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Breaking: Denmark boycotts Brazil crisis conductor

News is just in that the Odense Symphony Orchestra in Denmark has refused to work with Roberto Minczuk, who has sacked half of the Brazil Symphony Orchestra and is scouring the world for replacements. The Odense action, backed by the country’s musicians union, represents further isolation for Minczuk and the rump of his orchestra.

Here are the documents:

To Mr Roberto Minczuk:

Dear Sir

Today the musicians of Odense Symphony Orchestra have issued this statement to the press.

The Danish Musicians Union supports this statement and we urge you to go back to Brazil and
Solve the problems you have with the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra through negotiations with
The musicians and their representatives!

Until then – unfortunately – you will not be welcomed in Denmark.

Steen Jørgensen
The Danish Musicians Union

 

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Comments

  1. I do most honestly not like the phrase: “You will not be welcomed in Denmark”. It is not very civilised to say such a thing. I am Danish and Senhor Minczuk is more than welcome to visit our country and give a masterclass here for our talented students.

    Best regards,

    Christian Kliber & Copenhagen Piano School

    • Per Sorensen says:

      Thanks Christian for your posting, I really agree with you, we danish are a civilized people and we are welcoming Mr. Minczuk to our wonderful country, by the way, this is not his first time here, so he is familiar to the danish people.

  2. MusikAnT says:

    Thank you for your very sober and thoughtful reply.

    Usually, the only reader posts I see on Slipped Disc regarding Mr. Minczuk are from very biased sources who resort to personal attacks and infantile histrionics. It was refreshing to read this and not some hysterical reply likening Minczuk to Hosni Mubarak, Saddam Hussein, or Mohammar Qaddafi. When you read such things, it’s hard not to laugh, but also to not feel sorry for the poor soul ranting so disturbingly.

    Everyone should have their say and voice their opinion–of that there is no question. But to commit slander, throw a tantrum, and generally behave like a troglodyte does nobody’s cause any good.

    Given Minczuk’s ethnic background, I’m surprised nobody has yet compared him to Wojciech Jaruzelski.

    By the way, it would be nice to get a balanced perspective here and have Minczuk’s and the OSB’s perspective discussed. Where is the harm in presenting their point-of-view to the readers of this blog? A cursory search online reveals this issue to be much more nuanced than the one-sided perspective on display here.

    • crooklyn says:

      This reminds me of what happened in Detroit with GM. GM continued to make low-quality cars, just to maintain the status quo of appeasing the labor union. The problem is, the labor union was so powerful and unified, that they were able to muscle a large corporation into building low quality products and eventually bankrupt the entire company. Additionally, these union members productivity levels were low and they constantly pushed for yearly raises. Union and labor absolutism is counter productive. If the product sucks, then you have to figure out a way to make it better. There is probably a middle ground here in these negotiations.

      Nevertheless, I am sure that many of these musicians are not up to par. Union absolutism or unchecked power creates lethargy and complacency. Having a fire lit to your ass to step up and produce at a higher level is a necessary evil that keeps the world moving: Darwin

  3. It´s not a question of unbalanced perspective here… The facts are not balanced, the musicians, the most respected ones in Brazil, are unemployed and without getting ANY of their labour´s right … So, the perspective can never be balanced enough… Period.

    • MusikAnT says:

      I think you missed this part…

      “A cursory search online reveals this issue to be much more nuanced than the one-sided perspective on display here.”

      That you support the musicians that opposed the auditions is understandable. But yours is not the only point-of-view. Just because you claim something is so doesn’t necessarily make it so. Facts and perspective from the other side are needed to make an informed opinion–period.

  4. Ademir dos Anjos says:

    Okay, Christian Kliber says Minczuk is welcomed in Denmark to give masterclasses and I couldn’t agree more with that. In fact I would suggest that he stays there for a while. It will be a big a relief for brazilian musicians and students.
    And now, for Mr. MuzikAnT… I do not think that the people that post unfavorable comments here about Minczuk are accustomed to be called troglodites or accused to commit slander, although it has been the same kind of accusations of FOSB managers. Are you sure you is not linked to them? I ask so because, if it will be the case, your comments will immediatly fall in the gaveta of biased perspective…
    And, just for the record, the majority of brazilian musicians that have the infelicity of work under Minczuk’s batton have a very biased posture.

  5. MusikAnT says:

    Considering that I live in Los Angeles and have lived here my entire life, I can honestly say I have no link whatsoever to the OSB. Would be quite a commute to get from here to Rio de Janeiro, to say the least.

    As for your comment, it’s exactly this kind of paranoia and ad hominem attack which I was referring to in my earlier post. I don’t disagree with your right to disagree on Minczuk. But what I don’t understand is the high-handedness of the anti-Minczuk crowd, who feel that their view–and theirs alone–is the only truth. There are two sides to every story. Because someone happens to dissent with your view and the way it’s expressed does not somehow mean than they are in the employ or in the proverbial pocket of your opponent.

    Also…

    “And, just for the record, the majority of brazilian [sic] musicians that have the infelicity of work under Minczuk’s batton have a very biased posture.”

    Thank you for proving my point. I should also add that Minczuk’s Canadians seem to be doing just ducky under this “tyrant’s” direction

  6. From Rio says:

    I would like to write a few lines here as I was one of the musicians that decided to go ahead and be auditioned by the FBSO (The foundation that I work for). The letter posted here, which is a bit strange, no logo, no address, phone number nothing that proves that came from a reliable Danish institution. Looks like a counterfeit letter, a bogus notification just to create some turmoil.

