Have you ever wondered what labor trouble sounds like? Anyone in this business long enough likely has a story or two of inappropriate public behavior and/or actions on part of musicians and managers alike but these sorts of things usually remain in-house. But in the digital age you can bring the indoors out and that’s precisely what happened in the Richardson Symphony Orchestra as music director, Anshel Brusilow, was captured in an audio recording allegedly using rehearsal time to chastise the musicians and call one player out in particular over a labor action…
The 4:40 audio clip was originally posted at the Dallas-Fort Worth Professional Musicians Association website and is available there along with accompanying press release material. Neither the Richardson Symphony website nor Anshel Brusilow’s professional website have any statements referring to the incident.
In short, this is the sort of thing that drives personnel managers to drink and only serves to make a bad situation worse. If there’s something to learn here (and there’s plenty) it’s that everyone deserves to rant about whatever it is they don’t like about this business but it is best to refrain from doing so on the podium.
UPDATE, 2:30pm CT: After contacting the Richardson Symphony Orchestra and Local 72-147 American Federation of Musicians for additional details and/or statements, I received this from Ray Hair, President of Local 72-147 American Federation of Musicians in response to the reader question below about recording clause:
Yes, there is an RSO contract section prohibiting recordings unless authorized by the Union, but that section concerns ensemble media services, archival recordings and other media exploitation. That section was never intended to prohibit the recording by a member of an atrocity-in-progress, or to otherwise impede workplace self-defense. Obviously, we are appreciative that our members caught Brusilow’s vicious attack on the record. It will serve to publicize the unacceptable conditions which now exist in the RSO workplace, it will provide the evidence necessary to reinstate an injured member, and it may serve to deter the company from committing further abuses.
At the time of this update, there is no response from the Richardson Symphony.