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Musician gets put in hospital for supporting his conductor

When they come to handing out loyalty awards for orchestral musicians, this story may well be near the top of the pile.

Details are still a little sketchy, it was a dark night and the long arm of the law may be involved, so bear with us if we don’t give you the full blow-by-blow, but this is what appears to have happened.

The Georgian Chamber Orchestra, fed up with poverty and political uncertainty in 1990s Tbilisi, sought asylum in the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt. The music loving mayor welcomed them with open arms and the biggest local employer, Audi, offered a handsome splash of sponsorship.

So far, so sweet.

The Georgians, however, are a fiery lot. Some of the players decided that they didn’t like the current conductor, Lavard Skou Larsen. They particularly didn’t like his habit of rotating string players from front desk to back and vice-versa. Larsen, a Brazilian, is professor of violin at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

So they wrote a letter to the mayor, demanding his dismissal. Several players refused to sign, saying they quite liked the conductor and wanted to give him a second chance. Voices were raised. Fists were raised. Blood was shed, and at least one musician was admitted to hospital with bodily injuries after putting up a strong resistance against the anti-maestro mob. Four musicians altogether required medical attention and were hurt badly enough in the brawl that they were unable to play the next concert.

How it will end is not yet clear, but the people at Audi must be wondering what they have to do to keep this turbulent waggon on the road.

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  1. Not the first time violence has been used in the classical music world! Ahem……………….

  2. Blame the managers!

  3. ruben greenberg says:

    Years ago, Russel Procope, saxophonist with the Duke Ellington orchestra, told me that at one point they were to join forces with the NBC Symphony Orchestra for a concert. The Duke lectured his musicians on how they had to be on their very best behaviour now that they were going to frequent the refined world of Classical music for the first time. Classical musicians were not to get the impression that jazz musicians were rough necks. At the very first rehearsal, the Ellingtonians witnessed a fist-fight between two members of the NBC Orchestra that made everything grind to a halt.

  4. Shades of “The Concert” (Radu Mihaileanu 2009)! One might also cite the chaos at the end of the first act of Die Meistersinger, when the musicians come to blows over “Master song theory”!

  5. Helen Tuckey says:

    “Fixed seating is institutionalised bullying” – discuss ….

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