    I am pretty sure some off my ex-colleagues are behind this as they opposed the auditioning process since the beginning. Well, we should make clear that not the entire orchestra agreed with the union and went ahead with the evaluation.
    The FBSO gave so many opportunities and alternatives to all musicians; the first one was to offer a voluntary resignation program, something that some of the older musicians agreed, get all your rights paid, vacation, bonus for the years you have worked for the orchestra, health care package program and so on.
    Those that did not want to be part of the process had this option but, making clear that if you decided to take the evaluation you will not be dismissed, yes, NOT BE DISMISSED. I really do not understand why the fear and the opposition, what I know is that many now regret that they did not take part of the process.
    Continuing, all the time, yes, all times the conductor was open for a dialog ( I talked to him many many times) but again, all proposals and offers were 100% rejected by a group of musicians, not the whole orchestra.
    The union then decided to be more aggressive and opened a lawsuit against the foundation, they terrible lost the case. You can find more details about this law suit at the http://www.osnempauta.com.br
    Following the next weeks in April 2011 FBSO continued with some more alternatives and options, again, fully rejected by the union and their members, in this case those that disagreed with the process. The FBSO again set a new package of offers and warned, this is the last one once we have a deadline to follow and if you disagree this will be considered as a breach of contract you might lose your jobs and that’s what happened.
    The local union of Rio de Janeiro mislead (they will never admit that, of course) a group of about 35 musicians, the union did not want to open any negotiations with the foundation, their employer and with the conductor itself.
    It is what it is now, they lost their jobs due to their own decisions, now, blame the conductor saying that he was not open for any negotiation is ridiculous and pathetic and does not make any sense, they simple refused to work as musicians. Musicians are paid to play, to perform their instruments, once they refused to do that this was considered as breach of contract.

    You see that the Danish musicians will work with Minczuk because there is a contract, if they refuse might be some issues for them in the moral and ethic sphere.

    My colleagues in Rio did not worried about that, they simple refused everything and now this is the consequence, now get it over, life goes on, you lost the train at this time.

    From Rio.

  7. crooklyn says:

    This reminds me of what happened in Detroit with GM. GM continued to make low-quality cars, just to maintain the status quo of appeasing the labor union. The problem is, the labor union was so powerful and unified, that they were able to muscle a large corporation into building low quality products and eventually bankrupt the entire company. Additionally, these union members productivity levels were low and they constantly pushed for yearly raises. Union and labor absolutism is counter productive. If the product sucks, then you have to figure out a way to make it better. There is probably a middle ground here in these negotiations.

    Nevertheless, I am sure that many of these musicians are not up to par. Union absolutism or unchecked power creates lethargy and complacency. Having a fire lit to your ass to step up and produce at a higher level is a necessary evil that keeps the world moving: Darwin.

  8. Ademir dos Anjos says:

    So you live in LA. Than I suppose that you are not used to OSB’s sound and brobably never reard it. Am I rigth? Why do you think you should, not knowingly, give an opinion that, after all, charges of perjury those who see Minczuk as a lousy conductor , a disastrous leader and a threat to the Brazilian public coffers? If I were in your position, perhaps will be suspicious of the statements posted here, just like you are. However, I will also give this ‘doubt benefit’ to suspect that there is some small possibility that this Dantesque, even heinous situation, revealed in those statements, in fact could be a reality in the distant republic in which they took place. In this case, the people that you alluded as troglodytes and laughable will be, in fact, victims of an individual who is very close to those tyrannical figures used to illustrate the situation of OSB. Take your time to imagine an hypothetical musical director of LA Symphony that call those fine musicians to re-audition. I really don’t think that the musicians union will be very concerned about trying “to get a balanced perspective”. Minczuk himself, such a brigth mind, said to a canadian newspaper that he would not do in Canada the same he does in Brazil because in Canada the union is strong (!) So the Calgary musicians are not playing ducky. But the recently auditioned musicians that will come to Brazil (12) do are.
    I apologize for the ad hominem argumet, but not for beeing paranoid. Our oponents do have proverbial pockets.

    • MusikAnT says:

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Are you arguing that I, as a non-Brazilian, have no right to comment on the Minczuk/OSB affair? Then surely you’ll agree that you had no right to comment on the decision by the Odense Symphony to honor their contract to Minczuk despite his censure by their national musical union? Yet you did. Are you by any chance a Dane?

      Furthermore, by your logic, we shouldn’t even be bothered to read and opine on events from around the world. According to you, only Arabs may comment on the Arab Spring, only Japanese on the Tohoku Earthquake, etc. Such a puritanical and provincial attitude is unfortunate. But, whether you like it or not, I and others from the international community will continue to comment on this matter. I’m sure, however, you’ll gladly accept international opinion so long as it conforms to that of the anti-Minczuk falange.

      Finally, I’m actually very familiar with the history and sound of the OSB thanks to the work of one of Minczuk’s illustrious predecessors, the great Eugen Szenkar. Through my interest in Szenkar, I learned about the history of the OSB and gained an appreciation of its work. In fact, I own a few CDs, as well as some aircheck bootlegs, of the OSB’s work.

      As a piece of advice, I strongly suggest that you and your ilk tone down the purple prose and personal attacks against Minczuk and those who disagree with your opinion. A little civility on your part would do much to gain support for your cause. Say whatever you want about Minczuk and the OSB, but I’ve yet to read anything from them or their supporters that is as petty, vindictive, and outright insulting as I have read from the anti-Minczuk brigade.

  9. Ademir dos Anjos says:

    Excuse me, Mr. MusicAnT, but I didn’t written a single word denying foreigners the right to issue their opinions about OSB’s case or whatever brazilian topic, for the record… I just wonder if you really knows what this orchestra means in Brazil and specialy for the people who lives in Rio de Janeiro. And that was because, as you know, the ensemble is now destroied. That is why I ASKED if you are used to the sound of OSB. Mr. Szenkar was conductor a long time ago, before Eleazar de Carvalho (wich by the way is father of the current president of the board and also has sacked some 16 musicians in 1952). Since then, OSB developed a sound of its own. Unfortunately, Minczuk never had the sensibility to understand or ability to handle the orchestra and smashed it. I risk to say, by frustration and despair. Most sadly, the Council Board was taken to believe that it was the rigth way and has now a coma case. That is very sad, and not only for brazilians, but for the whole musical world. So, I, on my turn, kindly suggest you not to defend Mr. Minczuk. He is indefensible.

    • MusikAnT says:

      My interest in the OSB began with Szenkar. But I know through CDs and bootlegs what the OSB sounds like today. Minczuk doesn’t sound like a “lousy conductor” in the couple of bootlegs I have with him and the OSB. The OSB sound just fine under his direction. You may not like his administrative style. But, as far as his musicianship is concerned, he seems sound.

