CITES | CoP17 hears the requests of the music community

Alfonso Pollard & Thomas Dayan attending CITES CoP17

Known by its acronym CITES, the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of animals and wild plants does not jeopardise the survival of the species in question.

The 17th conference of parties to CITES (CoP17) was held in Johannesburg from 24 September to 5 October 2016, to adopt the orientations seen as necessary to ensure efficient implementation of the convention’s aims. Over 2,500 people representing party states and NGOs in the private sector and associations met for the occasion in South Africa’s economic capital.
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ALERT! Help saving the orchestra of the Flemish Opera!

Flemish Opera Orchestra

The highly esteemed and much appreciated Opera and Ballet Orchestra in Flanders is being threatened to shutdown soon. Such closure would result in a major part of Flemish culture being seriously eroded if not completely eradicated.

How is this possible? It is a direct consequence of political machinations. An external report was ordered by the Flemish Minister of Culture, Sven Gatz. The report was eventually compiled by one, Koen Vandyck.

This damaging report seems to imply the absorption of the Flemish Opera Orchestra into the Philharmonic Orchestra in Antwerp.
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Israel | Crisis at Rishon LeZion Symphony: agreement reached

Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

The management of the LeZion Symphony Orchestra and the Israeli Musicians Union (IMU) have reached an agreement, thus putting an end to the financial crisis (see our article here).

According to this 1-year agreement, the musicians’ premiums for overtime will be reduced by 4% until the end of 2016, as a contribution to the reduction of the deficit.

In the meantime, the salary of the orchestra’s General Manager will be reduced by 15% in 2016. Maestro James Judd, has accepted to waive his salary as Musical Director during the same period.
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Uruguay | International support for the SODRE Symphony Orchestra


The SODRE Symphony Orchestra is Uruguay’s national orchestra. Founded in 1931, it is Latin America’s oldest orchestra. A bastion of national culture, it has also become an essential benchmark for the whole of the Latin American region. It has been directed by celebrities such as Erich Kleiber, Ottorino Respighi or Igor Stravinsky, to mention just the most iconic.

Unfortunately, political leaders have set out on a path to gradually eliminate permanent positions in favour of precarious ones with short-term contracts. Currently, the orchestra has only 52 positions left for stable jobs, 47 positions being covered by precarious ones.
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Financial crisis at the Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra

The IMU (Israeli Musicians’ Union) is deeply involved in the ongoing negotiations between the Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra’s management and the 80 musicians who are employed under a collective agreement and represented by the Union. The orchestra carries a heavy deficit and as government and city support, though not curtailed, are not going to grow, the management has put on the table a drastic cut in the planned 2016 budget.

The musicians are asked to agree to a 10% cut in their salaries.
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Petition to support the National Orchestra of Belgium

Orchestre National de Belgique

“As the result of politics, our National Orchestra is threatened with extinction in the near future. In fact, a scheme from Minister Reynders cabinet aims at the absorption of the National Orchestra of Belgium by the Royal Opera Theatre “La Monnaie” to strengthen its programming.

We feel however, that backed by a long tradition of nearly eighty years, the NOB fulfils its cultural mission very well, both by the seventy-some concerts it performs each year and by its cultural radiance abroad as a much appreciated guest orchestra on the international scene.
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France | The report of the Court of Auditors on the orchestras of Radio-France or the Unfinished Symphony

A section president of the Court of Auditors received an admission ticket as a present for a performance of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony at the Maison de Radio-France. As he was unable to go, he gave the invitation to his rapporteur. The sole condition was that he prepare a memo on the quality of the concert.

The following morning, the president found the rapporteur’s memo on his desk.
1. As the four trombone players are inactive for part of the time, their numbers need to be reduced and their work better distributed throughout the symphony, so as to eliminate phases of inactivity.

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Malaysia | MPO in Kuala Lumpur recruits on precarious contracts


The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra continues to offer precarious contracts, whilst a verdict is still awaited from the Industrial Relations Court about the wrong dismissal of 9 musicians in 2012 (including the chair, the co-chair and the previous chair of the Musicians’ Orchestra Committee, the concertmaster and a few other key leadership musicians).

These dismissals occurred unexpectedly after a new management was suddenly dropped in, with an obvious intention to intimidate the other 75 into accepting cuts in contracts without any sort of negotiations.
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