The music director walked out on the Belgrade Philharmonic two weeks ago, blaming a ‘despotic’ manager, Ivan Tasovac. Today, the two concertmasters, Tijana Milošević and Miroslav Pavlović, asked us to publish a ‘unanimous’ response from the orchestra. However, see also below.
This is the (slightly oblique) statement by the musicians. Much lost in translation, no doubt.
Regarding Alexander Rahbari’s unfounded and unseemly allegations stated in
his media gaffe, in front of the orchestra and the Belgrade Philharmonic’s
audience, dispraising the professionalism in the work of the orchestra, its
management, and Ivan Tasovac, the Director of the orchestra with whom he
collaborated as the Principal Guest Conductor, the Belgrade Philharmonic
Orchestra musicians are taking the common position with which they dissociate
themselves from Rahbari’s accusations.
The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra proudly stands before its audience and the
public as an orchestra with long tradition, whose energetic performances,
innovative programmes and originality of expression in the last decade have
earned it the leading position among cultural institutions in the region, setting an
exquisite example to others. The orchestra musicians have cooperated with the
greatest names of the world’s music scene, at the same time communicating with
the orchestra’s production, management and Director in the good atmosphere,
and in line with accurately formulated rules, and they object to anybody else
speaking on their behalf about the conditions, methods and principles of their
Belgrade, April 2, 2013
Musicians of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra
Got that? Now, we have also received the following statement from Boris Bunjac, the orchestra’s Principal Timpanist since 1992. It has been shortened slightly for the purposes of clarity and the avoidance of libel.
Recently, maestro Rahbary wrote an open letter to the Serbian newspapers ‘Politika’ about the situation in our orchestra. There have been very different reactions about MaestroRahbari’s open letter. Many years of silence need to be broken and the spoken word must be given to someone else, it is not the monopoly of Mr. Ivan Tasovac.
Mr. Tasovac did an immense work for the BelPhilOr: renovating and adapting the building, new instruments, serious work for all 12 concert seasons he is in charge for, marketing policy. But this fact has never been denied by Orchestra members in any of these 12 years! First of all, because Orchestra members are appreciating his work with unquestionable devotion and loyalty, and secondly, because Mr. Tasovac is quite a loud speaker about pricing his own work in every occasion he is to speak to the Orchestra. And not only to the Orchestra: if Serbian media is talking or writing about BelPhilOrch, there is only Mr. Tasovac’s name to be connected with the Orchestra. Nothing about Maestro! Nothing about genuine Soloists of BelPhilOrch! Mr. Tasovac- the one and only! And try to speak other way-recently, there is a statute of the BelPhilOrch where it says the person who is breaking these rules is to be punished.
Mr. Tasovac presented himself with a lots of charm publicly. It is hard to anyone outside the Orchestra to believe that the working atmosphere is probably the worst ever since 1923, when the orchestra was founded (1923 is the year of the inaugural concert of the BelPhilOrch). Not only the fear rules in BelPhilOrch, it is the fact that that Orchestra members are put in the position (or better to say forced) to compete with each other, to denounce each other, and only to keep the ‘working place’- I will say to save own skin! And most of them don’t hesitate to give their vote for the decision when one or another Orchestra member will be ‘cut out on the street’, without a job and without a good reference.
All these produced mobbing between the Orchestra members. I am mobbed by Mr. Tasovac and at the moment I am processing against him. In my case, Mr.Tasovac organized ‘show – trial in the House’ where he presented false documents against me, signed by management members who were forced by him to sign them and ‘new’ documents that never existed before, only for the ‘show-trial-occasion’.
In past twelve years people that worked for management of BelPhilOr, like Branka Vukovic, Robert Bokor, Aleksandar Gatalica, Slobodan Macura and since June 2012 Srdjan Saper were just cut out from any work and cooperation with BelPhilOrch. Without Srdjan Saper, Ivan Tasovac and Igor Jecl are now the only members of the foundation board ‘Foundation of Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra - Zubin Mehta’. They are the ‘rulers’ of BelPhilOrch, of Foundation Zubin Mehta and it looks like they have no one above them to whom they might have some obligations. Let me explain: if we consider the fact that BelPhilOrch is a State Institution (Ministry of Culture of Republic of Serbia) that gives the year budget of ca. 144 mill. dinars ( ca. 1,3 million Euros) - state in 2009 - to pay the salary &co. per anum for 114 people working for BelPhilOrch, don’t we have the protection of that particular State Institution in such cases like this one?
BelPhilOrch is not performing any more at Serbian most important International Festival ‘BEMUS’ ( www.bemus.rs), BelPhilOrch doesn’t have any cooperation with high profiled organisations of culture in Serbia like FMU (www.fmu.bg.ac.rs), Jugokoncert ( www.jugokoncert.rs), composers association (www.composers.rs) etc. and this is only because Mr. Tasovac is not willing to cooperate, to share, but he is willing to dictate. We are losing our good cooperation with Orchestras from the region, because Mr. Tasovac is presenting them to be amateurs, so the BelPhilOrch might be put on the throne as the only professional Orchestra in the region. We recently lost Maestro Rahbari because Mr. Tasovac couldn’t take any words that he doesn’t like even when spoken by such a great musician and person. I am not the Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi to predict what consequences this lost might bring the BelPhilOr and classical society in Serbia, but I am feeling no comfort in what happened.