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War of words erupts at beleaguered Philharmonic

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.

rahbari

 

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
work.
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.

 

boris bunjac

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. 

 

Boris Bunjac

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Comments

  1. All clear so far…

  2. James Dean says:

    What in the hell is happening to classical music in Serbia ? This war in Serbia is all very confusing. Mr. Tasovac is not am irreplaceable great management guru. He is replaceable!!!! So why not replace him and bring this matter to a peaceful end. I am sure Mr. Tasovac could find himself a suitable job with a leading American orchestra.

    • Performing Artist52 says:

      Please do not bring Mr. Tasovac to Minnesota if what Mr. Bunjc stated is indeed true! We have our own dictator in the likes of Michael Henson!

  3. Alexander Rahbari says:

    Dear Norman
    Thank you very much for publishing again about the great Belgrade Philharmonic.
    The statement of both concertmaster is absolutely correct.
    Both are wonderful musicians and they have my whole respects.
    I had also no intention to talk on behalf of musicians and will not do it .
    I wrote my personal opinion about Mr. Tasovac, because i love this orchestra very much, and i think they deserve better and normal professional managing director like many other good orchestras.
    With experiences we know that during the dictatorship one can never find out even 10% of real opinion of people.
    It will certainly come the days that also in Belgrade the musicians will talk with courage and without fear.
    From these great musicians of Belgrade Philharmonic i have in my memory only positive experiences:
    A-3 years of wonderful rehearsals and concerts.
    B-Huge applause from ca. 90 musicians after my speech in general rehearsal which was about behavior of Mr. Tasovac
    C-Huge applause after my speech to the public
    D-Receiving big bouquet of flowers from BOTH CONCERTMASTERS in the name of whole orchestra .
    E- Receiving more than 30 emails of support from the musicians
    They gave me everything what they could give , IN THE ABSENCE OF MR. TASOVAC
    In his presence they have not really big choice

    I am thankful to this great orchestra and whole member of the office
    Best wishes
    Alexander Rahbari

    • Dorian Wilson says:

      As Chief Conductor (after being Principal Guest Conductor) of the Belgrade Philharmonic 2004-2006 I am torn on whether I should add something here… How similar all seems: from “Unanimous Letters” to Playboy (Find me there for an interview August 2006) to Ivan T.

      • Boris Bunjac says:

        Dear Dorian,
        i guess it’s to late to say that I felt really bad after what happened to you. I liked working with you and very often you are in my thoughts. You should now that there are not many of them who knows your story and maybe you could share it here because many of musicians are following this situation. It is always nice to remember the tour that we had with you, Sweden 1996. That was the time when we were treated as respected musicians.I look forward to seeing you again.

        Best wishes
        Boris Bunjac

      • Dorian Wilson says:

        After consideration I have decided not to comment further on the specifics of my time as Chief Conductor, and subsequent departure of the Belgrade Philharmonic. Commenting would not help the cause of the Belgrade Philharmonic, which I am proud to say I was a part of. After my termination I decided not to speak with the press, nor make a speech at my last concert as Chief Conductor. My dignity and the reputation of the orchestra demanded that.

  4. Rahbari was not a music director.

  5. This is unfortunately a typical situation among other orchestras in the former Yugoslavia as well. Orchestral musicians have no say in what goes on and are bullied into whatever the power hungry and politically-connected General Director want. Foreign music directors come and stay only a few years, long enough to find out they have no real influence over the “growth” of the ensemble or its audience. It really has to change.

  6. Much respect to Boris Bunjac as well for having the courage to go public. He’ll likely be out of a job on Monday.

  7. Boris Bunjac says:

    Two years ago Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra Art Council (orchestral group leaders) had an unanimous opinion (not a decision) about something that happened. Next day Mr. Tasovac had an meeting with the Art Council where he explained to us that we are not using thinking in the right way and tried to teach us how should we do it. He rejected everything that we said and, soon after the meeting, dismissed entire group and made a new one, where HE is the leader, the one who choose subjects and the one who makes decisions. From that time the only way to have unanimous opinion is to support what he says. This explains very much how he came to orchestra reaction about maestro Rahbari.
    Interesting detail about this process is that he made three separate meetings with different orchestral groups so that he could avoid any problems that might happen when you have 100 musicians in the same space. Also three different methods where used while approaching people minds. To be honest with you – that was the best performance I have ever seen and Mr. Tasovac did showed us how strong as leader he is and no one can deny that, but there is a question that rings around – is that what we really want and need?

