Help sacked MPO players to fight their case at court!

A Malaysian court has tweaked the law to deny basic rights to seven foreign players who were summarily dismissed by the Malaysian Philharmonic, as reported earlier. The orchestra remains under an international musicians boycott.

This appeal comes from one of the disenfranchised seven. Please support this appeal if you can and forward this message.

“I am one of the seven musicians fired three years ago by the Malaysian Philharmonic. After an interminably long wait, the judge has finally delivered her verdict: despite our many years of dedicated work with the orchestra, including long service bonuses and contractual retirement clauses, and despite our unblemished employment records, we were all in fact fixed-term, temporary employees, and had no right to expect continued employment. She decided that the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra had every right to terminate our employment at the end of our current contracts, without giving any notice or reason.

From all the legal advice we have since received, and the case readings we have done, this decision goes completely against the Malaysian Industrial Relations Act, and against just about every precedent that has been set by previous cases. If allowed to stand unchallenged, it will affect every current and future employee of the Malaysian Philharmonic, and seems to give Malaysian employers the right to terminate any employee at will as long as they have implied their “intention” to use a fixed-term contract. Up until this case, under Malaysian law, the burden of proof was always on the employer to establish that the recourse to the fixed-term engagement of the workers was genuinely related to their establishment or undertaking. That appears to be the case no longer.

We believe that an injustice has been done, and are determined to exhaust all of our options to make it right. The legal fees involved are substantial, however, and all of us have had our future earning potential severely affected by our dismissals. To that end, we have established a fundraising campaign to help our supporters contribute, and would like to invite your readers to participate.

Donations can be made anonymously, and we pledge to be completely transparent with the use of those funds, and with our progress. Everything we receive will go to our legal fund, and at the end of the case, if we win a monetary award, we will either return your donation to you in full (if you wish), or make a lump sum donation of the full amount collected to a worthy youth orchestra.”

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OSB – artists boycott against Roberto Minczuk begins to bite

How long will conductor Roberto Minczuk and the management of the OSB (Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira) keep themselves aboard? More punches for conductor Minczuk and OSB management who dismissed some forty musicians in a drastic und unfair selection procedure in March 2011: At first Nelson Freire, Cristina Ortiz… and now Joshua Bell, who has cancelled his gigs with the orchestra recently. Famous Brazilan composer Marlos Nobre has forbidden „New OSB“ to perform his works, even the piece which should have been performed by the orchestra on August 11.

Will famous conductor Kurt Masur really conduct the scheduled Beethoven symphony series in early August? Who will be the musicians performing on stage? And will they be able to reach the highest artistic  standards of Maestro Masur as a fragmented orchestra?

The poor attempt of OSB management to recruit new musicians on auditons in London and New York failed. Some young musicians attended the auditons. Observers reported that most candidates were only looking for audition expieriences but not for a job in Rio. Another point: Labour Ministery of Brazil will not give any working permits for foreign musicians to substitute musicians from Brazil.  Now Roberto Minczuk and his assistant are desparately trying to engage new musicians from other Brazilian orchestras. It is said that salaries up to 9.000 USD and contracts for 17 months are offered to musicians who would change to the „New OSB“. No questions on artistic quality… This is really a bizar situation, caused by a conductor and an orchestra management who seem to be on a „highway to hell“. A shame for professional orchestra management at all.

Hopefully the Minister of Culture and the prosecutors will finish this chaos as soon as possible and catch the real culprits. From the legal point of view: The crazy waste of public money has to be punished.

Conductor Minczuk under worldwide boycott?

Robert Minczuk, Music Director of the OSB (Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira), may be under boycott from professional orchestras worldwide.

The scandal about sacking some 40 musicians of the OSB by Minczuk because they refused to take part in a re-audition is a unique one in orchestra history. Professional musicians, conductors, composers and soloists around the world have protested against  this malpractice. Due to local protests the concert in Rio on 9th of April 2011 had to be cancelled after some 20 minutes of boos against Minczuk whilst orchestra members left the stage. This youtube video has been posted within the orchestral community around the world.

There won‘t be many professional orchestras left on the world who will play under the baton of Minczuk in future. Even other blog comments show that Minczuks career is under threat.  Some engagements with foreign orchestras have already been cancelled.

This scandal is another example that change management and artistic development in an orchestra needs a intensive dialogue between conductor, management and musicians, but no pink slips.