowledge for its own sake, driven by Reason instead of passions, beliefs and biases, is by definition never settled. It can never be. Hypotheses are formed, compete with others, get tested and replicated until they become theories, but that status is anything but permanent or conclusive.

    Any theory can be dethroned by a single observed contradiction or failure of prediction, and then another hypothesis emerges from the free competition of ideas to take its place. It is a constant battle, a perpetual competition and every time a theory falls from grace we should all celebrate, for it brings us all an inch closer to the truth.

    Therefore, this twisted concept of “settled science” can only be propagated by the hopelessly ignorant or the pathologically deceitful. And it is the latter group that should concern us the most, as it is among their ranks that we often find those that can shape and dictate the policies that govern all aspects of our lives.

    The covid crisis presented many good examples of how far astray this toxic, backward notion can lead us. Myriads of inconsistencies between different state responses to the pandemic quickly emerged, revealing that the science stopped being so “settled” once you crossed national borders. Even within the same nation, mere hunches, assumptions and worst of all, “models”, were presented as irrefutable facts, only to be quietly and unceremoniously withdrawn a few days later with the actual, observable and measurable facts disproved them.

    As a result, we saw countless policy flip-flops that cost jobs, and often lives too. Those were far from “isolated incidents” in many nations, whose leaders and officials claimed to have science on their side – and not just any old science, but “settled” science, on an issue just as new and unstudied as its name suggests; the “novel” coronavirus.

    The arrogance on display can seem jarring to many, but for those of us who have been paying attention to monetary and fiscal policy for decades and who know the historical background, all this looks and sounds eerily familiar. After all, what field of research, what area of human knowledge has been more afflicted by hubris, pseudoscience and charlatanism than the “dismal science”?

    The field of economics has arguably been at the forefront of this crusade against the scientific method and against Reason. For centuries, witchdoctors in fine silks and suits have been put in charge of centrally planning all productive activities, trade and businesses, as though such a thing were possible, as though the intricate mechanisms of the living organism that is the economy are controllable and as though a single person can ever improve on the outcomes that billions reached through voluntary exchange and free competition.

    We’ve really seen “settled science” at work in this field. Any idea, no matter how ridiculous, can become sacred and dogmatic once enough “experts” espouse it. Politicians, the media, the academic establishment will ensure it will spread throughout the population, always asserted as fact, or the “only truth”, and as the result of science, which as we know we must all trust. Take for instance the consensus-supported, nearly universally accepted Keynesian axiom that says if you want a healthy economy, you should make sure nobody saves too much and whatever they make they just spend immediately.

    Not invest, mind you, just spend. And if that doesn’t work, or if they don’t have any money left to spend, then you should get them to borrow more or just give them some. So they can spend that too.

    Now, if you outlined this “theory” to a 10-year-old child, they’d recognize it as nonsense straight away. But if you say it to a college educated, newspaper-reading, well-meaning 50-year-old man, they’ll totally agree with it and with all the policies that are derived from it. If anything, they’ll probably complain the state doesn’t implement enough of them.

    To that man, the “science is settled” and what must be done is clear. And when it is done and it predictably fails, it wasn’t the theory that was at fault, it was our application of it. After all, “the science” can never be wrong, neither should it ever be questioned.

    The problem with not questioning and not calling out bad ideas, especially when they are obviously and egregiously bad, is that it all quickly snowballs. You look the other way, or you nod in agreement without actually thinking, because everyone else does, and you let one questionable, but harmless sounding, notion pass though.

    Next thing you know, it takes root, it grows and it spawns a dozen more unsound ideas, less harmless and much more confidently asserted. Before you realize, collective blindness develops, vested interests form and fanatical adherence to the new dogma emerges. And by that point, nobody can speak out and question anything, even if they wanted to.

    It was by not questioning that we got to absurdities like unbacked fiat money, then to negative interest rates and now to Modern Monetary Theory. It was by going with the flow, by not daring to point out that the emperor has no clothes. Most importantly, it was by allowing quacks, swindlers and fraudsters to hijack “science”, the greatest achievement of our species and the only way we know to understand the world and to peacefully better ourselves, and to appropriate the term to sell their snake oil.