  8. unheard off... says:

    Somehow, the letter of the two concertmasters looses its credibility, since you can find one of them in this month’s issue of the Serbian Playboy magazine – naked. And that’s something she couldn’t have done without consulting with General Tasovac, mind you, i wouldn’t be surprised if he made it happen.
    Just a continuing humiliation of all the musicians of the orchestra, the audience and cultural life of Serbia in general. Pure disgrace, everything that’s going on.

    • belgrade phill musician says:

      She was in Playboy,but she was NOT naked…those were artistic pictures,and actually,are very nice…Playboy is not pornografic magasine,at least not in Serbia….Boris Bunjac was once in Playboy,by name in a artickle,as were some musicians( both man and woman) of Belg phil also,also in artistic pictures…and nobody had any problem with it.I dont know why would you have problem with it???
      Also,concertmasters did sign thei names,Norman just did not put them…as him why.

      • unheard off... says:

        Dear Musician, if You read with a bit more attention, you will realise that I wasn’t asking for any names – having grown up in Belgrade I know most of the names of the people in the orchestra. Also, having played in several renowned orchestras in Europe, I allow myself to say a few things. Basic ones would be that a Philharmonic is, next to Opera, a biggest and most important musical institution of every bigger city. Second thing would be that I’ve never ever heard of a concertmaster stripping down naked for Playboy. If one is put to lead a musical institution as important as Philharmonic, that comes with more than a few responsibilities. I fail to see how a concertmaster’s naked photos make the image of the orchestra better. I see that as pure disrespect to other musicians and extremely cheap marketing attempt.
        Oh, and yes, Playboy is world-wide known as an artistic and intellectual magazine…
        If You say that other musicians were posing for Playboy, that’s something I would also disagree with, but (un)fortunately, I never saw news about them. It seems you’re trying to say that the whole orchestra is running to Playboy and that that is fine, as long as the photos stay “artistic”?
        If she’s not naked, what is she then? Dressed?

        • belgrade phill musician says:

          Look up for bass section leader Boban Geric in Playboy…..hes profesor on FMU now….at thah time,he was in BF….so did some other tutti players.They were dressed,but you can put them in similar position like Tijana…I stand by my position that her picures,both of them are artistic.
          And I think you dont have sexlife,if that is naked for you.

          • unheard off... says:

            My dear Musician,
            the level of Your comment said much more about yourself, than about any of the persons or things You were trying to present in it. It also gave me a slight idea about how anybody with his own opinion, which doesn’t agree with an opinion of people like you, is treated in this orchestra.
            My correspondence with You will stop here [redacted]

  9. The concertmaster who wrote the letter to you, Norman, and asked to be ‘unanimos’ are for me the lowest humanbeings. They support the wrong politics of Mr. Tasovac and yet, they are afraid to say their names in public. Who they are afraid of? Probably of Mr. Bunjac, because they used to be his friends. Ask Mr. Rahbari what does he think why after he said at the concert that he will bring the Belgrade Philharmonics to Vienna to record a CD he was dismissed from his duties by Mr. Tasovac? The question is : why Mr. Tasovac does not like the idea of BPh having its own recording?

    • Actually, they did give their names, Sanja. I may have forgotten to include them.

    • belgrade phill musician says:

      Sanja,you can or you dont have to agree with concertmasters point of view.
      But dont insult them.They have their right for their own view of the matter.
      Also,you are not very objective since you are very close friend of Boris.
      You should respect people even when you dont agree with them. Or is you respect reserved only for people you are friend with?

  10. Frederic says:

    I remember rahbari as a very fine conductor of the Flemish radio orchestra. He did a great job here and his absence is still missed by me.

    • Michael Schaffer says:

      So is his former orchestra the same that is now called Brussels Philharmonic? On their Naxos recordings, his orchestra was called BRT Philhamrmonic but there doesn’t seem to be an orchestra of that name anymore.

