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Sacked music director is up for bad conduct award

When an aggressive management at the Rochester Philharmonic fired Arild Remmereit as music director early this year, half the players and a good part of the audience rose up in arms. They liked the Norwegian and, hey, Rochester’s not that kind of town.

Arild’s supporters fought back – vociferously, on Slipped Disc – and lost. Then along came the Rochester Chamber Orchestra and offered Arild the chance to succeed its retiring music director. He grabbed it with both hands.

Now, however, Arild has told the chamber orchestra that he won’t be taking the job next season after all, thank you very much. He’s been offered better gigs with Baltimore and Buffalo and his management reckons he’s better off as a travelling baton. That leaves the RCO with a gaping hole.

Ungrateful? You could say. Bad conduct? Definitely on the hotly-contested Slipped Disc shortlist.

Read full story below.



Remmereit leaves chamber orchestra post


City Newspoaper


Sept. 27, 2013

Conductor Arild Remmereit, who was to become music director of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra next season, has withdrawn from that commitment. He has also canceled his remaining appearance conducting the RCO this season, on October 27. The RCO’s longtime music director and founder, David Fetler, will lead that concert.

RCO board president Tom Paul said this afternoon that Remmereit asked to be relieved of his RCO commitments because future conducting engagements would make his work in Rochester impossible.

Remmereit will conduct the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on October 18, 19, and 20 and the Buffalo Philharmonic on November 2 and 3. And Paul said that Remmereit’s management firm wants to be able to secure other engagements for him in the US and in other parts of the world.

Remmereit was appointed to the RCO post in May after being terminated as music director with the Rochester Philharmonic late last year. He had the title of conductor with the RCO for the current season and had led the chamber orchestra in a well-received “Remembering Frederick Douglass” concert on September 19.

The RCO has begun a search for a new music director to succeed Fetler, who retires at the end of this season after 50 years.

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  1. I think everyone wants to be a freelancer today. Perform/conduct whatever, wherever, whenever I please, IF I please at all. The Albany (NY) Symphony has been blessed to have had David Alan Miller as its Music Director for >25 years. He has made a profound difference, energizing, challenging an orchestra that had become somewhat mediocre or at least stagnant I think it may be because of all the turmoil e.g. Minnesota, e.g. Better, perhaps, not to be tied down to a contract only to find the ensemble battling labor/economic problems (City Opera, e.g.) and take yourself where you will, when you will. I cant blame Remmereit. On one hand, it might have been nice to stick it to the Rochester Philharmonic. On the other hand, is it worth it? I don’t know what the answer is. Until we find a way to provide the arts with secure funding, guaranteed streams of revenue and yet protect them from someone throwing a hissy fit because theyre “offended,” (again the biggest industry in the US & maybe the world) & withdrawing a chunk of funding or publicly declaiming their umbrage, I almost cant blame a lot of artists for going the freelance route. Have baton/instrument/voice, will perform….

  2. I don’t get it, (I beleive) the Rochester Chamer Orch has only a five week season, even if Remmereit conducted three or four weeks of the season there is no big committment. There must be something else going on…not worth the animosity and bad PR to jilt that ensemble late in the game.

  3. Considering the unseemly haste with which Remmereit has left town, and the predicament his actions have placed the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Fetler and the RCO’s patrons in, may I suggest that his personal anthem should be the theme from “Shaft”?

  4. Take a look at Rochester Chamber Orchestra’s finances on Guidestar. Last year, their revenues were $50,000. That’s not an orchestra where Mr. Remmereit wants to be. My guess is that he was willing to hang around in Rochester and conduct them, so long as he still held hope to get back in front of the Philharmonic. Since that door has really closed, he’s not going to stick around–and who would?

  5. Sarah McKee says:

    Poor Arild. The RCO and Dr. Fetler generously allow him to save face by offering him the position of music director at the end of the year. And the Rochester music community, many of whom strongly and vociferously supported him in his losing battle with the RPO, shower him with praise for his most recent concert. And how are Dr. Fetler, the RCO and the community repaid? Remmereit quits without a moment’s notice, bailing out on his responsibilities and his commitments for the most transparent of excuses. And still the RCO is gracious enough to go along with his charade so that he again save both of his faces.

    • As members of the Rochester Chamber Orchestra Board of Directors, we wish to respond to a posting on your website that unfairly and inaccurately depicts our friend, Arild Remmereit, as someone whose only interest is his own financial gain. Nothing could be further from the truth. Arild is not only one of the most brilliant conductors we have ever known, he is an idealist who has passionately reached out to the underprivileged in our community, seeking collaboration in a wide range of shared artistic initiatives. His dream is to create a youth orchestra promoting the memory of Frederick Douglass, the former slave who became a Rochester resident and who led the abolitionist movement in our country. An endeavor such as this will certainly not make him wealthy. We think that Maestro Remmereit deserves your apology.

      Tom Paul, President, on behalf of the entire board, in unanimous agreement.

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