    Claudio Grass, Hünenberg See, Switzerland

    principia-scientific.com/settled-science-the-rallying-cry-back-to-the-dark-ages/

    • José Bergher says:

      Excellent article by Claudio Grass.
      Very important:

      “(…) One doesn’t need to look in the chapters of extreme evil in human history or in modern dictatorial regimes to find that sort of thing. There are plenty of cases in “civilized” places too. Just a few decades ago in the US, but also in other enlightened western democracies, “following the science” led to multiple state-run experiments on unwitting citizens.
      Poor and desperate people, minorities, pregnant women and even children, were robbed of their humanity and treated like lab rats, as the government-backed “experts” of the day studied their suffering and took notes as they died. (…)”

      A propos of the above excerpt, I recommend Edwin Black’s “War Against the Weak,” and Harriet A. Washington’s “Medical Apartheid.”

    • Piano Man says:

      Quite a stretch to equate following scientifically-informed mask mandates and such with experiments done on unwilling subjects by scientists with cruel intent. I guess we should never trust the advice of our personal physician, because, you know, there were Nazi doctors doing experiments in concentration camps.

    • Hayne says:

      Excellent article. Too bad most musicians are too indolent to read it:(

  • Mecky Messer says:

    One wonders where Hannibal Lecter is up to these days….

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      Cute analogy. Every flutist knows that cinematic scenario & curiously, the orchestra was also Baltimore in the movie. But I’m sure Skala plays a flawless MNDream Scherzo so Lechter wouldn’t be too interested in her, I’m afraid. . .

  • Musician says:

    There are already 130 comments here, but I have to point out that, aside from believing in conspiracy theories, Emily Skala has posted at least one falsehood on her LinkedIn page. She claims to have worked with Mariss Jansons before being denied tenure with the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1988, but Jansons was never in Pittsburgh until he conducted a concert with Oslo there in the ’90’s. He guest conducted Pittsburgh Symphony in 1996, and became music director in 1997. Anyone in Pittsburgh is aware of the timing. My question for her is, why lie? Also, if she thinks it’s OK to lie about something that’s so obviously not true, what else is she lying about?

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      This is a really petty comment. Who are you to police her cv & how do you know the circumstances under which she might have played for Jansons? Maybe she came back & to Pittsburgh & subbed. Who knows. It’s inconsequential. Lying has nothing to do with this issue, anyway.

      My teacher was a respected solo player in a top 5 US orch for decades & along with an audition buddy, also very famous, put on their resumes that they’d played for Toscanini because they’d played along with one of his recordings.

      • World Class Bore says:

        Well, that’s dumb.
        I was with you until your last paragraph.

        • TuttiFlutie says:

          Yep. Well, it happens. My teacher had a great career, the audition buddy went on to be a world class conductor. They had to get into their 1st auditions somehow so they fibbed.

          Reflecting on Skala’s situation, I honestly don’t think she’d have included Jansons unless she’d actually worked with him. I seem to remember reading that she went back to sub for a concert in Pittsburgh.

          In context with the other conductors we know she’s played for, it wouldn’t be worth it. He’s not that big a deal in comparison.

          • Musician says:

            TuttiFlutie, I’m not “policing” her cv, I was simply curious as to how she would use her Pittsburgh “experience” on her bio. I would not have made my point if I were not on the inside, with knowledge of the circumstances of her departure from Pittsburgh.

            Somehow, she believes she didn’t get tenure in Pittsburgh because she’s not Jewish, but none of the subsequent hires who did get tenure were Jewish either. When I saw that she listed Jansons with Pittsburgh, it jumped out at me, because I was actually hired by him. There is no way she would have come back to Pittsburgh a decade after not getting tenure to sub under Jansons. I would have seen her.

      • Guest Principal says:

        In that case, I’ve subbed with the NY Phil and doubled the principal trumpet part many times, with the tacit agreement of Mehta (never got a phone call saying no).

