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Maestro is terminated ‘with immediate effect’

The board of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is stumbling ever deeper into a pit of despair. Having informed the conductor, Arild Remmereit, that his services would not be required beyond the end of the season, they have now terminated his contract altogether – apparently for refusing to reply to their communications. They risk turning Rochester into a no-go town for good conductors.

Meanwhile, moves are afoot to vote out the board and reinstate the Norwegian. There is a campaign to unset the manager, Charles Owens (right). And the board are being sued by a disaffected supporter. It’s all getting very sticky.


Here’s the statement:

The Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has terminated, effective immediately, its contract with its Music Director, Arild Remmereit. The reason for the immediate termination is Mr. Remmereit’s failure to perform his contractual job responsibilities since late November. Originally, the termination of the music director’s contract was to take place at the close of the 2012-2013 season (August 31,2013).

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  1. The MO situation is dire and complicated but this is sheer insanity.

    • You ar so right, Pamela.

      Maestro Remmereit has been hobbled at every turn by an ill-intended Board and management, but he has produced excellent work, energised the orchestra, and is beloved by the community. This is not over.

      • This seems eerily reminiscent of the venticelli in AMADEUS, just whispers here and there that imply this or that but nothing of substance materializes. And all the while Maestro Rennereit’s career hangs in the balance.

  2. Craig Sutherland says:

    While it is true that this is a sticky situation, unfortunately it is also a necessary situation. Facts surrounding the dismissal of Maestro Remmereit are hard to come by, and that is mostly due to the nature of those facts. There is, however, much disinformation floating about filling the void. While there is division amongst the musicians regarding Arild Remmereit’s artistic contributions to our organization, these disagreements alone had little to do with his early contract termination. His programming has been innovative and energizing for both orchestra musicians and patrons alike. He has brought considerable energy to the podium. Remmereit’s supporters are steadfast in their support of his remaining the RPO’s Music Director. However, since the notification of Maestro Remmereit’s dismissal in late November, there has been little to no communication from the Maestro to the RPO. (The lawyers have been talking.) He has been absent for two auditions, three tenure review meetings, and has not submitted programming for the 2013-14 season which was needed in late October. He also has shown no sign that he is interested in conducting the RPO again this season, or at any time in the future. This weekend the RPO was required to hire, on short notice, Yoav Talmi to take his place. Yesterday the Board had no choice but to amend his dismissal date to “immediate”, as opposed to the original date of August 31, 2013.

    There will most likely be rebuttals from a few of my fellow musicians and patrons of the RPO following this post. For that, I am saddened. The Orchestra Committee (an elected body of musicians), has done it’s best to fairly represent the majority of our fellow colleagues. Unfortunately democracy, while fair and necessary, is a messy process at best. I think I can confidently say that we all are looking forward to a time when we can again focus solely on the art of music making for our audiences here in Rochester and beyond.

    Craig Sutherland
    Orchestra Committee Co-Chair

    • With all due respect, @Craig Sutherland, it seems to me that you are begging the question of why Maestro Remmereit was put into such a difficult situation to begin with. Just what is the proper protocol for a conductor whose career has been put on the line when given notice of an impending termination?

      You say the ‘lawyers are talking’ as though this were a suspicious and unsatisfying alternative to talking with the Maestro himself. Nevertheless, what if the lawyers are trying their best to pull a win-win situation out of what seems an unavoidable disaster?

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