      • Alexander Rahbari says:

        Dear friends
        Today the name of the orchestra is the Brussels Philharmonic and is one of the finest orchestras.
        With that orchestra i had totally the opposite situation as Belgrade.( concerning the director)
        12 years(4 years as principal guest and 8 years as principal conductor) i worked with one of the greatest ORCHESTRA DIRECTORS in Europe;.
        With ANDRE LAPORTE. He was extremely professional and wanted a top class orchestra with the top quality.
        With him i had not even one day problem.
        We had great conductors, we made lot of concerts in international festivals, many recordings, symphonic and Operas . We traveled to the most famous cities etc.
        Unfortunately , at age of 65 he had to be retired, i did everything possible to keep him but didn’t help.
        My argument was as follow : if the conductors are able to continue until the age of 85 or more why the great directors should not do the same ?
        Finally 2 days before his retirement i left Brussels.
        Maybe i have to mention to you also that after 10 years, it was my own idea to ask the musicians if they want to have another better conductor ? The answer of big majority ( anonymous) was no.
        The unprofessional situation in Belgrad is exactly that point.
        In the last 3 years Mr. Tasovac had no courage to ask the opinion of the musicians( anonymous and not in bar) about me or any other conductors. Why not?
        For any director after 3 years ,that should be the easiest question. Why not?
        The musicians of Belgrade Phil.are fantastic and want real quality , Why not?
        This is not a private but statt Orchestra.
        For any professional musician must be obvious that something is going wrong with this director .
        These musicians deserve much better professional conditions like many other good orchestras.
        Why not?
        I hope you can understand my poor english ( Mr. Gunsenhauser can not)

        • Michael Schaffer says:

          Alexander Rahbari says:
          April 7, 2013 at 2:35 am

          “Today the name of the orchestra is the Brussels Philharmonic and is one of the finest orchestras.
          With that orchestra i had totally the opposite situation as Belgrade.( concerning the director)
          12 years(4 years as principal guest and 8 years as principal conductor) i worked with one of the greatest ORCHESTRA DIRECTORS in Europe: With ANDRE LAPORTE. He was extremely professional and wanted a top class orchestra with the top quality.

          Unfortunately , at age of 65 he had to be retired, i did everything possible to keep him but didn’t help.
          My argument was as follow : if the conductors are able to continue until the age of 85 or more why the great directors should not do the same ?”

          True – Wolfgang Stresemann, managing director of the Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester from 1959-78 and one of the few who knew how to deal with Karajan’s whims, only retired when he was 74 – highly unusual because the orchestra is a public institution where 65 is generally the retirement age. He was even called back for a second brief term when he was already 80, to put out the fires caused by the comtroversy between Karajan and the orchestra over the hiring of Sabine Meyer.

          BTW – I saw you conduct the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester in early 1989 at the Schauspielhaus in East Berlin. I remember that concert well because it was the last time before the wall came down that I (who lived in West Berlin at the time) visited the Easten half of the city. The first piece was Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune but I don’t remember the rest of the program – not because it wasn’t a good concert but because it was such a long time ago and I went to concerts all the time. Do you remember that specific concert?

          • Alexander Rahbari says:

            Dear Mr. Schaffer
            Thank you for your attentions .
            It was Dvorak Piano concerto and after also sprach Zarathustra
            In these years i was conducting lot in Dresden , Leipzig and east Berlin.
            The musicians were fantastic like today great musicians of Belgrad but the Communist system of directors were also very close to the system that director of Belgrade Phil.Mr. Tasovac is still working.

  11. Alexander Rahbari says:

    Dear Norman
    All the dictators like Saddam Hussein, Hossni Mubarak, Moammar Ghaddafi and many others were saying that the critics or any attacks against them, are against everybody.
    That is exactly what Mr. Tasovac is trying ( with difficulty) to do in the last 20 days.
    In more than 40 comments against him , one can not find anything against the orchestra.
    Thank to the media and younger generation,today the time of manipulations is coming slowly to the end .
    The great musicians of Belgrade Philharmonic deserve also to have their own SPRING.
    I hope that this case will be an example for other orchestras with similar problems.