      • Musician says:

        And, BTW, lying does have something to do with this issue, in that it’s further evidence that Emily Skala has a tenuous grasp on reality, and has for many years.

    • Emily Skala says:

      I performed with Mariss Jansons as a guest conductor while there. Not as MD.

  • section member says:

    I tried to find the comment (allegedly anti-semitic?) attributed to her, concerning the Principal Flutist of
    the Pittsburgh Symphony, when she played there, but was unable to see it.. don’t know where it appeared originally?

    That Principal Flutist, the late Bernard Goldberg, was a brilliant flutist, one of the last students of the legendary Georges Barrere, ( and BG was also a student of Marcel Moyse). Goldberg was a very sensitive artist, and an inspiring yet demanding teacher. He had very high standards, both from his students, and in his own playing.

    There were several fantastic flutists who played that Co-Principal Flute position before Ms. Skala, including Jeffrey Khaner, now Principal Flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Paul Fried, former Assistant Principal Flutist of the Boston Symphony. The standard set in that Co-Principal position was very high.

    I doubt the fact Goldberg was Jewish had ANYTHING to do with his opinion of her playing. He was committed to racial and gender equality his entire life.

    For what it’s worth, as of 7:00 pm EST (2.14) her personal FB page remained as reported here on this site, with both her posts and also her responses to comments to her posts visible. This included her Jan. 22nd post “apologizing” for anything she wrote that was offensive to the BSO and its donors.

    By 11:00 pm EST, her personal FB had been “scrubbed”, all posts of hers since Dec. 2019 have been removed.

    And the “In her own words” FB page has been removed, not sure date of that removal.

    • TuttiFlutie says:

      Hi, Section Member. Thanks for weighing in on this. She mentions BG in the her emails which have been copied & tweeted by Melissa Wimbish, here: https://twitter.com/melissawimbish/status/1360640758986997765/photo/2

      His name is whited out. All she says is that he had a student in mind for the job who couldn’t pass the 1st round, so everyone had to keep reauditioning.

      Once she won the job, Skala calls herself a “gentile” in a section of middle aged Jewish men & felt uncomfortable. This person Melissa Wimbish leading the ambush against Skala is specifically trying to promote that comment as anti-Semitic. I don’t actually see it that way.

      This comment was made in a private email to members of the orch’s Racial Diversity Zoom group after a meeting. It was not a public comment. Wimbish lifted it, copied it & has publicly posted it trying to discredit Skala.

      Skala’s point was that she, too, has faced and overcome discrimination. She elaborates also on the fact that she was the 1st female Principal in BSO’s history & the struggles that’s entailed.

      I felt that Skala was fair and logical in explaining that she, too, has had to overcome tremendous discrimination. Wimbish and her angry internet mob are mocking her for that, trying to portray her as some untouchable elite racist representative of the BSO. They want her head on a platter right now. They’re contacting the BSO, the press & just now I’m reading they’re going to the AFM because they don’t want the Union to protect Skala.

      These guys attacking her are young internet hoodlums. They don’t have a clue who she is or how the orchestra world works. Someone should stop them.

      • section member says:

        “Once she won the job, Skala calls herself a “gentile” in a section of middle aged Jewish men & felt uncomfortable.”

        Why did she feel ‘uncomfortable’?

        Her email reveals her disturbing focus on being around Jewish people (uncomfortable, to use your terminology) If BG didn’t like her flute performance, I’m certain it had NOTHING to do with her being “a gentile”. He only cared about musical excellence, not someone’s ethnicity, religion, etc.

        But she is focusing on his religion/background as a cause of her unhappiness in the PSO.
        Why even mention it, if it wasn’t HER bias?
        How was the religious background of her PSO colleagues relevant in any way???

        How many of her current BSO Jewish colleagues have been affected by her views, in their shared workspace?

        I think the Meyerhoff family and other prominent Baltimore Jewish patrons should be made aware of these disturbing sentiments, and meet with the BSO board to discuss this issue.