  10. Ricardo Prins says:

    My fellow colleague, whoever you are,

    I believe you are a person that have a wide capacity to think and to understand ideas. Thus, I think you will stop and ponder for a while:

    1 – Did you ever actually see him conducting the orchestra? Because bootlegs aren’t really a trustful source of knowledge…
    2 – Do you really use the fact of “knowing” (quite a general word, maybe even empty in its meaning because of the broad diversity of meanings here) the work of Mr. Szenkar – and I add another note here: knowing ABOUT something is quite different from knowing something. In which of the two aforementioned meanings do you insert yourself – qualifies you to have such a solid position about Minczuk’s work? It seems quite confusing.
    3 – You do have the right to have an opinion, and you also have the right to pose your opinion here. But you should also consider the fact that due to your distance – that doesn’t seem only a physical one in my opinion – that maybe, JUST MAYBE, you need to think about the facts a little?

    I could write a list of facts that you probably don’t know about this quarrel, but for what reason? Instead, I just say to you and to all others who have and will still read this: The honest truth will not be upheld by some disgraceful people who are desperately fighting to keep their power by means of dishonest articulations. Just wait and see.

  11. Antonio Augusto says:

    Dear ex-colleague,

    It is a shame you do not sign your letter. If you really believe and stand for what you have written you should proudly sign your letter. I have no problem to sign mine, as one of the musician that decided not to go ahead and be auditioned by the FBSO (The foundation that I used work for). It easy to make a serious allegation as you have done, accusing your ex-colleague of making a fake document just to create some turmoil. That is shameful. Either you don’t know yours colleagues (what I really believe, as you don’t “sound” as one of them) or you are an irresponsible person who – hiding behind anonymity –, treat your fellow musicians like criminals.
    You said that some of the older musicians agreed to the voluntary resignation program. That is not true. Just one did so. The other two who also agreed with that were a German oboe player who did not want to keep his job under the circumstances (he wrote a public letter explaining it) and another wonderful oboe player from Chile who got a position in Petrobras Symphonic Orchestra and decided also not to continue at OSB. And there was not bonus for the years worked at the orchestra. What the FOSB offered was one month salary for each 10 years of work, up to two salaries. Wonderful, isn’t it? Two months of salary for thirty, forty years of work!
    In 18th of February, the artistic director and principal conductor in an interview for O Globo was very clear to point out that dismissals could happen due to the evaluation process. At the same time the FOSB postponed all the orchestra activities for six months. If it was just an evaluation process why doing so? We could go back to work on the next day, or a week. The “not be dismissed” saying just come after the international disapproval.
    The union not decided “to be more aggressive and opened a lawsuit against the foundation”. They just took a legal procedure against what they consider an unfair process. They did it after listen to 58 OSB musicians who felt the same. It is a normal act when you leave in legal state. But it caused an enormous resentment in those ones who are not yet used to a democratic atmosphere. What you find at the http://www.osbnempauta.com.br is the two firsts decisions. The cause still running on ours courts.
    “The local union of Rio de Janeiro mislead (they will never admit that, of course) a group of about 35 musicians”. That phrase is illustrative! That what essentially some people think about the musicians: they are stupid, mediocre and incapable of making decisions for themselves.
    It was based on that kind of idea that the chief conductor called for a “holy war” against mediocrity, corporativism and towards artistic excellence. But “holy wars” are always synonymous of intransigence, arrogance and imposition. It reinforces a negative image and is completely out of tune with our times. It reflects a totalitarian and authoritarian mindset which is refuted by all who seek for a society built on justice, freedom and human respect. It shows its violent and narrow-minded basis and reveals a certain “artistic-separatism” which pontificates his speech.
    We hope history and truth will speak louder and will stand up to this horrible project, created by the ones who actually have no commitment to our orchestra. At that moment; holy peace will be the glorious winner. As it should be and how it was in the old days when everyone could get the train without fear.
    Antonio J. Augusto
    Horn Player. Ex-colleague (fortunately) from the OSB

  12. Gary Fisher says:

    I was just reading what someone very angry just posted here and I have something to share as well, I guess I have the right as well or maybe not as some already own the truth around here.

    Just recently, in the BSO auditioning process to fulfill vacancies in the orchestra a very interesting thing happened. A very young and very talented musician (I will abstain to provide names here as he was already threatened enough and I also do not have his authorization to publish his name) decided to be auditioned but not in Rio de Janeiro. As a Brazilian he flew to New York and took part of the process there, to stay away from all the harassment generated in Rio de Janeiro by the dismissed musicians and their partisans.

    His is also a member of another well know orchestra in Rio de Janeiro, where many from the BSO used to play or still playing I guess. When he got back, surprisely he found out that some of his colleagues wrote a petition letter requesting the administration of the orchestra to dismiss him, just because he had auditioned for the BSO. Quite interesting, I just read here a statement from the dismissed horn player that musicians are not manipulated and they have their freewill to take decisions in their professional careers, it looks like this is not the case of this particular musician. I do not know the outcome of this letter but definitely came from the dismissed band.

    If you disagree with them you are not in a position to have your own choices, this is pathetic, ridiculous and also very immoral but in the eyes of the owners of the truth this is fully acceptable. We live in a new era of democracy where you have your rights to agree or disagree, the same way people that agree with something must respect those that disagree and vice versa. That’s not happening in Rio and here as well.

    Another similar situation happened in Rio and this is public as is posted in the Facebook for everyone to see, a situation where a flautist from Rio was harassed and threatened to not audition. In this case he was smarter than anyone else, he went to police and filed a complaint listing the names. According to his statements he was threatened to not take part of the auditioning process, see for yourself, here is the link for the video and you will also find his notes in Facebook wall postings:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPlpaXzu_W8&feature=share With the video he was trying to show what he would if someone some shows up to block him to audition, this was a week ago or so.

    Well, nobody owns the truth but one thing is certain, not everyone is happy or agree with Mr. Anjos and Mr. Augusto as well. Get real, the BSO crises as some named is over and if you disagree that’s fine as well but please, do not pretend you know the truth and are 100% right. I hope the Danish Association of Musicians and the IFM do not support such harassments to other musicians, it looks like they do not have any idea of what is going on or what really happened.

