Internal Barbican politics caused conductor to be sackedNews
London musicians and academics are being urged to sign a protest to Jonathan Vaughan, interim head of the Barbican’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, over the dismissal of Peter Ash as conductor of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra.
Among other things, the orgganisers of the petition assert:
‘As you will know, Peter Ash’s contract was terminated abruptly last week. Information has come to light that suggests he has become an unwitting casualty of the internal politics of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Furthermore, we have received unconfirmed reports of financial difficulties that suggest that the LSSO’s funds have not been suitably ring-fenced within the Guildhall.’
Vaughan, the Guildhall and the Barbican have failed to respond to requests for clarification of Peter Ash’s abrupt dismissal.
The letter in full reads:
This open letter is written on behalf of many of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO)’s alumni, staff, current members and parents past and present.
The abrupt termination of the contract of Peter Ash, the LSSO’s Artistic Director for over 20 years, as reported by Norman Lebrecht in slippeddisc.com on 28th October 2021, has rightly caused alarm and upset amongst the LSSO’s large and supportive community. No explanation has yet been given. This is the LSSO’s 70th anniversary year, and Peter Ash’s 20th as Artistic Director, during which time many thousands of children have benefited from the musical, cultural and social enrichment that comes with being a member of the orchestra. Peter’s contribution, covering a period amounting to nearly 30% of the orchestra’s entire history, has been immense. It appears to us as members of the LSSO’s community that Peter is an unwitting casualty of the internal politics of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Related to this, we have heard unconfirmed reports that the LSSO may be in financial difficulties. If true, that comes as a great shock to us, as we are aware that the orchestra has over the years received generous donations from many parents and friends of the orchestra to support its activities. We would have expected this money to have been ring-fenced for the benefit of the LSSO. We believe that a detailed explanation of the LSSO’s finances is now urgently required.
The signatories of this letter wish it to be known publicly that Peter has our full support and that, under your leadership, GSMD appears to have scored a spectacular own goal by pushing the LSSO’s greatest asset out of his job, an action which we find incomprehensible and profoundly unsatisfactory.
Members of the LSSO community