        • BruceB says:

          Section Member:

          As an often-fat person, I can say that I don’t tend to think of myself as being defined by that until some person/s around me start/s calling attention to it. If somebody makes a fat joke at your expense and everybody laughs and laughs, it can plant a seed in your mind that “they see me as a fat person, not just a person.” That can translate into every social situation, where you think everybody you meet everywhere is going to see you as that one thing. (An interesting thing happened when I lost a lot of weight one year; when I went back to my summer job, I was surprised at the number of people I knew who didn’t recognize me. If I wasn’t thinking about “what they see when they look at me” before, that certainly gave me reason to think about it.)

          I really don’t know Emily, but I would submit that it’s possible — possible— that she didn’t think much about her gender/ age/ religious status as defining her until other people started defining her that way. If people at your job make comments about those characteristics and then you don’t get tenure despite having proved over & over again that your playing was good enough, then you can start to wonder.

          Again: I don’t know if that’s what happened; I wasn’t there. And I don’t know her, so I couldn’t say what her views about Jewish people were going into that situation.

          And I’m certainly not trying to explain away any of the other way-out-there political views she expresses; just focusing on the one thing you focused on.

        • Emily Skala says:

          You have misunderstood me. I wasn’t uncomfortable in Pgh. I was really happy there! I wished I made Bernie happy. I had a great relationship with Marty and Ethan. They were wonderful mentors to me, very caring, or so it seemed. I’m saying the group of others may have been uncomfortable with me as I was the new variable. There were only two women in the wind, brass and percussion section. Three counting harp.

  • Rodrigo says:

    MELISSA WIMBISH. This is the person who is leading the campaign against Emily Skala. She is some kind of singer or performance artist in Baltimore who feels slighted by the Baltimore Symphony because of their lack of racial diversity. She is full of hatred and resentment and in looking for a victim, she has focused on Skala, who she feels personally represents the elitism and non-inclusion of the Symphony.

    Melissa Wimbish FB page: https://www.facebook.com/melissa.wimbish.1

    In reading Emily’s emails to participants of a BSO Racial Diversity Zoom Meeting (which Wimbish has publicly posted on Twitter), Emily shares her personal struggles trying to get into Conservatory and land a job against all odds. The point she’s making is that it wasn’t easy for her, either.

    It appears that BSO management dumped the issue of racial diversity directly onto the laps of orch members this past summer, making them personally responsible for solving it.

    Emily replies thoughtfully and carefully. She explains gently that she does not feel that it is her job to solve the racial disparity issues of the BSO and if she is actively expected to do so, she prefers not to participate in any further meetings. It’s a valid opinion.

    Melissa Wimbish was in on these meetings, or at least had access to the emails. Emily’s reaction was Wimbish’s battle cry. Wimbush has declared Skala to be the face of racism of the elite. Wimbish dug thru Emily’s social media, spoke with her colleagues, poked thru her past and culled together any information which could be used to accuse her of racism or elitism or anti-inclusion. Because of Skala’s mention of playing in an all Jewish section in Pittsburgh, Wimbish grabbed the anti-Semitic angle. Wimbish is the one who contacted BSO. She is leading a social media mob of hatred against Skala. It is harassment and it is truly frightening. I’m sure she is the one who created the fake FB page “Emily Skala in her Own Words”.

    Judge for yourselves. This is what Melissa Wimbish has posted on her personal twitter account about Emily. This are private emails which Skala wrote to the members of the BSO Racial Diversity Zoom meeting in July. I see honestly expressed opinions on the part of Skala which Wimbish has twisted into something they are not. https://twitter.com/melissawimbish/status/1360640758986997765/photo/1

    Melissa Wimbish is the problem here which Baltimore must deal with. She is an angry, vengeful young woman who feels excluded by the Baltimore Symphony and is aiming her frustration full on at Emily Skala. Emily doesn’t deserve this.

    • White Tears says:

      Trying to shoot the messenger?