    And here is my name if you think this is anonymous,

    Gary Fisher

    • Antonio Augusto says:

      Dear Mr. Gary Fisher
      As you mentioned me in your letter, I would like to clarify some points you addressed. Right from the beginning I would like to say that I do not pretend to know the truth or to be 100% right, but I am a person who is living intensely this process and suffered a heart attack due to this. I’ve played for 23 years in the OSB and have a habit of seeking the equilibrium, justice and truth, always.
      It is not true colleagues wrote a letter demanding the dismissal of the talented musician who auditioned to the OSB (you are right: he’s extremely talented). He even does not play at the same Orchestra they do. The musicians from the Petrobras Symphony Orchestra (not from the OSB) wrote a letter of repudiation, because, they all understood his act as a very anti ethical one.
      I will explain that to you. This talented musician played in a brass quintet along other players (including myself) who were dismissed by the OSB. All those musicians (including the ones who wrote the letter) are longtime friends, and have lived, played and matured together.
      They were so closed that the talented musician played in a public protest at the Labor Ministry, supporting the dismissed musicians and criticizing the OSB conductor and his evaluation process. It is not difficult to understand how it was hard to the talented musician’s friends, and to the music community as a whole to see a dear one doing exactly what he was condemning just few days ago.
      For me personally was a harsh experience since I was one of his admirers and liked him a lot. He could have talked about it with us, and shared his desire of taking part on this process. We might not understand or support but at least he would have been honest and brave on his decision.
      It is very sad to read that dismissed musicians are harassing or attacking musicians who want to participate on the auditions. This simply is not true, and you should be ashamed to say such a thing without evidences. What happens is exactly the opposite: we have been exposed almost daily in newspapers, magazines and other media as incompetent, mediocre and corporatist because we just disagreed with the evaluation process. And we didn’t for very serious reasons that we can discuss if you wish.
      What is happening in Rio is a historic moment. The musicians finally decided to stand up against many irregularities involving public money, bad management and to fight for best work conditions. It is not only a matter of keeping a job, but to fix new parameters to the exercise of our profession in our country.
      That is why it is so hard to see a loved and talented friend going against it!

  13. Jesuina Passaroto says:

    To Gary Fisher
    Mr. Bike,
    Your two statements are lies.
    I can say that because I know the musician from this other orchestra who took the test in New York. By the way, I am the president of this orchestra’s association and I can answer about this issue. He did not go to New York to escape from the alleged harassment of the fired musicians. He was at New York participating of a musical exhibition and he took the opportunity to take the test. If he was a coward or not, that is his problem, because I can assure you that nobody knew he would take the test, thus no aggressions – as you state – could be possible.
    Nobody asked for this musician to be fired, I would be the first person to know, as the president of the association.
    This musician is a public servant of the state of Rio de Janeiro, therefore he could only be expelled through an administrative investigation, something not attainable by any musician of that orchestra – only their superiors could do that.
    Thus, you lie.
    You continue to lie when you talk about a flutist who needed to press charges against the fired musicians. The same way a boycott was issued by the English union, the offer was made here, for the tests in Rio. And this musician, in a psychotic break, decided to go hostile. As a matter of fact, the situation was the exact opposite as you state.
    You lie again.
    These were musicians trying to defend their class, and at any moment they attacked anyone. These are musicians exercising their citizen rights, these are professional musicians fighting for their jobs only with arguments, not with violence, as you are trying to affirm.
    You belittle your union and the institutions that protect you. You belittle your laws and your country.
    How come you talk about democracy when the actions of this maestro are completely dictatorial? What is this democracy that violates the laws of your country?
    The funny thing is that all who defend this maestro and this evaluation tests remain anonymous. The anonymousness is normally used to hide the cowardice of a person who doesn’t have the courage to defend his point of view. Cowardice typical of those who support the coward acts of this maestro.
    Come debate and bring the truth of the facts with your real name, and not as a bicycle manufacturer.
    With this name you are probably from Brazil and from Rio de Janeiro. In fact, I think I know who you really are…

  14. Jesuina Passaroto says:

    To Mr. MusikAnt,
    To talk about civility, in face of such a brutal act like the one undertaken by the FOSB’s directors, seems to be quite naïve on your part.
    How do we act with civility before the dismissal of a musi…cian who had a stroke because of the arrogance of this maestro? This musician has received his letter of dismissal while on his medical leave, which is against the law in our country. Talk about civility to this musician’s kids, who see his father in a life-threatening position. Talk about civility to the 14 musicians who received their letters of dismissal on Christmas Eve, through a telegram, in 2006. Yes, Roberto Minczuk had already fired 14 musicians before. Talk about civility to the many musicians who quitted playing because of the many medicines they had to take in order to endure the daily work with this maestro. Talk about civility to the 7 OSESP’s musicians who got fired after a dirty and coward attitude of this maestro, who encouraged a conflictive conversation and placed it on his cell phone’s speaker so that the director could listen to it. Talk about civility to a whole category of professionals who see their union leaders being fired, an abuse to our Constitution. Talk about civility to the OSBJ musicians who were coerced by armed bodyguards to take their teacher’s positions in the orchestra.
    You, as a non-Brazilian aren’t really in the position to talk about Roberto Minczuk’s actions, as you are not in the position to contradict the very emphatic position of the Brazilian’s musicians against this maestro.
    You don’t know our labor laws. What would you think if you knew beforehand that the new work offer that Roberto Minczuk wants for OSB violates the federal laws of our country and all working conventions of all unions? Would you think that there is no reason to such a poignant opposition by all musicians? Obviously not, since you defend so vigorously the professionalism.
    What to say then about all national and international unions of musicians supporting the cause of the Brazilian musicians?
    We know that each country has its laws, but we also know that the orchestras work the same way.
    We’ve had the support, not only from the unions, but also from many orchestras and many worldly renowned artists, because they understand this maestro’s attitude as tyrannical and dictatorial, which is totally repudiated nowadays.
    Say that Marta Argerich lacked civility when she signed the repudiation manifesto to Roberto Minczuk’s actions. Nelson Freire, Cristina Ortiz, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Marlos Nobre, Ana Botafogo have also committed this act of non-civility.
    As of you being a follower of OSB’s work, it only supports our struggle. You claim that OSB’s work is good. Maestro Szenkar has worked at OSB a long time ago, and if you still like OSB’s work is because its musicians have continued the work. The sound of an orchestra is its identity, and it happens, as you well know, when a group works for years together. Some of these musicians who were fired have 30, 40 years of work at OSB, sometimes for months without being paid, and now, for being older, are thrown away by this maestro. And you, sir, want us to treat the subject with civility?
    In my humble opinion, the ones you accuse of not having civility are giving a lesson of civic consciousness by defending, especially, the principles of a civilized society such as ethics, solidarity, professionalism, respect to the artist, dignity in the profession and in the defense of a cultural heritage of their country.
    The total absence of civility is committed by this one who claims to be a maestro.
    The great advantage of listening to a CD is not having the displeasure of seeing a baton making many mistakes and only listening to the good music produced by many of those fired musicians.