    • belgrade phill musician says:

      Dear maestro,I have great admiration of you,and loved working with you.
      But this has blovened out of its proportions and is starting to hurt image and respectability of Belgrade philhrmonic.
      Since Belgrade phil is not only mr.Tasovac,but 100 musicians of orchestra,musicians dont like this bad advertising wich is given now buy mr.Bunjac and yourself,since it can influence their livelyhood and future of orchestra,both in Serbia and abroad.
      Yes,mr.Tasovac can be hardhead sometimes and dificult,but still that can not erase everything good he has done in past decade. Belgrade Phil.never had so successful director and menager.
      And in todays hard economic and political days in Serbia,with new goverment,it would be big gamble for orchestra to lose him. We woud probably get some SNS party director,like dejan Savic,or Bojan Sudjic,and those people are running Belgrade opera and radio simphony wich are in terrible state and ruins of instutions. They would love to put their fingers on BF.
      And they would never call you to conduct to BF,because you are exellent maestro,and they are bad conducters (they are realy conducters,and realy bad ones),and they just dont invite good and respectable conductos to their orchestras.
      So you have to understand,we are unhappy to lose you,but we can not aford to lose mr,Tasovac,however hardhead he is. We have to look longterm…..
      I wish you all best….

      • kolega iz belgrade philharmonic n.2 says:

        i agree with you..there are always good and bad things you can say for everybody.We love maestro and what artisticaly did for the orchestra and we will miss him but this thing went too far because great number of people feel insulted right now.Musicions gave the statement and it was written by orchestra with honesty and love.best wishes to all

      • James Dean says:

        You are totally right, this war of words and mud slinging is being followed around the world. From the words of personal hatred, to what I read today that the musicians of the BF appeared in a pornographic magazine (Playboy), to the Director of the BF being compared to dictators, murderers, war mongers and Jew haters, Saddam Hussein, Hossni Mubarak, Moammar Ghaddafi. WOW!!!!! This is such an exciting script. I have informed an entire orchestra of this site, so we can all be kept informed, of development in this BF soap opera and the alleged dictator (not my words).

  12. Boris Bunjac says:

    I know that Mr. Tasovac and those who are close to him would like to present my statements as declaring a war but that is really not true. Everybody knows good things that he did for our orchestra and those things have been said so many times, why is than a problem to say critics that could help him to get even better. It is also very important that when those anonymous orchestra members are writing about Belgrade Philharmonic, they always speaks about last 12 years of Mr. Tasovac presence, and completely forgetting that this orchestra was excellent even during the last century as well. It is not polite to forget how many great musicians went through our institution and how happy they were for having chance to be members of that same orchestra. They were also proud of what we are now completely trying to deny with this great “Tasovac years” atmosphere.
    I have tried, during past two years to pay Mr. Tasovac attention that he should show some more respect towards musicians and he just refused to listen and after that decided that it is much better not to have me around, which is something that he usually do with people that are of no use to him anymore or if they just speaks things that he don’t want to listen (same case with maestro Rahbari). That is the point where everything starts, he don’t want to hear anything bad and that says a lot about a person. We can like or don’t like what people have to say about us but, I really think that we should at least try to make some conclusions that should allow us to became even better.
    I agree that anyone can have opinion and then it is quite alright to let me as well to say what I have to say. In letter that was sent by two concertmasters to mister Norman it says that it is ‘unanimous response from the orchestra’ (unaniomus – held or carried by everyone involved) which is not true because on the orchestra leaders meeting I excluded my self from the group, fully supported maestro Rahbari and said that if they are going to publish orchestra opinion they have to write that my name is not there. Mr. Tasovac at that moment said that it is OK if somebody have his opinion and accepted my exclusion, what happened then?
    Dear colleagues, those of you who write (unfortunately in no name form) and readers as well and all of you that I even don’t know, I have no wish to stay in front lines of battle and there is no victory that I can win, I only do hope that this silly video game, in which we have our rolls, stops and that we get some mutual respect based on some simple human values.
    I do miss times when word gentleman had a meaning in my country as well, it is clear that maestro Rahbari is acting having that in mind, I am willing to do my best, what about you Mr. Tasovac? Do you think that you can became a part of what is called Belgrade Phiharmonic Orchestra or you will keep trying to make our orchestra the part of YOU?

    • belgrade phill member says:

      Dear Boris, I cannot agree about many things with you.
      I am in the orchestra as long as you are,and in 1990s i,orchestra was in very bad state.
      It started to evolve into good one with arival of maestro Lajovic in 2001.
      I must remind ou that You had later on very bad relationiship with maesto Lajovic,almost like you have now with maestro Tang,and you have skipped every concert of his you could.
      You were close to mr.Tasovac,and his asocciate in running orchestra as a president of orchestra,and now you have confilct with him.