      Rodrigo “doth protest too much, methinks”

    • MW says:

      Incorrect. I have sung at the BSO several times and do not feel slighted. Many colleagues I respect are in the orchestra or on staff. This is not a personal vendetta; I dislike racism and do not feel it should be tolerated. Ms. Skala works with children, sits on the audition committee at the BSO, and is a powerful member of the arts community because of her status. Be blessed.

      • Rodrigo says:

        Melissa, I respect your point of view, but this is not the way to go. Racism is endemic in orchestras across the US. In Detroit, for example the problem is far worse than Baltimore’s.

        Singling out one person in the Baltimore Symphony & trying to get them fired because you “dislike racism” & then stirring up a whole internet mob of your friends into a frenzy to back you up is not a good or even logical course of action. You’re doing yourself harm professionally.

        I have never met Emily Skala. But I know how orchestras work. It may appear to you that she is a “powerful person” but she is not. She is a flutist in an orchestra. She is not the music director, or the concertmaster, or a member of the board, or the personnel manager or a member of the orch. committee (as far as I know) or in administration. SHE PLAYS THE FLUTE. That is her job. I have served on many audition committees and I can tell you they also do not have a lot of power. There’s a union rep present and you follow the rules they give you exactly.

        If Emily Skala wants to play the flute and believe the earth is flat or invent Ashkenazi history or even be a racist, that’s her perogative. You cannot fire someone for their beliefs. She does her job and that’s the only thing you can hold her to.

        Trying to fire one person in the Baltimore Symphony because you think they are racist is not going to solve the underlying racism thruout all US orchestras. You are just creating hostility and conflict.

        You need to rein your followers in, Melissa. You’re like Trump at the insurrection. You’ve got this mob of people following your orders who are after blood and they’re just blindly attacking. They don’t even understand the situation. they just hear your dog whistle, “racism”. Attacking the Principal Flute in an orchestra and trying to get her fired to solve the issue of endemic racism in classical music is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

        Outsiders, commenters in this thread are having a hard time understanding what you’re attacking Skala for. Covid? Racism? Anti-semitism? Conspiracy Theories? Or do you just have a personal vendetta against her & it doesn’t really matter?

        And why on earth would you or they attack the author of this blog, a distinguished classical music journalist who doesn’t even live in the US, who has given you the only attention in the media you’ve had on this until today? Leave him out of it. He has not control over what comments people make here, any more than you can control the hostile and frightening remarks people make on your facebook page.

        Melissa, you ARE angry and you ARE vengeful and these actions against Emily Skala have all the earmarks of a personal vendetta. Everyone can see that from your social media posts. Let it go. It looks like you have your own beautiful talents & career. Concentrate on that. Celebrate your own wonderful life instead of trying to destroy someone else’s.

        • White Tears says:

          Oh look, she’s concerned for Melissa’s career. That’s sweet

        • anonymous comments are confusing says:

          Why would you assume MW has a mob of blind followers without feelings of their own? You ascribe a lot of power and control to this “some kind of singer.”

          “They don’t understand…”
          “It was a private email…”

          You haven’t taken responsibility for the fact that you made a lot of people angry and hurt.

          (Oh sorry, I mean: You haven’t acknowledged the fact that Emily made a lot of people angry and hurt.)

        • I'm black too, does that mean I have to be angry? says:

          Hang on, Hang on… How can you assume Emily makes so many people so angry only because she has “alternative views?”

          Don’t you think there might be more to it than that?

          I see that Melissa is black. Does that mean you automatically assume she’s angry for no reason?

        • Will says:

          As long as she is following management protocols when she is at work, I don’t give a damn what she thinks in her personal life about anything. This is a MASSIVE lawsuit in the making for the BSO. A good lawyer will request all of the posts by the rest of the orchestra and staff to see what conspiracies and attitudes they are beholden to. Watch out! I don’t think they really want to go down this path. The hypocrisy here is that artist are supposed to be the epitome of freedom of speech and expression both artistically and otherwise. Her job is to play the flute. Unless management has specifically laid out rules in Collective Bargaining Agreement they have no grounds whatsoever to fire anyone for what they believe, think or say outside the parameters work unless they are advocating actual violence. Where are the Liberal advocates for freedom and speech and artistic expression?

