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Looks like this may be shaping up for some interesting legal wrangling over the exact relationship between a musical ensemble and its non-profit board. Perhaps this incident will have wider implications throughout the classical music world.
 

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I'm very sorry to hear that the DaPonte String Quartet musicians were fired because of the programs they offered. “It does feel a little strange to receive walking papers from an institute I founded,” says the cellist. I can imagine.

I find this sickening. Do I understand correctly - were the performers told to exclude works including Schubert Octet and String Quartets of Beethoven as a condition of continued employment?

Why doesn't this non-profit form another group to cater to different tastes...?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do I understand correctly - were the performers told to exclude works including Schubert Octet and String Quartets of Beethoven as a condition of continued employment?
Not being privy to details, I'm unaware of which individual works were on the performers' programs.
My impression is that this situation resulted from a 2-year tug-of-war during the pandemic between the Board & the Quartet - with both sides unwilling to yield concessions.

Even had DaPonte SQ ceased Beethoven & Schubert, their salaried positions were nonetheless not exempt from termination by a Board (seemingly) determined to no longer provide full-time benefits to its staff.
 

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“They said our music is insufficiently diverse in its representation of women and people of color,” he said. “It’s true that most of what we perform is the music of European dead white men, but that’s what we’re trained to do.”

So we have a group of musicians who just want to play and communicate the best music that humanity has to offer, vs. some people who regard music and musical institutes as useful material for political purposes.
How is this different from the situation in the former Soviet Union in the 1930's and 40's?
 

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This is what happens when the left (not liberals) take over everything. They are the biggest bullies and they destroy everything they touch. The faster people understand this, the faster they can fight this vile movement. You want to call it "woke" or "politcal correctness?" Fine. Just understand those are just euphemisms for leftism. Again, not liberalism. I want to live in a world where the Ctr Right and Ctr Left are present and dominant. The extremes on both sides are dangerous and destructive, and right now the Left is running roughshod over everything in Western Civilization. I wish more Liberals & Conservatives would stand up to this leftist garbage. There is nothing wrong with Beethoven and Schubert. Funny how Asians don't seem to have any problems with these "dead white European males." It's the only place on Earth where classical music is strong and vibrant.

V
 

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Thank you for responding to this forthrightly, unapologetically, and accurately. The debasing of classical music is part of the acknowledged agenda of leftists who aggressively seek to fundamentally change society. They are well organized and funded. Liberals and conservatives are neither. However, they share many of the same goals and values and there are more of them. Even though they don't want to see western civilization kicked to the curb, the preponderance wants to avoid confrontation and let someone else stand up for them. However, if they don't, then no one will.

Unfortunately, this is a political issue. Hopefully, others will heed your message and see it as a call to action.

On that note, time to listen to the chamber music of Beethoven or Schubert.

They are the biggest bullies and they destroy everything they touch. The faster people understand this, the faster they can fight this vile movement. You want to call it "woke" or "politcal correctness?" Fine. Just understand those are just euphemisms for leftism.
 

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I suggest that all (in the real world) treat this as a musical and artistic issue. As soon as politics is brought in there will be no solution and it will become a magnet for people who care more for politics than for music. Artistic differences can be painful enough without bringing in the politically obsessed.
 

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Would be ideal if CM programming could be treated as a musical and artistic issue. It seems that CM appears to have been politicized (like much else 😕 - certainly in the US) when venues, boards, etc. determine what will be performed based on non-musical attributes (stipulated in the decision of the non-profit board in Maine). When that happens it becomes political so preserving CM may require a bit of political will, as undesirable and filthy as politics is.
 

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Given the wording of "The organization will no longer serve as a full-time employer of performing artists", I have a suspicion that this is one of those budget-cutting moves that they dressed up in the language of egalitarianism to make it seem like they're doing the world a favor.
 

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I have a suspicion that this is one of those budget-cutting moves....
There may be financial motivation (too). Board does state that they will pay by performance.
At the same time - the cellist reported, “They said our music is insufficiently diverse in its representation of women and people of color,” he said. “It’s true that most of what we perform is the music of European dead white men, but that’s what we’re trained to do.”
 

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The fact that a) they didn't replace them with performers who were willing to perform a wider range of repertoire and b) they were clear that they didn't want to have full-time musicians in general is what raised my eyes.

Dressing up financially-motivated decisions in the language of activism is an unfortunate and distressing reality of modern discourse, be it marketing, political policy, or otherwise. I don't think anyone on any side of the political spectrum should be happy about the conflation of financial consumption and social politics.
 

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Playing devil's advocate .... any arts foundation has the power to establish their mission, or change an existing mission with new leadership. I have no problem with a funding entity prioritizing their support for underperformed composers/works such as those by minority or historically ignored groups. In fact I applaud this decision.

There are many string quartets who program the standard repertory and only a few that choose to perform works outside the traditional repertory. Classical music will benefit by broadening its palette.
 

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There are many string quartets who program the standard repertory and only a few that choose to perform works outside the traditional repertory. Classical music will benefit by broadening its palette.
That will, of course, depend upon the quality of the music being substituted for Beethoven, Schubert, etc.
 

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Playing devil's advocate .... any arts foundation has the power to establish their mission, or change an existing mission with new leadership. I have no problem with a funding entity prioritizing their support for underperformed composers/works such as those by minority or historically ignored groups. In fact I applaud this decision.

There are many string quartets who program the standard repertory and only a few that choose to perform works outside the traditional repertory. Classical music will benefit by broadening its palette.
But the funding entity was created precisely to support this string quartet...

As another note, I don't really agree, on principle, with organisations funding artists based on their political agreement with the artists choices (disregarding extreme cases, like not funding an actively pro-Nazi or pro-Marxist artist).
 

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That seems to be a very limited mission, and it would appear that the organization has evolved beyond that purpose. It now seems that the current board has declared a new mission.
"Evolved beyond that purpose" is an awfully polite way of wording "relinquished the task they were created to perform" and "t now seems that the current board has declared a new mission" is an awfully polite way to say "fired everyone in the old mission".
 

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"Evolved beyond that purpose" is an awfully polite way of wording "relinquished the task they were created to perform" and "t now seems that the current board has declared a new mission" is an awfully polite way to say "fired everyone in the old mission".
Thanks, I try to be polite. ;) But organizations often evolve beyond their initial purpose. I welcome any commissioning opportunities for living composers especially those who have historically been denied support, as opposed to yet another Classical music institution devoted to the standard rep.
 
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