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© RIA Novosti. Anton Denisov

The maestro and the mutiny – Gorenstein threatens legal action

by at 29/09/2011 18:07

High-flying conductor under question Mark Gorenstein is threatening to go to the law after his orchestra forced him out.


Alexander Avdeyev, culture minister, sacked him on Thursday evening, almost a month after the fed-up musicians of the Svetlanov orchestra wrote an open letter calling for his head. Gorestein claims the letter was provoked by the Culture Ministry.


The instrumentalists wrote their formal complaint after what they said are falling standards and a hostile atmosphere. They are calling for Russian stars turned international Valery Gergiyev or Alexander Lazerev. Orchestra members call Gorenstein’s ousting their “Victory Day.”


To the courts


“Yes, it’s true, they fired me… I spoke to Avdeyev for an hour. I recorded the whole conversation and tomorrow I will give a press conference, well I will take it to court, of course,” Gorenstein told RIA Novosti soon after his dismissal on Thursday evening.


It comes after a build up of ill-will. “I feel I am forced to give an answer to this provocative company of people,” he told Ekho Moskvy on air in August.


And he said that higher forces were at work to give him the boot, “It is to the advantage of the ministry, and the musicians, they are an instrument to this goal,” he told the radio station.


Like May 9


Be that as it may, the bulk of the orchestra is playing a jollier tune over Gorenstein’s departure, “We are so sick of Gorenstein’s arbitrary behavior that today is like May 9, 1945 for us,” violinist Sergei Girshenko told Interfax as Gorenstein was lamenting his fate to RIA Novosti.


“We hope that at last we will be able to play real music and not this amateurish solfeggio, and that we will finally cease to be humiliated every second,” Girshenko said.


Controversial past


Gorenstein has been courting controversy for some time. He has fired 280 musicians since he arrived to take the helm of the orchestra, foreign tours have now become rarer and many famous soloists no longer want to play with them.


Fifty of those who fell foul of the maestro faced the sack in May, after they expressed health concerns about going on one of the few tours to Japan following the Fukushima nuclear fallout.


In July a video appeared of him on the web, showing him making xenophobic comments during a Tchaikovsky Competition rehearsal about Armenian cellist Narek Akhnazaryan. He subsequently withdrew from the competition’s program, citing health reasons.

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