    • Wade Davis says:

      Since I know Melissa personally and you don’t, I’m going to tell you that your comment makes literally no sense.

      • Mr. Marsalis says:

        Wade, since you know Melissa personally – I can see on social media that your are one of her top supporters – maybe you can tell her that this smear campaign of ES in the name of racism is full of errors and misunderstandings and unbelievable assumptions on her part and it’s going to lead to big problems for her personally.

        Just look at the comment by “Will” above. He says this is a lawsuit in the making. Look at what another person, a Mr. Randolph, tried to tell her on her FB page – he called her “evil” and wants to lead a national campaign against HER.

        People are watching. This is NOT the way to achieve what she wants. No one can help her see the truth here, what she’s missing, because anyone who tries to point out a different view is attacked viciously by her or her followers. On her FB page, there are threats of physical violence, insults, threats to destroy the Baltimore Symphony and classical music and degrading comments to anyone who disagrees with Melissa. I was a huge supporter of the BLM movement until I encountered Melissa Wimbish. I am horrified by what I have seen in her social media.

        Melissa has surrounded herself with an echo chamber of followers and at this point, is so far off the truth with some of the nonsense she’s put into that “change.org” petition, no one can come close to helping her. She is literally on another planet with how she thinks an orchestra or the musicians union works and the responsibilities and power she ascribes to one particular flutist in the Baltimore Symphony. And all of you, friends of hers, are drinking the koolaid. You all believe what she is saying, even though she’s making much of it up.

        She is making a total ass of herself. No problem there, it’s a free world. But she is also publicly denegrating a woman old enough to be her mother, a professional who’s been at her job for decades. There is a special place in hell for women who sabotage other women professionally, no matter what their color.

        The press won’t run the racist and anti-semitic accusations Melissa wants because they do not objectively exist. News sources are not going to run Melissa Wimbish’s personal take on ES’s words. What a Princess.

        And complaining to the Musicians’ Union? Seriously? You do understand that the AFM (Musicians’ Union) is an affiliate of the AFL CIO, an organization which has its roots in blue collar labor unions – truckers, teamsters, etc. Think Jimmy Hoffa. These are tough old white guys who are going to laugh Princess Melissa and her troop of misinformed millenials out of their offices. Good luck with that.

        Just like the commenter Will said above, any lawyer will take a look at exactly what ES wrote and dismiss the whole thing. There is nothing to see. Nothing.

        The problem here is that Melissa Wimbish is seriously defaming someone with her misinterpretations, and slants and her efforts to read racism between the lines.

        Like Will, I also see this ending very badly. Could be a lawsuit, or it could be a lot of people so fed up with the garbage MW is spewing out against another woman online that no one will want to work with her. She’s a freelancer? Great, just call someone else. Everyone will be too terrified of being accused of being a racist to work with her.

        Melissa’s whole campaign is full of ridiculous conspiracy theories. Case in point: a lot of people are fed up with Wimbish. I happen to know the identity of the person who wrote against Melissa under the name Rodrigo above. I can assure you that Rodrigo is not ES and neither am I. But Melissa and her followers, determined to prove that the only person who could be defending ES would be ES herself, conjectured on FB some elaborate theory that because that last important solo ES played with the Baltimore Symphony was a work by the composer Rodrigo, that “Rodrigo” was actually ES writing under that name. I think that comment on Melissa’s FB page got 30 likes. ROTFL. So many people drinking her koolaid. She is just making **** up, trying to find racism and anti-semitism and connections where they do not exist and you guys are all signing on.

        I have been sitting back watching this unfold along with MANY other people and we are horrified. Most of us are in workplaces where we are working to overcome racism consciously. We value and respect the many gifted and successful musicians of color among us. I am a particular fan of the Sphinx Organization, which promotes Black and Latino classical talent. They are making incredible achievements. They don’t do it by attacking people already holding jobs as Melissa is doing.