      So nothing is a black and white,there are many shades of grey….we love you and respect you Boris,you are best timpany player here,but we cannot support everything you think is the best for the orchestra.
      Sometimes you should listen to your coleagues and friends.

      • Boris Bunjac says:

        Dear who ever you are, I would like to listen what my colleagues and friends have to say but how is that possible if they don’t speak and you don’t show your name. If there are so many things you wanted to say wouldn’t it be easier if you just came to me, or maybe you prefer written word. My relation with conductors is really not something that you should judge, it is much better to let them say what they think. What you obviously didn’t understand is that I don’t care about directors, media, politics and all that exterior things that just draw my attention away from music, I don’t want to be in a middle of the war, I just want everything to stop, right now. There is nothing else to be said in this conversation and I hope that you will stop using my name, it just isn’t nice.
        And finally thanks for thinking good about my playing.

        • belgrade phill musician says:

          Dont look for my name,think about what I said-I wish no more than that.

    • Truthful says:

      Boris Bunjac,

      Since you wrote:
      …“he don’t want to hear anything bad and that says a lot about a person. We can like or don’t like what people have to say about us”. (It’s copy-pasted). So the question is, are you able to hear the opinion which is truth and different than yours?!
      You wrote:
      “Interesting detail about this process is that he made three separate meetings with different orchestral groups so that he could avoid any problems that might happen when you have 100 musicians in the same space. Also three different methods where used while approaching people minds.”
      As you very well know, after meetings with three separate groups, which were completely with the same subject and not with any different methods, the whole orchestra had a meeting with Mr. Tasovac, and you were there. People were talking freely, asking questions and giving opinions. Why did you lie about this?

      We can read your own words in the record from one of the meetings: “Orchestra has their brain washed.” And at the same time you give yourself the right to speak in the name of your dear brainwashed colleagues. That is so unmoral and sad that I feel sorry for you.

      Why do you constantly lie that musicians were thrown away from the orchestra? As you perfectly know the law says no one is allowed to hold two jobs at the same time. Do you think it is OK that some of the names you mention have two jobs, and some of the great musicians are waiting in the line? Do you know what word loyalty means? Everyone had an opportunity to choose their main job. Those people have chosen other places for their principal jobs, so their positions in the orchestra were taken by new members.

      This whole personal point of view shows how frustrated you are, that you try to twist the truth in every possible way. Did anyone from your “colleague friends” say to you how arrogant you are when talking to conductors? You are the only one with negative approach whenever conductors have something to say or ask you. Always looking from “above”. But it seems that you don’t have any friends left in the orchestra, since everyone is tired of your wrong interpretations and bad reactions. Instead of being a gentleman you act like our orchestra is a stage for your own melodrama.

      I am not your friend, and I am ashamed that you are my colleague, because whenever you step into the Philharmonic hall suddenly there is a black cloud above.

      Mr. Tasovac is total opposite from you. Positive, always smiling, patient to talk to everyone of us and being a real gentleman. Which probably makes you so jealous.

      I might understand that you have irrational fear of “something”, but you need to ask for help in some other institution, not in the BPO, and not in court. And maybe you want all of this to stop now, but it won’t. You insulted all of us. We are not glad anymore about anything you say or do!

      • Boris Bunjac says:

        There are only two categories of people in this kind of situation, those with names and the rest with no names. Among things that you said there is one which is really important, I didn’t said “Orchestra has their brain washed.”, I said “This meeting is brain washing“. It is clear who changed mine words because that text was then given to all musician and no correction came when I reacted first time I saw it.
        To say critics about someones work and attitude is one thing but this is hate that speaks from you and it is something that I can not take part of.

        • Truthful says:

          Boris Bunjac,
          Twisting the truth, again, since everyone heard what you said of the orchestra you play in being brain-washed.
          You are the only one here full of anger, fear, being negative, and feeling miserable all this time. Your obsession with the name and the face of the manager Ivan Tasovac is no longer issue here. [redacted: abuse]

  13. James Dean says:

    The Belgrade Philharmonic is more and greater than Mr. Tasovac. Mr. Tasovac is a mortal human who can be replaced and will one day be replaced.

