The Seattle Times’ classical music critic Melinda Bargreen reports on the bizarre classical music news that occurred around the world in 2007. Unfortunately (and am I sensing a pattern here?) she neglected to mention a couple items from her own backyard:
The Seattle Symphony is being sued by a member of its own first violin section (violinist Peter Kaman) for discrimination.
After an extended search for a new concertmaster (to replace long time concertmaster Illka Talvi, whose contract was not renewed) which included an offer of employment to Baltimore Symphony concertmaster Jonathan Carney (which was subsequently declined), the Seattle Symphony hired an unprecedented FOUR concertmasters, all employed either by other orchestras or ensembles, to share the duties.
As part of his explanation for the move, Schwarz said that having more than one concertmaster was the usual practice in European ensembles (they can have up to four, as with the Berlin Philharmonic).
Usually, however, they are solely employed by the ensemble they lead, not part-timers who hold jobs in other orchestras – leading many to suggest that the move was a way for Schwarz to consolidate more artistic power.