  15. Gena Kupperheimer says:

    In what the Louisville Orchestra musicians’ committee called a “suicidal act,” the Louisville Orchestra’s management will employ no musicians June 1. The musicians were unable to accept an offer that would drastically cut all players’ salaries and convert many to part-time status, stripping them of health insurance and fringe benefits.  Meanwhile, the orchestra’s management continues to press for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to accomplish its same funding goals, filing a reorganization disclosure plan Tuesday in federal court.  

     

    As of midnight Tuesday, Louisville Orchestra manager Rob Birman told musicians the institution would “withdraw” all present and past offers of employment to the musicians, terminating all the orchestra’s musicians. Mr. Birman continues to receive his $115,000 annual salary, while the musicians are without pay or employer-subsidized health insurance and protection for the valuable instruments with which they perform in the orchestra.  The bankruptcy plan the orchestra filed Tuesday asserted the institution commit itself to a budget equivalent to that put forward during the negotiations.

     

    The chair of the Louisville Orchestra musicians’ negotiation committee suggested the orchestra could take years to recover from its negotiating tactic.  “This is a suicidal act by the present management,” said Kim Tichenor.  “We’ve got an organization supposedly devoted to music that has no musicians.  No musicians who belong to a union or who ever wish to play in the nation’s top orchestras will play for the Louisville Orchestra.  No conductor will wish to be affiliated with such a poisonous situation that could affect his or her career.  This is a dead-end path from which we have to turn quickly before it damages the orchestra any further.”  

     

    Birman said at Saturday’s negotiations that the ensemble would attempt to staff its concerts with individual musicians working on a per-service basis.  Yet Ray Hair, the American Federation of Musicians’ president, confirmed last week that such as action would likely place the Louisville Orchestra Inc. on the union’s unfair list.  This would effectively limit the orchestra to drawing from the pool of musicians who do not belong to the musicians’ union. 

     

    On Tuesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David T. Stosberg scheduled June 28 and July 26 heaings to rule on the Louisville Orchestra Inc.’s request for approval of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan.  The impact of a management agreement with its musicians by those hearing dates is not yet known. 

     

    Tichenor said the musicians continue to offer to extend contract terms through the summer season to permit additional negotiations and summer performances.  However, she noted that at the moment the only asset the Louisville Orchestra holds is its name.  With the musicians’ services at its disposal, Keep Louisville Symphonic will continue its series of events with a July concert.

     

    In Saturday’s contract negotiations, the management’s “last, best and final offer” all but duplicated the main provisions it had been offering the musicians since summer 2010.  Weekly wages would be frozen at 2010-11 levels during the contract’s three seasons, which would be cut from 37 to 30 weeks.  The management’s contract would split the current 71 musicians into three levels:  40 “A” players would receive 30 weeks of employment, for an effective annual pay cut of 19 percent; 18 “B” players would receive 20 weeks of work and 13 “C” players would receive 10 weeks of work, representing a 72 percent cut in their annual salaries.  Because both “B” and “C” tiers would be employed less than half the time, the orchestra’s management would not have to pay their pension or unemployment benefits. 

     

    The musicians offered two proposals Saturday.  The first decreased the number of weeks during the contract’s projected three years from 36, 37 and 38 weeks, respectively, to 35, 36 and 37 in a contract that would begin with only 60 full-time musicians.  When this proposal was rejected, the musicians suggested the contract’s present terms be extended until Aug. 31 in a “play and talk” arrangement so the orchestra could pursue a summer season.  The management also rejected this. 

  16. Marek Poszuk says:

    Just in, two well know musicians decided to go quit the controversy, talk and go back to work, as stated below:

    http://oglobo.globo.com/rio/ancelmo/posts/2011/06/03/a-coluna-de-hoje-384201.asp

    It looks like the BSO is open is will be always open to those that want to talk.

  17. Frederico Valadao says:

    To Jesuina Passaroto,

    so far your declarations are completely out of the context with the real facts. You vehemently affirm that all these actions were against the labour laws, can you prove it?
    I do not think so, you are trying to go wild with your long , humongous statements of wisdom but this only to reinforce who are those promoting the turmoil.
    What do have to say about those more than 25 counterfeit of medical leave documents presented by one of your colleagues? A particular musician, while on medical leave were caught playing at a show when
    he was supposed to be working at the OSB, is that ok? May be if not in a medical leave. This is all over the papers in Brazil, is not my invention or my own words, I am pretty sure you will deny all that.

    The conductor with an armed body guard? Due to his background he was probably carrying an AK47, is that correct? That’s hilarious, can you prove that as well? Of course not, only accusations and defamatory speeches. It seems that you are very confident with your litigious accusations
    So far, the Brazilian Justice and the Ministry of Labour did not considerer nothing illegal or against the law, that means you are the one lying here, or you own the truth as others pointed at this blog? Or youhave already a final verdict? I haven’t see any official document or press release saying that the FBSO is an outlaw institution, have you? Or, again, you are saying that everything the FBSO does is illegal? 
    Are you lobbying to change labour laws? By your article you have no knowledge of what CLT means, you should understand that this is valid for the whole working class in Brazil, including musicians working for a private organization, as BSO. Does not matter if you work 1-10 or 40 years, the law is equal to everyone, you disrespect your employer you will face the consequences of the law, this is constitutional and happens to ALL. Do not try to be special, no matter if you like your boss or not, if you disrespect or do not achieve the target which your boss wants you will to get not be rewarded.
    Is over, there is nothing you can do besides attacking everyone that disagree with your statements and opinions. As they say in Brazil, go after your legal rights, if there any left.

    Before you judge and condemn someone you have to prove it, so watch out, you are committing a litigious accusations.

    And just so you know and make that public, today, 2 musicians decided to make a different move and go back to work, you can read that in the local papers of Rio. I am pretty sure that many others will do the same, that really proves that the conductor was and is always open to anyone that wants to talk and work.

