Seattle Symphony Music Director and Musicians Release Wary Statements

Classic Arts News   Seattle Symphony Music Director and Musicians Release Wary Statements
Tensions between Seattle Symphony music director Gerard Schwarz and orchestra musicians — and recent news reports about those tensions — have prompted public statements from both parties, reports The Seattle Times.

The musicians, who have repeatedly, if anonymously, voiced their discontent with Schwarz to the press, had a chance to express their frustrations in a survey (results of which have not been released to the public) conducted on June 1. According to the newspaper, the survey report is critical of Schwarz, whose contract was recently renewed through the 2010-11 season. Musicians evidently felt their opinions were neglected during the renewal process.

Last week the musicians issued the following statement, as quoted in The Seattle Times:

"The Seattle Symphony and Opera Players' Organization is working with the Symphony management to resolve various issues relating to the survey recently administered by the musicians' Artistic Advisory Committee. At no point was the survey intended for public consumption. The musicians consider the results of the survey to be an internal matter.

"The members of the musicians' Artistic Advisory Committee are looking forward to resuming their efforts to improve communication between the musicians and the Symphony board of directors."

Meanwhile, on July 7 Schwarz released a statement of his own about the fracas, also quoted in The Seattle Times:

"For me, it is always about the work, the music. If anyone wants to misconstrue that, that is something I cannot control. People may try to prevent me from doing my job. I cannot prevent that. All I can do is do what is right for the music. My goals are never frivolous; they are always in sync with what is best for the music and its future. If conflict arises, I can only proceed, head held high, and move beyond it. It may get me down, but I can never let it get in my way."

In a statement released by the orchestra this afternoon, Seattle Symphony Acting Executive Director Mary Ann Champion stated, "Seattle Symphony is working hard to resolve past differences and to create an even stronger organization. We look forward to focusing our collective energies in continuing to bring great music to our community."

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