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Facebook protest prompts orchestral blackout
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 8, 2011 - 12:17 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

Facebook protest prompts orchestral blackout

A row over re-audition procedures at the Brazil Symphony Orchestra has prompted many local musicians and overseas colleagues to black out their facebook photos in protest.

The points at issue are laid out in a letter (below) from the former Chicago Symphony oboist Alex Klein to the music director, Roberto Minczuk. They are mostly internal and occupational, of no wider interest beyond the working conditions of musicians in Brazil - although some comments on my facebook page from musicians in other countries indicate levels of intense solidarity and condemnation of the re-auditioning process.

But the fact that the musicians are using facebook as their medium of protest gives the matter wider attention and ensures that the orchestra management cannot ride roughshod over the dissenters. It could signal a new phase in musical negotiation.

For blacked faces check, e.g., home pages of Juliana Bravim, Victor Astorga and more.

via Facebook protest prompts orchestral blackout - Slipped disc.

Read the Open letter to the Music Director of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, Roberto Minczuk.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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March 8, 2011 - 3:50 pm
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Would I want to attend a concert where most of the musicians are vehemently opposed to evaluation ?  I would really think twice about that.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 9, 2011 - 1:00 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

Maybe you don't realize how much politics plays in these things. As a concert visitor you probably are more concerned about the results and quality of the orchestra than internal politics right?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 9, 2011 - 7:39 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

Oliver said:

Would I want to attend a concert where most of the musicians are vehemently opposed to evaluation ?  I would really think twice about that.

Remember too that once almost every member has undergone a difficult specific audition competing with up to sometimes many hundreds of qualified competitors. When do they get job security.

Granted, when they begin to function poorly in the orchestra a group of colleagues can get involved and see what can be done with caution. The situation can be so sensitive at times. Very difficult to solve. But imagine the unfairness that happens when you re-audition a whole orchestra. Do you think that they will re-audition the concertmaster and principle cellist? How about the other principles? Will they be on the jury? How do they already feel about their colleagues? 

I've been on the jury of so many auditions that I can tell you they are not always fair and the opinion of so many "pros" differ tremendously. Don't want to say which orchestra but once the first concertmaster gave a violinist a 9 when the alternate concertmaster gave the same guy a 1. I guess their was something about this violinist that really irritated the alternate concertmaster. Could have been that he vibrated to wildly, played out of style for Mozart, or another reason that did not mean that he can't possible suit the orchestra. But that really showed me something.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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March 9, 2011 - 8:49 am
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What prompts a call for re-audition ?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 9, 2011 - 9:19 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

I guess that, Oliver, is the real question. It would probably shed light on the whole situation. Believe it or not though, sometimes politics. A new head conductor gets the job and wants to bring in their own (musicians) friends. This actually does happen. I've witnessed it.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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lenasv.
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March 9, 2011 - 1:11 pm
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Hmm...I think the attitude in amateur orchestras must be quite different. I know myself, when I were playing in my old orchestra, I were wishing for the complete orchestra just to be re-auditioned.  Maybe this is, because the amateur world is quite less fair than the professional since there are no real bosses, and no real employees. Once somebody is stuck on a leading position, even if those that are far better from all aspects appear in the same division, those stuck in leading position will keep sitting there...and if they feel "threatened" about their position (some, not all) they will be even nastier to those they lead. I think, also typically Swedish, is that people never complain loudly. Things go wrong, but nobody ever does anything about it. And if its just an amateur orchestra and you dont like something, you just can leave?

I think a complete re-auditioning would sort out a lot of unfairnesses. On the other hand, I would say that re-auditioning must be the most desperate solution...

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Oliver
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March 9, 2011 - 1:36 pm
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For my education.  Are there effective musician unions ?

When I was younger I remember that the local musicians unions were very powerful.  They even had a local hall and nobody played a wedding without the right credentials.  Of course, I do not know about the situation in larger orchestras today (?)

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 10, 2011 - 11:08 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11694

@ Lena - I agree 100% regarding amateur orchestras and those in leading positions feeling threatened by the good musicians, holding on to their positions real hard. Nasty behavior towards those they feel threatened by is the same in all orchestras. Insecurity is usually the reason and musicians can be very insecure taking everything personallyFrown

 

@ Oliver - Some unions are exactly as strong as you remember from your younger days. Others are very weak. Unfortunately with the hard economical times, we have problems that force the better musicians to accept situations that they didn't have to accept before or not work. If they choose not to play they may have to find another source of income. I am shocked by what musicians have to put up with here in South Florida both compared to the european orchestras that I have been playing with and the situation as it was when I left Florida 22 years ago. Surprisingly, most musicians choose not to be a part of the local union too. The best orchestra in this area folded about 8 years ago without warning. Many of my best friends were suddenly without work.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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fiddlefaddle
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March 11, 2011 - 10:13 pm
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It seems to me like it would be a drag. I don't work with the fiddle but if I had to re-audition I think I would freak. Feel sorry for that orchestra. On the other hand maybe they are having problems with some musicians. Forming a strong bond or a union would probably be very beneficial for them right now. Wonder if they have one.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
March 13, 2011 - 11:46 pm
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I haven't seen any recent news about it but will try to find out and post it on Fiddlermans NEWS link.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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March 15, 2011 - 9:23 am
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Just a little detour here.  What is the status of DJ's and unions ( or even without unions ) ?
I don't think that a DJ brings nearly as much class to a function as a live group does but I can understand that cost may come into play.  My big complaint about DJ's I have heard is that they seem to want  to deliver max performance by cranking up their 100 watt amps and rattling my silverware.  And, of course, I can not hear the person sitting next to me.  No thanks !

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
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March 15, 2011 - 3:45 pm
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I have no idea and I am the vice-president of our local 655 union.
I looked at our members page and did not see any DJ's. Maybe we can pick up a few new members 🙂 I think that part of the problem with recruiting DJ's is that they work on their own. They don't do much in groups as far as I know.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
May 12, 2011 - 7:43 am
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Members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra will present a protest to the embattled Brazilian conductor, Roberto Minczuk, who has sacked half his orchestra. They will not, however, jeopardise his concert.

READ MORE

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Oliver
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May 12, 2011 - 1:09 pm
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I find the LIVERPOOL link and comments at the end of the article to be very interesting. 

Is the media creating a spin here for the sake of added reader attention ?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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