    Frederico Valadão
    Retired Musician – Proud to be carioca

  18. Antonio Silva says:

    I’ m a professional musician, living in Sao Paulo. OSB never was a good orchestra…many problems in tunning, brass section with a jazzy sound, etc… The maestro’s attitude is wonderful!! We have to raise the leve of our orchestras!! I think all that problem are being leaded by weak or afraid musicians! If you are so good, why don’t you played for the audition?! 30 years playing professionaly!! Audition is not do hard if you are prepared!

    Come on guys!! Lets face that you don’t play like you played because you stop your studies due to a believe that you would not be fired!!

    Infelizmente, vejo que a nova OSB será sensacional, Minczuk será tratado como um excelente administrador e vcs cairão no esquecimento! Era exatamento isso que o maestro queria! Deixar os músicos despreparadoa de fora do processo e ele conseguiu!! Isso aconteceu aqui na OSESP…wake up my friends!

  19. Gena Kupperheimer says:

    This past week two cellists had turned away from the controversial group that vehemently did not want to have any talk with the orchestra.

    Things are changing and people are starting to back away from the rebellious musicians, the scenario is definitely changing proving that Mr. Minczuk is and was always open to talk with those that want to work.

    • REBELIOUS MUSICIANS??????????????????? WHAT???????? Were the musicians that have started all this crisis??????????? Please, take a look at the FACTS before commenting anything!!!!

  20. To Jesuina Passaroto,

    so far your declarations are completely out of the context with the real facts. You vehemently affirm that all these actions were against the labour laws, can you prove it?
    I do not think so, you are trying to go wild with your long , humongous statements of wisdom but this only to reinforce who are those promoting the turmoil.
    What do have to say about those more than 25 counterfeit of medical leave documents presented by one of your colleagues? A particular musician, while on medical leave were caught playing at a show when
    he was supposed to be working at the OSB, is that ok? May be if not in a medical leave. This is all over the papers in Brazil, is not my invention or my own words, I am pretty sure you will deny all that.

    The conductor with an armed body guard? Due to his background he was probably carrying an AK47, is that correct? That’s hilarious, can you prove that as well? Of course not, only accusations and defamatory speeches. It seems that you are very confident with your litigious accusations
    So far, the Brazilian Justice and the Ministry of Labour did not considerer nothing illegal or against the law, that means you are the one lying here, or you own the truth as others pointed at this blog? Or youhave already a final verdict? I haven’t see any official document or press release saying that the FBSO is an outlaw institution, have you? Or, again, you are saying that everything the FBSO does is illegal? 
    Are you lobbying to change labour laws? By your article you have no knowledge of what CLT means, you should understand that this is valid for the whole working class in Brazil, including musicians working for a private organization, as BSO. Does not matter if you work 1-10 or 40 years, the law is equal to everyone, you disrespect your employer you will face the consequences of the law, this is constitutional and happens to ALL. Do not try to be special, no matter if you like your boss or not, if you disrespect or do not achieve the target which your boss wants you will to get not be rewarded.
    Is over, there is nothing you can do besides attacking everyone that disagree with your statements and opinions. As they say in Brazil, go after your legal rights, if there any left.

    Before you judge and condemn someone you have to prove it, so watch out, you are committing a litigious accusations.

    on behalf of Frederico Valadão
    Retired Musician – Proud to be carioca

  21. MusikAnT says:

    I had a great reply for you, weighted mightily with logic and level-headed analysis. But then I thought better and deleted it. Why? Because it’s pointless to argue with you and the rest of your anti-Minczuk. You and your ilk clearly aren’t seeking compromise with Minczuk and the OSB: you only seek to crush him and have your own way–no compromise. Let’s be honest, really.

    Furthermore, what is even more laughable is your faction’s intolerance of dialogue and dissent. In your twisted minds, the only people who could oppose you are either people in Minczuk’s pocket or ignoramuses. After all, why reflect on what you can do to better your situation when you can play victim and blame others for your travails?

    The fact that your faction constantly and consistently demonize Minczuk–likening him to Qaddafi, Hussein, or Mubarak–speaks volumes of your own small-mindedness. I should add that comparing your former boss–a gentleman with whom you’re merely having a labor dispute–with butchers and murderers is pathetic; an insult to those who have truly suffered under such regimes.

    In short, let me finish by saying that I pity your narrow-mindedness and your inability to act rationally and having to recourse to tantrums driven by sentimentality.

    • Thomas P says:

      Your cool logic doesn’t seem to travel well to Rio, where the the bloviating winds prevail. I find latin tantrums tedious, myself.

  22. Jesuina Passaroto says:

    Mr Rio

    What a strange name.
    I do not remember seeing him playing in the OSB, but if Mr. is a musician, we can say that it is both a coward, or you do not really believe in what he advocates.
    As said Antonio, who defends with such “ownership” of this attitude Roberto Minczuk, should show the true face and not hide in anonymity.
    His attitude for most professional that Mr.. would seem, is at least anti ethics, which would be repudiated by itself.
    The lack of ethics is one of the biggest problems facing our country today.
    Collude with nasty attitudes like this that happened just make me think that Mr.. is a peer mentor to these machinations, and could not call him a professional.
    As I said a great Brazilian writer “who does not fight for their rights is not worthy of them.” And if Mr.. not fighting to defend their own profession, is not worth it.
    Perhaps to give his anonymity for fear of appearing ridiculous before the whole of society aware of their rights. Maybe give your anonymity is the shame of being against all the artistic world.
    Mr. mind when he says there were talks by Roberto Minczuk, who is from Rio knows that.
    Since the beginning of this whole mess had the intention to resign en masse, just look for the buyout plan. What use would it? Getting people to quit by their own free will and hold harmless Roberto Minczuk’s responsibility to resign? This would cause the layoff of curriculum Minczuk stay too long.
    As you yourself said “Musicians are paid to play, to run their instruments, since they refused to do this was considered as a breach of contract,” and they played and not refused to play, but musicians are not get paid for doing assessments simply to please the ego of the conductor, they have been evaluated to join the orchestra. And there was no breach of contract, given that these ratings are not provided. So who broke the contract was the direction of FosB and Roberto Minczuk, is that they should be fired for breach of contract.
    And one can not say that Roberto Minczuk not witnessed assessments for admission to the OSB, it took five years to listen to your musicians. Maybe if he was more assiduous in the work of OSB have had opportunity to hear.
    Pathetic attitude is unprofessional, antética, anticidadão. Pathetic is the press that sells a false image of a maestro, we know that is not so good.
    Pathetic is a conductor who suffers from selfishness, pathetic are people like Mr. condone these attitudes cowards.
    The fact that this statement reminds me not to have signed the letters of FosB. It would also false? Mr. River is also false?
    All the benefits that Mr. listed for resignation are too few to whom he dedicated years to this orchestra, this is peanuts, it is shameful this offering.
    Nobody was afraid of doing the evaluations, the reason that prompted them to take this attitude is called professionalism, awareness of their rights and duties, solidarity, dignity, attributes that Mr. surely will not find this new OSB. I am sorry for Mr.

