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Letter of Support

January 25, 2013

Several of us have received a lot of letters from individuals who are rightly incensed by what the board has done. Here is one we would like to share.
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My husband Arthur and I have been attending (and became subscribers to) the 2012-2013 Season after seeing Mr. Remmereit at his inaugural concert in September, 2011: we were thrilled! Because we’ve recently moved back to Rochester, we were impressed with the progressiveness of our professional
musicial community, the RPO. How fabulous that Arild was being inclusive, community-minded, innovative, etc. etc. AS WELL AS being the charismatic and outstanding world-class conductor that he has proven to us to be! (His Mahler was a one-of-a-kind experience!)

In any event, we did attend the meeting at the Library last month and hoped that there would be some way to have the Maestro re-instated. (However, after last night’s meeting, we are getting more and more disillusioned with the “dirty politics” that seems to be going on with the Board–we still love and appreciate our musicians, but the Board is out-of-touch with what the majority of the donor and subscriber communities desire and desperately want: WE WANT ARILD BACK AS OUR CONDUCTOR!)

We are writing this to you, even though we feel quite guilty about it, but nonetheless it was to show our exasperation with the “powers that be” at the RPO. We have called the Box Office for a full refund of the remaining concerts at Kodak Hall (including tonight’s, which would have featured Mozart, one of
Arild’s favorite composers), as well as the ones we ordered for our adult children at the Hochstein (for Sundays). My hubby talked to someone who said that “refunds are NOT given”, end of story. My husband pushed on and asked to speak to someone else who had the authority to make the opposite decision. He was then connected to a Brian Piazza and my husband mentioned that the ONLY reason we had gotten season tickets was because of the Maestro and if he’s not there, neither are we. We were then told that fine, we can pick up our refund(bring unused tickets) to the box office tomorrow and we will get our refund, but to “PLEASE DO NOT MENTION THIS TO ANYONE ELSE!” because it is NOT their policy. Huh???

So, with a slightly guilty conscience I write this to you to let you know that there is a way we can show our opposition and yes, I know that the musicians could possibly be hurt in the process, but then again, someone who didn’t deserve the treatment he got has been unnecessarily slandered and brought
down by people who are power-hungry and inflexible.

We cannot be there tonight or Saturday evening–we have family engagements–but PLEASE consider us “rabid” fans and admirers of Arild. We know you are also …

Thank you for everything you’re doing to try and keep him here with us—it is much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Elena and Arthur Goldfeder (retired owner of the former Fabrics & Findings, Inc., now the Anderson Alley Artist’s Bldg. on Anderson and Goodman Street, across from the MAG)

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9 Comments
  1. “…yes, I know that the musicians could possibly be hurt in the process, but then again, someone who didn’t deserve the treatment he got has been unnecessarily slandered and brought down by people who are power-hungry and inflexible.”

    So, it’s ok to hurt the livelihood of the orchestra members you claim to support because you don’t like the people who have nothing to do with the actual music making. If anyone thinks that any administrator is going to do anything but use this loss in revenue as a way to cut musicians’ wages even further, you’re in La-La Land.

    I know that it’s frustrating to not have a concrete way to “bring the pain” to the people you really want to effect, but don’t for a second try to comfort yourself by explaining away how your actions “could possibly hurt musicians in the process” are ok because you’re valiantly avenging Rammereit. You’re giving ammunition to the next round of cuts for the next contract with the players.

  2. Brian Piazza permalink

    This is taken out of context. I said “I will see what I can do.”

    • Peter Maurer permalink

      Brian, I truly feel sorry for you. You’ve probably been the primary punching bag since Arild’s been dismissed, yet you seem to have no control over anything. You’ve treated me so well prior to all this nonsense. I’m sorry we’re now opposed in this conflict. Even if Arild leaves Rochester, it will not abate.

