Pinchas Zukerman Says There Are 'Rotten Apples' At NAC Orchestra

Classic Arts News   Pinchas Zukerman Says There Are 'Rotten Apples' At NAC Orchestra
Conductor and violinist Pinchas Zukerman, who surprised the classical music world recently when he took a six-month sabbatical from his conducting duties at the National Arts Centre Orchestra, criticized unnamed colleagues there in an interview with the Orange County Register this week.

"In every orchestra, in every institution that has climbed to prominence quickly there's always going to be a few rotten apples," he said. "And they have created an atmosphere that has to be eradicated, quite frankly."

Zukerman made it clear that the sabbatical was not merely a chance for him to "re-energize," as the Ottawa-based orchestra had said in announcing the sabbatical last month. The break, he told the Register, would give "everybody [at the orchestra] a chance to speak and discuss and become a different organization I hope in time."

Zukerman's comments prompted anger at the NACO, according to an article published in the Toronto Globe and Mail today. Michael Namer, the secretary of the musicians' union, said the remarks were "a polemic that is absolutely counterproductive." Jayne Watson, the orchestra's communications director, said they were "intemperate" and added, "For the record, there are no rotten apples at the NACO."

But managing director Christopher Deacon defended Zukerman, saying that the music director was "frustrated," and "caught off guard" by the Register's questions.

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