  23. Jesuina Passaroto says:

    Mr. Musikant

    I am not sure to which Mr. preparing a balanced response and “powerful.”
    But I think Mr. lost some of the arguments by the way and decided to stop trying to prove anything in favor of this conductor.

    Only mr. namely, in 2008 the musicians of the OSB unanimously resolved to demand the resignation of the conductor, but they were not alone, nearly 700 servers Foundation Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro, where he piled up the posts of artistic director, in a complete mismatch for being ethical in same city, it also demanded the resignation of the Municipal Theater. Why?

    We would all be incompetent, persecutors, intransigent?

    Mr. MusikAnt not, we’re not all like Mr.. said.

    We are professionals who seek to preserve the institutions of the hands of people who are worried about everything except the art and the preservation of their identities.

    Contrary to what Mr.. said, always dismissed these musicians did their best to improve their institution, including worked months without pay. Conductor wanted to see this work in such conditions.

    Do not pity anyone who fights for her rights with dignity, not pity those who, like this one conductor only think of enriching the expense of others’ work, with no concern for compliance with the law, with dignity. These are the people with whom Mr.. may waive their condolences.

    There are no arguments against facts. Do a search on the truth of the facts, know a little more closely on the life of the conductor and musicians dismissed.

    Precisely because nobody else wants to live these dictatorial regimes, is that all the international artistic community resolved to support the fight for the players dismissed from the OSB.

  24. Jesuina Passaroto says:

    Dear Mr. Frederick.
    First of all I want to say I’m not one of those fired.
    Just the facts.
    If a musician had this amount of medical certificates and was caught working elsewhere, should have been punished as the law. If you have not, also the wrong direction in not applying the law. But I wonder, the direction is to prove this allegation? Mr. E also can prove? Or sr. ‘re only basing reports on paid? And the conductor who had no medical certificate for his frequent absences of four charges that he had accumulated? And he need not submit any medical certificate? Who authorized his travels? Or is he above the law? He also had an office where the governor needed permission to travel abroad and never had this type of authorization.
    Regarding the charge of conductor walk with armed guards, there are many speeches in public hearings, delivered by MPs and councilors making this statement, so now fully released and several witnesses, and also was reported by newspapers.
    As for wanting to lobbying for labor plot changes, Mr.’re completely wrong.
    I have a principle primarily to do my duty and then charge my rights.
    Whoever violates the laws are not we, but the direction of FosB that assesses there being no provision in its statute and the commission without the participation of musicians, as is also provided in the statutes of FosB.
    Anyone who tries to change the laws of this advice is in stating FosB changes in workload for the musician of the OSB.
    Mr. Rio claims to be retired musician, despite my 35 years working with orchestras, I can not remember even hearing his name. Being a retired musician, Mr. and professional should know the law of OMB, which is expected a different workload and that this is not presented by FosB. You should be aware also that as a professional conductor could not accumulate positions as he piled up with direction abroad.
    He worked as a public servant in commissioned position (40 hrs weekly) at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, besides being, unethically, director of FosB, a director in Campos do Jordao (SP) and as a director in Calgary – Canada. This is planned in CLT?
    There are talks to like or not like my boss, and thanks to our governor that he is no longer my boss.
    Use this argument to defend it is that is way out of context.
    I write not here to attack anyone, but I can not remain silent about the slanders against my colleagues and friends, I can not remain silent about the defamation of the Brazilian musician before the defamation of Brazilian music teachers, given the vilification of our category.
    Mr. and retired musician should be proud of your career and feel offended by the various statements of this conductor.
    Mr. should also be outraged before the attempted usurpation of the Brazilian market, already so difficult.
    Really we do not have the proof process of running the courts, has not been time for completion of the process, but they will come and then there’ll be proven who broke the law.
    I speak not only the legal nature of the situation, I am not a lawyer and musician, I speak also on the side of professional ethics. My indignation is also due to the total lack of commitment by those who make history. The law should go along with humanity. If we have to live only basis of law, we will live in a world without mercy, without sympathy, without sensitivity, we live in a world cold and calculating, adjectives completely antagonistic qualities of a good musician.

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  25. Jonathan says:

    It seems that some of the readers and participants of this thread are all direct witnesses of the historical events taking place in Rio. For the sake of the rest of us and for he sake of history, I wonder if the two polarized parties would care to narrate the sequence of events in historical order, with an attention to a mention of rights, duties, professional expectations and contracts. I often hear from Latin American conductors that musicians in their orchestras read magazines during rehearsals and fail to attend rehearsals with fake excuses to take other jobs. The other side may be that salaries do not match cost of living–as may be the case of any other job in Latin America, and therefore, this cultural practice is tolerated with humor by all. I have also heard from Spanish musicians that it is all about the union, and that musical proficiency is rarely tested. The other side of the coin is that we have an international culture of classical music, whereby orchestras in Spain want to match the working conditions of orchestras in Berlin, where the pressure to maintain quality may arise from quarters other than regular audition. Can anyone speak to that? Furthermore, we all know that in many international orchestras conductors and executive directors are paid obscenely high amounts, in ostensible disproportion to the pay of the musicians or the fiscal health of the orchestra. Conductors aspiring to international careers maintain a reputation based on how much they earn, how many concurrent posts they keep, and how many orchestras of a certain quality demand their services. There appears to be a caste system in classical music, because I do not see Gustavo Dudamel appearing in Calgary and Rio and he did not stay in the so-called second tier orchestra circuit for long after he was “discovered”. How are these castes determined? Is it by money spent on salaries? I mention this because during the recent strike of the Cleveland orchestra I read that the musicians did not want a reduction in salary because that would make them fall from their first tier rank.