      Best,

      Peter

  3. ted cichanowicz permalink

    this is why the Board leadership must be removed. They totally fail to recognize how badly they have polarized so many….within the organization; the musicians; and the concert going public. Its not supposed to be like this at all. Their actions are not supposed to spoil a wonderful institution that exists to provide happiness and relaxation. Instead they have created a situation that is totally disgraceful with the clumsy, unnecessary way they have handled this.

    Wednesdays annual meeting was pretty sad. It was an ‘us vs. them’ affair–unprecedented in all the decades I’ve supported and enjoyed the RPO. The way it was conducted just left me totally cold. Can’t members of the Board see that they have become bigger than the orchestra…when in fact they should always be way back behind the curtains?
    The RPO needs a fresh start…there is probably no way we will ever see Arild back on the podium, but the continued presence of Rice and Owens will never allow the wounds to be totally healed. Yes, they scored a success Thursday night and will take full credit for it. However only time will tell just what fallout will ultimately result from all of this.

    How can anyone possibly trust this Board and cheer them on when they publicly announce that now Arild has been terminated because he didn’t fulfill his contract….after breaking his contract; telling him they don’t want him anymore; and not paying him. And then not telling the whole truth as to why he was not ‘communicating’ with them.What kind of looney tunes are we watching?

    The Board says he wasn’t a collaborator. To whom? They say he was hard to get along with. Did he do his job? Did he further the interest of classical music in this community? Did he make the musicians be all they could be? Did the audiences respond favorably? Do you think perhaps that Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Toscanini, Bernstein, Zinman were hard to deal with at times? Yet the results spoke for themselves.

    Fair is fair. Remmereit is gone. And his executioners should follow. Breathe deep. Fresh start.

  4. Brian, I know you are a kind, decent person, and that’s the way you do your job. It is so sad that you can’t even accept credit for being kind and understanding to patrons. Whatever your opinions, major change (NOT what has been done to Maestro Remmereit) in the running of the RPO might free you to admit that you treat the patrons well.

  5. AJMarini – We do not want to inflict pain or exact revenge. When people engaged in commerce will listen in no other way, the public resorts to closing their checkbooks. That is what is happening. We don’t actively support it, but report it.

    The musicians have made huge concessions in recent years. That is one of the many reasons they need to take back their union. They have just signed a 4-year contract at the same time that management says they have a $750,000 deficit, and that fundraising and ticket sales are going well. Which is it?

    The next time management comes back to the musicians with hat in hand, looking for yet another handout from the workers, the musicians must “just say no.” They are doing their job excellently well, and that is to play music.

    Management? Not so well. In their zeal to oust the Maestro, they have dealt themselves junk cards, and must now play their hand, even though it leads to needless expense and reduced donations and sales.

  6. Fass Martin permalink

    To the extent that the RPO seems to make it difficult or impossible to give refunds, they (the RPO) can then turn around and boast of the attractive revenue and how the box office has not suffered since the Maestro was dismissed. It follows that they can also say that few have even ASKED for refunds, as the gossip goes around that refunds are not permitted and people are discouraged. Or merely shrug and say, “OH, guess we should just GO and adapt to the change.”

  7. Kathy O'Shea permalink

    Kathy O’Shea permalink
    When all of this unfolded and it was determined that Maestro Remmereit would no longer be conducting tonight’s concert, my husband and I made other plans, and we really regret not being able now to be there to stand with you in protest with our pins. I hope supporters will consider further such demonstrations so our voices can be heard. I submitted a “Speaking Out” piece to the Democrat and Chronicle but it doesn’t appear they plan to print it. When others suggest we “just move on,” I believe they are naive; what other conductor/Music Director of Arild Remmereit’s caliber would wish to come into the division, destruction, and lack of transparency that has resulted here?

    • Kathy,
      Really appreciate your comments. I, too regret that I will not be able to attend this concert. My partner, John Sullivan is in the orchestra and Mozart is his favorite composer.
      Don’t give up on your letter. Please get in touch with the D&C Editorial Dept., by phone or online. Then you can find out if your letter is too long, or if they will print it. They always need your name, address and phone # for verification. Don’t give up – how long ago did you submit it?

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