        I suggest that if Melissa is serious about this issue, that she work from WITHIN the system. Contact the legendary Black classical musicians who have succeeded. Principal clarinet of NY Phil, Princ Flute of Seattle, Princ Bassoon of SF Opera and many many more. Ask THEM to weigh in on the Baltimore situation, how it can be improved. I am pretty sure they will all tell her to lay off the smear campaign. It’s infantile, it’s counterproductive and it’s hurting another woman professionally, in a field which has only barely started admitting women.

        Wade, Melissa is tilting at windmills. There is nothing in ES’s words which is remotely racist or anti-semitic enough for her to be fired or even disciplined. That’s the reality. Please tell her now before somehow slaps her with a big fat defamation lawsuit. If I were Emily, that’s sure as hell what I’d do right now.

        Peace out.

    • MW says:

      Lastly, I did not make a fake FB page. I don’t see the point.

    • White Tears says:

      Sounds to me like you’re after the messenger.

      Rodrigo ‘doth protest too much, methinks.’

    • Nix says:

      Well, what a despicable piece of gaslighting that was! So much hatred; so much bile; so little worth.

    • section member says:

      From Ms. Skala’s missive (from the FB link you provided):

      “I was a 24-yr old female gentile in a flute section of middle-to-old-age Jewish men. I even had to play a 4th private audition for Music Director Loren Maazel (also Jewish) to convince him I should be given tenure”
      Simply astounding to read, her self-description, in 2021.

      Why did the religion or ancestry of her immediate
      supervisor (Goldberg), section members, and Music Director, matter to her back then? Why was the fact she self-describes as a “gentile” important to her?Why is this still important, in 2021, to Ms. Skala? These are her own words, not Wimbish’s.

      And ageism: “middle-to-old-age-Jewish men”
      What’s her point, her colleagues were older?
      When you’re 24, isn’t almost everyone?

      And “old-age”? Shameful.

      If a MAN wrote that about her, seeing how she
      herself is “middle-aged”…. hmmm…

      • Emily Skala says:

        It was meant to describe ethnic, familial upbringing and male child entitlement practices, generational, religious, educational, societal practices and perceptual differences between our two groups.

  • Wade Davis says:

    This isn’t about Covid. This is about racism.

    • Violin Accordion says:

      Any micro smidgeon of Jewish discomfort is sniffed out and broadcast far and wide by ADL who ultimately deny the clear difference between anti Zionism and anti semitism and are a global leviathan, that probably have a special department for the sole purpose of investigation “suspect” orchestral principals in USA

    • Mr. Marsalis says:

      Wade, this is about Melissa Wimbish.

      This is what Melissa Wimbish wants to read into a series of leaked private emails which were not addressed to her. News sources won’t publish her accusations of racism or anti-semitism because there is nothing overtly racist or anti-semitic in those emails. Period. Melissa was looking for a soapbox to stand on, an issue to fuel her self-serving Messiah complex and this is it.

      She is playing herself as David against BSO’s Goliath with an eccentric middle aged flutist she’s envisioned to be some all powerful personage controlling the world of culture in Baltimore as her foil who must be taken down in the name of racism. What kind of fantasy land is she living in?

      Wade, musicians are out of work, orchestras are hobbled and folding right now due to covid. The once powerful MET orch and many others have just stopped paying their musicians. The few musicians who still have jobs are struggling to make themselves relevant. Yes, the Baltimore Symphony probably IS in danger of collapsing, the musicians are already in danger of losing their jobs and Melissa Wimbish is helping them right along.

      This is NOT the time to be going after the BSO or some random flutist she doesn’t like in the orchestra. This is not how you solve racism. But it is how you destroy culture.