    A complete narrative of the history would be great. The story of Minczuk and OSB is not isolated from these international influences in classical music but there may be specifically Brazilian components to consider that would be great to ascertain.

    • Antonio Augusto says:

      Jonathan,
      Here you have a impartial sequence of events writen by Julia Carneiro from BBC Brasil.

      Brazilian Symphony Orchestra split over auditions
      08 June 11 01:51 GMT

      By Julia Dias Carneiro
      BBC Brasil, Rio de Janeiro

      The Brazilian Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 season seemed full of promise, with a star-studded guest line-up featuring Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang and Kurt Masur.
      But after three dozen musicians were fired, the Rio de Janeiro-based orchestra found itself embroiled in a controversy that has the classical music world in an uproar.
      Brazil is well known for its samba and bossa nova, but apart from composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, its classical music has been under-appreciated internationally.
      In Brazil though, the OSB, as it is known, has been an important part of the national cultural scene since 1940, when it was founded by a mix of Brazilian and European immigrants fleeing World War II.
      In 2005, the orchestra hired Grammy award-winner Roberto Minczuk as artistic director.
      His avowed goal was to make the OSB one of the great orchestras of the world.
      “The struggle here is to boost the orchestra to international standards, and we are far from that level currently,” he told Brazilian news magazine Veja.
      Problems began in early January when Mr Minczuk told the orchestra’s 82 musicians they would have to undergo individual evaluations. Musicians who had been performing with the orchestra for decades were outraged.
      “Some of the musicians had 40 years of experience in the orchestra. Submitting them to a test is like telling a doctor with a 40-year career that he has to take an exam in order to go on,” says violinist Luzer David, who had played in the OSB for 23 years.
      ‘Saddest day’
      At first, 56 musicians refused to submit to the evaluation. But the orchestra warned that this was insubordination, liable to penalties, and offered a voluntary resignation programme.
      Together with three dozen colleagues, Mr David stood firm against the exams. Under pressure, 38 others consented to take them.
      The foundation that runs the OSB (Fundacao OSB, or Fosb) says it tried to settle the dispute, but the musicians refused to return unless Mr Minczuk was replaced.
      In late April, a total of 33 musicians were fired and three had their contracts suspended.
      Englishman David Chew came to Brazil 30 years ago to play with OSB.
      He was first cellist and was about to mark his third decade with the group.
      “It was supposed to be a celebration, but it was the saddest day of my life”, he said. “It is inhuman to fire people after so many years. They are destroying families and the community we had. It is very hard for us.”
      The fight became public and spilled into the editorial sections of Brazil’s leading newspapers.
      Some supported Mr Minczuk’s ideas for improvement, while others sympathised with the musicians.
      In May, the OSB started auditioning in London, New York and Rio, and extended invitations to foreign musicians to apply.
      Alerted to the sackings, musicians’ unions in the UK, US and France advised their members not to take part.
      The auditions, according to the International Federation of Musicians, were meant to “replace unfairly dismissed OSB musicians”.
      Roberto Minczuk says some of those who were let go are pushing a “distorted version” of the facts.
      People would soon realise that “Fosb has always acted with integrity,” he told the BBC.
      “I am shocked by the lies that are being spread online and in the media,” said Mr Minczuk.
      Under Mr Minczuk, the OSB has managed to increase its budget nearly sixfold, attracting new sponsors.
      Musicians who are taken on are in line for an average monthly salary of $6000-$7000 (£3,650 – £4,250), he says. Brazil’s minimum wage is $345.
      In the end, there were 251 applicants, although 102 did not show up for the auditions.
      Twenty-one new musicians were hired – 12 foreigners and nine Brazilians.
      Mr Minczuk says there is no rush to fill the remaining 12 posts.
      Shadow
      Meanwhile, the fired musicians remain united and have filed lawsuits against Fosb to challenge the dismissals.
      They also plan to continue performing together, as they did in late April, with a so-called Manifesto Concert in protest. All of them wore black shirts emblazoned with the slogan “SOS OSB”.
      For the 38 who stayed with the orchestra, the situation is uncomfortable. Most took the tests and now face the resentment of former colleagues and friends.
      “It hurts to think that my fired colleagues will be replaced,” said timpanist Rodrigo Foti. “In my opinion, Fosb should reopen negotiations with the fired musicians.
      “These colleagues carry a great part of the orchestra’s identity.”
      Classical music critic Joao Luiz Sampaio, of the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, says the OSB will have to prove that Minczuk’s approach will lead to real improvement.
      However successful it may be, he expects that bitterness will remain for a while to come.
      “The evaluation in itself wasn’t necessarily that bad, the problem was the unilateral manner with which things were conducted,” said Mr Sampaio. “The musicians’ needs weren’t considered, and that was a mistake. That gets to the public and to the music world.”
      “I think a shadow will be cast over the OSB’s concerts for some time.”
      The orchestra’s new season is due to begin on 10 August with a Beethoven Festival.
      Audiences may be wondering how much the discord behind the scenes will play out on stage.

  26. Gena Kupper says:

    As mentioned here before a young talented trumpet player decided to take the recent test at the BSO and then as a result his colleagues (should we call them colleagues?) are promoting a huge persecution against him.

    Take a look of what they have posted and submitted to the direction of the orchestra where they work together:

    http://photobucket.com/shame_cariocas

    Basically this petition is asking the PSO to fire him and also promoting a huge boycott against him, is that not a dictatorship? This is fully unacceptable.

    That proves that Jesuina Passaroto and her collaborators are not saying the truth and basically promoting defamatory postings all over the place, distorting the reality.

  27. Ademir dos Anjos says:

    In latin america the figure of adventurers that promise a role new orchestra, with greater quality improvements, is very common. They usualy dismiss some musicians, spent a lot in marketing, get rich and leaves some time later. As a rule, the institution was left in worse conditions then when they arive, financialy broken until some new investments bring another adventurer…
    It happened in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, to mention only the ones that had this kind of trouble in the past ten years and as far as I know.
    At this very moment, at least two other orchestras in Brazil are following the lead of OSB and sacking musicians…

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