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What the Malaysian court awarded unfairly dismissed musician

Details have reached us of yesterday’s court judgement against the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra for the constructive dismissal of principal trumpet, Jon Dante.

Mr Dante was awarded a full year’s salary, plus five percent interest, plus all legal fees.

The MPO and its chief conductor Claus Peter Flor were severely criticised for their treatment of Mr Dante, forcing him to resign. The orchestra went on to fire a further nine foreign musicians, whose cases are pending. The MPO is now subject to an international musicians’ boycott.

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  1. Tor Fromyhr says:

    A just and appropriate decision.

  2. Congrats to Mr. Dante and good luck to all the others with pending cases!
    MPO is not the same anymore!
    To all players who left recently or got sacked: you are deeply missed!

    It is a shame how the new management treated you and certainly a very positive development that the court is acknowledging those facts.

  3. What a very interesting outcome. I was one of the numerous sceptics who did not expect a Malaysian court to judge against an organisation so closely associated with government interests. How gratifying to be wrong ! Will continue to watch with interest.

  4. Congratulations to Mr. Dante for the just verdict, but it seems to me that the MPO and Mr. Flor are getting off very easily here with their settlement: If Mr. Dante has to fly and pay hotel expenses for, let’s say, a half a dozen orchestra auditions held on various continents, then his one-year severance pay is not going to get him (and his family?) through the year.

    Will he have to pack up a forty-foot container, and ship his belongs to a new continent? MPO should be paying that. Will he lose money on the sale of his home and vehicles? MPO should pay the difference.

    I would hope that anyone else (through his or her legal counselor) in a similar situation ask for–through his or her legal counselor–and receive compensation for his or her future job-search-related expenses. The MPO should be required to pay these expenses for as long as it takes for the professional to find similar suitable and satisfying employment that pays at least as much as what he or she was earning with the MPO.

    If Mr. Flor REALLY does not like Mr. Dante’s trumpet playing, maybe the MPO should offer to pick up the tab on his training for a new career, since what they are saying is, “Well, he really doesn’t play well enough to be principal trumpet for us, or ANYWHERE ELSE EITHER.”

    If Mr. Dante would like to study law or business management at Harvard, or arts management at Wharton, the MPO should encourage and support that. What better leadership could the MPO have than someone with fresh training on running an orchestra, someone with a thorough knowledge of the latest best practice in the field, someone with inside knowledge of the challenges the organization faces, and someone familiar with local strengths in resources, business leadership, and the donor base? Who in the world can connect with the MPO’s audience better than the guy who played that opening solo in Mahler Five for them? Mr. Dante’s expenses for two years at these places–tuition, books, apartment rental, food, some spending money–should be covered by the MPO. After all, it was the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra that “made the mistake” of HIRING THE WRONG GUY IN THE FIRST PLACE! :-)

    (Wouldn’t THAT be ironic, if Mr. Dante studied arts management for a couple of years, then went back to Malaysia to run the MPO as its chief executive or artistic director? What better leadership could MPO have, than to have someone with the a knowledge and training of the best practice in the field, and who knows the organization and the local scene there from the inside out? Mr. Dante could hit the ground running there in 2014 or so. He could be the messiah who saves the MPO from itself!

    Or, maybe he would prefer to start up a competitor ensemble there in Kuala Lampur? The MPO deserves to be run out of business by a better organization.

    Best wishes, Mr. Dante, Sir! I wish I could offer you a job teaching trumpet here in Estonia–God knows we need you!–but, I’m afraid that, as a stranger in a strange land myself, I’m not in a position here to make that happen.

    (Our Estonian National Symphony Orchestra players––here in Tallinn earn even less than the music teachers! Welcome to eastern Europe, more than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.)

  5. Don’t get your hopes high yet Peter. As a Malaysian I observed that the court of appeal always had a huge probability of overturning an earlier verdict.

  6. Glad to know that it turns out to be a surprisingly constructive judgement by the court. However I’m still feeling sorry toward Mr. Dante. Having seeing him in youtube with two orchestra (one being hong kong philharmonic wbile the other being NTSO from Taiwan), I felt curious about his plan for the next step and I visited his personal website.What I see is a tough and tired agenda. Keep in mind that he has been appointed principal trumpet for HKSO for one season, and next he will be appearing with Singapore Symphony for half a year or so, and next he willbe appearing with an australian orchestra for another half year. Well at least what I confirmed is that our used-to-be -beloved orchestra once had a great player.

    My prayers goes to Mr. Dante and also the othrt dismissed players. Just wish to know how they are doing after leaving. They are definitely missed.

  7. Local Malaysian musician says:

    Sometimes we focus on those players tat hv been fired, and everyone boycott the orchestra, can we turn around and think about those players who still remain? Should we also need to boycott them? and MPO is the only orchestra in Malaysia which be labelled as ‘international level’ and really important to us. As I know the whole year tickets sell (every show, every tickets) only cover 6% of every players’ total salary, I dunno if musicians from the world boycott it, the management may give up and dismiss the orchestra, everyone outside earn or lost nothing, but as a Malaysian we lost everything, the only international orchestra, and the education for MPYO. I dunno, how we gonna deal this thing, I also feel sad for those nine players, n mr Dante, but how bout the rests? And how should we do to save our only orchestra? Since no one can do anything to influence the management but putting some concerns to those musicians who bring music to us!

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