      • Emily Skala says:

        Mr. Marsalis, I may be middle-aged, but I am not eccentric. Just because I think independently of the media, doesn’t mean I am strange. And my comments about my experience in Pittsburgh were about my own experiences of being discriminated against for being a woman in a man’s profession. It didn’t help that we were of starkly different religious and ethnic backgrounds, too. I don’t know Melissa Whimbish personally. Whatever slights she has experienced, she is projecting them onto me and the BSO, as best as I can make out. And what any of that has to do with my FB posts on the geopolitical events of the past year is beyond me, except that her boyfriend, Dolf Kämper, ex-husband of our 2nd flutist, misunderstood some information I shared from a documentary film I had seen. From there I speculated on some code language Hitler may have used in WWII. Use of code language is common in times of war, I told him.

        • Mr. Marsalis says:

          Emily, I am on your side. But the documentary you refer to is by a Dutch woman who is openly affiliated with Qanon. She’s a known conspiracy theorist. Just don’t go there on social media. You’re not going to convince anyone, trust me. You will just infuriate people.

          Believe what you want to, Emily. But you’re in a high profile position. You’ve got a great job, just do it. Stay away from politics and religion. That’s not our role as musicians. If you insist that it’s your right to post conspiracy theories, then you will lose people like me who support you.

          Melissa Wimbish is absolutely projecting onto you what she wants. Couldn’t agree more. She is defaming you and now, with your explanation that her boyfriend is the ex-husband of BSO’s 2nd flutist, it all makes sense. It’s a personal smear campaign.

          Just get a good lawyer and defend yourself. Take legal action against Melissa Wimbish an Dolf Kampar ASAP.

  • Impatient for justice says:

    Norman Lebrecht, how many comments are you going to block to support your bias? What kind of journalism is this?

    • I Wouldn't Want to Be in the Same Room with Her says:

      That is truly special. Anti-semitism, conspiracy theories, cytokine storms, etc. all in one post. All it needs is a tin foil hat… oh, wait.

  • Tom Roberts says:

    Ministry of truth: The regime of Iraq and Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, therefor we must start endless wars and bomb the living $h*t out suspect countries then roll out the Patriot Act.

    Also, the Ministry of Truth: The vaccines are not experimental, there was no NIH grant enabling gain-of-function research at UNC for corona virus’s variants some, and some or inpart research was off-shored; just as well, the Dutch (controlled study on mask usage is bunk) and there was no election fraud and certainly no need to audit paper ballots or any kind of transparancy.

  • J says:

    Seems like the energy behind the anti-Skala campaign has fizzled out.

  • JulieJ says:

    After reading through these comments over the past couple weeks and Melissa Wimbish’s facebook posts – I have to say, I don’t understand her mission of trying to essentially tear apart a 100 year old arts organization that is just trying to survive during Covid, like every one else.
    I also find an undertone that she is upset she isn’t performing with them much? I don’t know.

    That said, I found the posts/private emails – posted by Melissa to be “off the wall”, and sometimes a bit whiny, etc. and definitely NOT anti-racist. But now that they seem to have been taken down, and rumors of her being reprimanded – I think it’s time to all step back and understand where this all comes from?

    Finally, one thing I will say is that RODRIGO says “she plays the flute” – well, yes – but being hired by the BSO, all musicians are ambassadors of the BSO in the community. Also, everyone at the BSO needs to realize that they are the only ones that can save themselves. No outside organization or donor, or foundation, etc. should be relied on so heavily/dreamed up. The future is up to them – and every single person in the org (including the board) needs to take ownership as ambassadors. Starting with a set of values for the org that everyone has to sign, would be a good start. And these should be listed on the webpage, too.
    Seems to have been a learning moment for all at the BSO, too.

    • Hayne says:

      Values according to whom? One would think that would be easy enough but obviously not in this age of censorship.

      • JulieJ says:

        Values according to the organization as a whole in a brainstorming session; there are consulting firms that help with this kind of stuff. They need to do the work.

  • just read this compelling text in the Baltimore Sun and recall Emily Skala’s wonderful personality and performances with São Paulo State Symphony (Brazil) during one of our European tours…

    https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/readers-respond/bs-ed-rr-0327-skala-bso-reponse-20210326-swv4a7u7kvfmrfx7utkmdatn4y-story.html

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