    The Belgrade Philharmonic is not Mr. Tasovac!!!!!!!! The Belgrade Philharmonic is greater than Mr. Tasovac.

    This soap opera needs a nice exciting end. We have two script options. 1. Fire the guy!!!! 2. Make Mr. Tasovac, President of Serbia.

  14. rear beast says:

    mr.unheard off…we are talking about art here and because of your closed mind and poor emotional and sex life buy the magazine and you will find many articles about art,politics,police against mafia and other serious important things for the serious men wich are buying this magazine.Obviusly ,you are very old spirit .mr.Tasovac accomplished with his team great things because he was and still is openminded modern man.He understands needs of new century,new young capacity of playars,has a vision and with ALL his moves he is doing good.Maybe you don’t understand the world you live in.And as much as I know this lady you are bitching on is great violinist,sorry that she is beautiful also

  15. Michael Muller says:

    Dear Norman
    Here in Vienna , we have no idea about the Belgrade philharmonic and their director .
    But we know very well Maestro Alexander Rahbari.
    For my profession and my personal interest ,since few years i am visiting the rehearsals, recordings and concerts of the most famous conductors.
    From the beginning the name Alexander Rahbari took my total attentions because of his biography and his excellent opera recordings and specially his musical interpretations.
    Also from childhood in Bratislava, often i have heard that Mr. Rahbari is the best conductor.
    when i started to research more about him , i found him more talented than any other famous conductor.
    He is so quick on work and his ear ability is extraordinary and unbelievable to find the mistakes.
    when i found his signatures under two paintings in Dvorak concert hall in Prague and musikverein in Vienna , i started to discover another Talent of maestro.
    I was more surprised when i found his great compositions , peacefully character and humanity.
    The most important point in his life was, that he denied many times his benefits because of protecting musicians and orchestras quality.
    i have never seen this special character in any other conductors , even we can not find anyone like him in history of music.
    In CNN International i saw the following story:
    in 2005 in Tehran right after conducting Beethoven Symphony No.9 he risked his life in very dangerous situation and announced on stage, cancellation of his full programs just because of musicians low salary and he Severely criticized the government behavior and policies visavie the orchestra musicians.
    that could bring him to jail like many other artists in Iran.
    But later the result was positive and situation changed and musicians received 3 times more salary.
    That`s why i am not surprised by his action in Belgrade and i’m sure that he did not consider his benefits and certainly this decision will be big progress for Belgrade philharmonic orchestra`s future

    • sanja stefanovic says:

      Dear Mr. Muller,

      Thank you so much for this comment!! I am a great admirer of Maestro Rahbari, although I am not a person who has this “cult” of admiration anyone. But, because he is a real artist-I knew that before CNN- and we don´t have so much of that kind (I personaly know only Mr. Peter Feuchtwanger), I will stand up behind his words he said at the concert. Can I post your letter on my facebook page?

      • Michael Muller says:

        Dear Sania
        Of course you can publish it. if you like you can also publish this unique and fantastic documentary of CNN International.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHPP6wAaC7A

        with warmest regards.
        Michael Muller
        Vienna

        • sanja stefanovic says:

          Thank you very much! I think it is so unique today to have one stand in front of Orchestra and fight for the right thing as he did in Teheran!

          With warmest and kindest regards,

          Sanja Stefanovic, pianist

    • Boris Bunjac says:

      Dear Michael,
      your words came like a warm air in the cold night and I feel ashamed after many words of negative energy, some of them belonging to me, that were posted here. Musicians should stay together trying to make new path towards a better tomorrow and that is why I think a person like maestro Rahbari is very hard to be replaced.
      Once again thank you very much for your post and I do hope that life will find a way to bring us all together.

  16. Jannette van der Geest says:

    Dear Mr. Norman Lebrecht.
    My name is Jannette van der Geest.
    I am a South African mother of 3 children living in Germany.
    I am not a professional musician and to be honest, I entered your site by accident. The reason was the name of Alexander Rahbari.
    In my country many people, no matter if black or white, remember him as someone with a phenomenal personality.
    In times of Apartheid , while Mr. Mandela was still in jail, Ali Alexander Rahbari was very young and the assistant of Herbert von Karajan.
    He came to us to work with the national youth orchestra. I was 17 and it was the best time of my life.
    He was the person who composed the sensational Half Moon (half white half black).
    He was the person who, for the first time, brought more than 200 black singers to us, more than 100 white musicians in to the City hall of Johannesburg.
    For the premier of Half Moon in Johannesburg, Dr. Girth the director of Berlin Philharmonic and many ambassadors were invited
    This action was not only very difficult but also dangerous.
    With his responsibility and incredible courage he brought us to many black cities like Soweto or Sebokeng (in that time such an action was inimaginable).
    Half Moon was written in 3 black languages, was broadcasted not only in SABC, but in German television too.

