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Latest defections in Brazil

Two members of the youth orchestra who are supposed to be replacing the OSB have announced that they will not play in it again. I publish below a moving letter from Luiz Felipe Ferreira in English and Portuguese.

In other developments, John Neschling, former chief conductor of the Sao Poalo orchestra is highly critical of the OSB actions here. He calls the process ‘truculent, socially unjust and arbitrary.’ 

There has also been a highly critical article from conductor Isaac Karabtchevsky.
Here’s Luiz’s letter:
    • Farewell OSB Youth Orchestra

      Today I left the OSB Youth Orchestra, because I disagree with all of the things that are going wrong within the Foundation. I am leaving because the dignity of a musician has to be worth more than 1000 reais or any false promises which we make. The OSB Youth Orchestra has always had the potential to be…incredible, incredibly talented young people who have made the orchestra sound like a great orchestra, mature and experienced. But this potential has never been explored correctly, we have always been seen as objects to cater to the whims of conductors or directors.

      We have often been introduced as “the cream of young musicians” and soon after we were replaced by “monitors”. Is it really possible that in order to have this “cream” the merits and creation of these students were worthy of the monitors, or could it be that the credit really belongs to the various competent teachers who have refined these young musicians? Teachers who were ridiculed publicly in interviews with this Artistic Director.

      The last words I heard before I packed my bags and left the orchestra was “I’d like to see your teacher take a part of his salary and support you”. I don’t think I need to dignify that with a comment, the quote speaks for itself, no? 

      I have witnessed and felt within my skin the disdain of a conductor, I’ve seen friends suffering, I’ve seen competent people humiliated in front of the orchestra, I’ve seen people submitted to psychological pressure minutes before appearing as a soloist with the orchestra, I’ve seen the money of our stipends discounted for obscure reasons…to be honest…i haven’t actually seen it…because it was never explained to us where this money went. People who were sick and delivered a physicians’ release were docked, people who went to witness the birth of their children were docked…these are just a few examples which express exactly what kind of grotesque apprenticeship we were subjected to. 

      Recently, we have had to divide the stage with various “monitors” (people who submitted to the professional evaluations), we had to witness the charged atmosphere between them, each one speaking badly about the others…is this really the supposedly educational project which is sold to audiences and sponsors? Is this the real OSB Youth Orchestra that is announced in the program? An orchestra in which during every rehearsal more and more monitors are inserted to mask and disguise itself as an orchestra that no longer exists?

      It is very sad to leave an orchestra where I have made friends, where I dedicated myself, had fun, laughed and lived intensely, but that orchestra has died, it doesnt exist any more, and to my friends who are there, each with their own reasons and convictions, I can only leave a message from my heart: Music is life, it is love and feelings. If you don’t perform thinking of this maybe it is because you are no longer being musicians! 

      I hope the musicians are treated with respect, because in spite of appearing ironic in these circumstances, one of the phrases that has stayed with me throughout my time in the OSB Youth Orchestra is “the baton makes no sound”. So…
      take the hint! Best Wishes, Luiz Felipe Ferreira

      Adeus OSB Jovem.
      by Luiz Felipe Ferreira on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 1:47am

      Hoje eu me desliguei da OSB Jovem, por discordar de todas as coisas erradas que ocorrem na fundação. Saí porque a dignidade de um músico tem que valer mais que
      mil reais ou que qualquer falsa promessa que nos façam.

      A Jovem sempre teve um potencial incrível, jovens talentosíssimos que faziam muita das vezes a orquestra soar como se fosse grande, madura e experiente. Mas esse potencial nunca foi realmente explorado da maneira correta, sempre fomos vistos como objetos para suprir vontades de maestro ou diretores. Várias vezes fomos apresentados como “a nata dos jovens instrumentistas” e logo em seguida eram dados os méritos aos monitores. Será mesmo que para se ter a tal “nata” o mérito e construção desses alunos eram dignos dos monitores ou seria de diversos professores competentes que durante anos lapidaram esses jovens?Professores esses que foram ridicularizados em entrevista pelo tal diretor artístico. A última frase que eu ouvi antes de pegar minhas coisas e sair da orquestra foi “quero ver seu professor pegar parte do salário dele e te sustentar.”. Acho que eu nem preciso comentar nada sobre isso né, a frase se desmerece por si só!

      Eu vivi na pele a antipatia de um maestro, vi amigos sofrerem, vi gente competente ser desmerecida na frente da orquestra, vi gente sofrer pressão psicológica minutos antes de solar com a orquestra, vi o dinheiro de nossas bolsas ser descontado por motivos obscuros..alias..vi não..porque nunca nos foi esclarecido para onde esse dinheiro ia.Gente que ficou doente e apresentou atestado foi descontado,gente q teve ônibus queimado na rua de casa na época da guerra no rio de janeiro foi descontado,gente q foi ver o filho nascer foi descontado…isso eram apenas algumas coisas que expressavam exatamente o aprendizado grotesco que tínhamos la.Recentemente,tivemos que dividir espaço na orquestra para diversos monitores(pessoas que se submeteram as avaliações da profissional),tivemos que presenciar o clima pesado entre eles mesmos,um querendo desmerecer o outro..será que esse é realmente o tal projeto educacional que é divulgado para a platéia e pros patrocinadores?Será mesmo que essa é a OSB Jovem anunciada no programa?Uma orquestra onde a cada ensaio q se passa são enxertados mais e mais monitores para mascarar e se disfarçar de uma orquestra que não existe mais?

      É triste deixar uma orquestra onde fiz amigos, onde me dediquei,me diverti,ri e vivi intensamente, mas essa orquestra morreu, não existe mais, e aos meus amigos que la estão,cada um com seu motivo e suas convicções,apenas deixo o recado de coração: Música é vida,é amor ehttp://www.facebook.com/l/038a9RMztiwQKPOwbZkkDUSmoEQ/sentimento.Se vocês não tocam pensando nisso é porque talvez nem músicos mais vocês estejam sendo!

      Espero que os músicos sejam tratados com respeito, porque apesar de parecer irônico, uma das frases que eu ouvi ao longo desse tempo na OSB Jovem que me marcou foi “Batuta não sai som”. Então..fica a dica!

      Abraços

      Luiz Felipe Ferreira

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this latest on the OSB situation. I am especially moved by young Mr. Ferreira’s letter. Despite leaving under circumstances that might discourage even far more experienced musicians, he shows great dedication, decency, and dignity, some qualities that seem to be very lacking in certain adults involved in this situation. I think that Luiz Felipe Ferreira may be a young person worth watching. With that kind of heart and intelligence, who knows…maybe he could develop into the kind of music director they really need!

  2. CARLOS PINHEIRO JR. says:

    I’m OK with the criticism against OSB’s management etc, but the notoriously insufferable John Neschling speaking of a “truculent and arbitrary process” is like having Glenn Beck criticize Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh for their prejudice and right-wingedness…

  3. Vince Osmond says:

    Luiz,
    Welcome to the real world. Even in the unionized orchestras of North America, this behavior is the norm (if you can ever break in) – and people are jaded everywhere you look.
    If you have a problem with it, find a different vocation. Yes, music is life and love, but you still have to put up with all the sad, disillusioned husks (all of which have tenure) that litter the orchestras, and say otherwise.

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