    I am happy that after so many years Mr. Rahbari did not change his character and I could give this story to your journal.
    My children know this story with details.

    • thank you for sharing.

    • sanja stefanovic says:

      Beautiful story, enjoyed reading it.

    • Alexander Rahbari says:

      Dear Jannette
      I thank you very much for such a comment.
      My children know also this story very well.
      Please excuse me if i do not remember which instrument you were playing.
      For your information, 4 of the young musicians became conductor .
      Most famous one is Gerard Korsten Who is principal conductor in London and in Bregenz. He was around 17 in that time. 4 other musicians are playing in orchestra in Vienna and few others in Holland.
      The Serbian musicians are also very talented and musical .
      God bless you and your family
      Alexander Rahbari

    • Alexander Rahbari says:

      Dear Jannette
      I have forgotten to write to you that just after Half Moon I adopted Willem and Annalene Van Royen 2 children from your country.
      In Austria they became Rahbari after one year..
      Annalene has also 2 children and is medicine doctor.
      Today i am father of 7 children.
      Thank you again, you made me very happy.
      Rahbari

  17. Michael Muller says:

    Dear Norman,

    I made an astonishing discovery in your journal.
    While reading round 80 comments about the situation of the Belgrade Philharmonics I discovered something very new and unique for me.

    As I have already wrote you earlier, I see and document about many well-known conductors during rehearsals and recordings, and read a lot. I research the real conductors.
    Although Maestro Rahbari is one of the strictest and most ambitious conductors, and although almost all of these 80 comments had the chance to attack him anonymously (without being identified), none of the 100 musicians wrote anything negative about his human behavior or his musical ability with the Belgrade Philharmonics (during 3 years).
    For me personally, this is something incredibly new. I very much respect the Serbian musicians. Here in Vienna, something like that would look very suspicious.
    Even more surprising is that director Tasovac, who was criticized by Rahbari the most, also didnt comment on it.

    I still don’t understand what went wrong in Belgrade so that Rahbari had to abdicate many concerts during the best times with the orchestra, to criticize the professionalism of director Tasovac.
    With my experience and estimation, director Tasovac has lost a Partner who is, nowadays, very hard to replace.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Muller

    • sanja stefanovic says:

      Thank you, Mr. Muller, for this observation. I was very keen to ask the same as you did, I already asked why Mr. Tasovac was not so happy with Maestro Rahbari´s wish to record a CD in Vienna. Maybe this was the reason both gentlemen don´t work together anymore. But I got tired as this became a personal fight among orchestra members, it doesn´t have to do anything with the topic.

  18. The Colleague says:

    My DEAREST Colleagues, YOU who are reading all this and yet finding a great strenght of pacience NOT to take part in it, I would like to congratulate You and to share great admiration and love to You.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR DIGNITY AND RESTRAIN!

    tijana milosevic and boris bunjac look a psyhological term `embarrasement transfern (`transfer neprijatnosti` srp.) because thats what you are doing to us all the time.

    Colleague

    • belgrade phill musician says:

      Dear colleague,I must agree with you.This has gone too far,and is becoming very embarrassing to all of us.And sad.

  19. Alexander Rahbari says:

    Dear Norman
    As last comment in the Belgrade’s matter i am obligated to answer to one question which was sended to me by some good musicians.
    The question was, how is it possible that they could or can not see the unprofessionality of Mr. Tasovac so far as i did describe in my judgements?
    The answer is very simple, because for us, it is DEJA VU
    Most of your members know only this director and the rest maybe 3 or 5.
    But we know maybe 200 or even more.
    In Spain and Italy are full of Tasovacs , . even worst .
    In Tehran and Istanbul are lot of them and there seems very normal.
    Most of conductors know the difference between the professional and unprofessional directors but they talk about them only at home or somewhere save.
    Best wishes for you and your Journal

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