Support for LPO 4 rolls in

September 22, 2011
Sarah Benton

Artists protest ‘Philharmonic Four’ suspension

Complete letter and full list of signatories
Daily Telegraph

Dear Sir, We are shocked to hear of the suspension of four members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for adding their signatures to a letter calling for the BBC to cancel a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

According to a statement from LPO managers, quoted in the Jewish Chronicle (“UK musicians suspended over Israel Proms row,” 13-9-11) the action was taken because the musicians included their affiliation to the orchestra with their signatures (a convention which is common practice within the academic world, for example).

One does not have to share the musicians’ support for the campaign for boycotting Israeli institutions to feel a grave concern about the bigger issue at stake for artists and others.

There is a clear link being forcibly created here between personal conscience and employment, which we must all resist. A healthy civil society is founded on the ability of all to express non-violent and non- prejudiced opinions, freely and openly, without fear of financial or professional retribution.

The LPO management state that for them, “music and politics don’t mix” – yet their decision to jeopardise the livelihoods of four talented musicians for expressing their sincerely held views is itself political.
Why should it be so dangerous for artists to speak out on the issue of Israel/Palestine? We are dismayed at the precedent set by this harsh punishment, and we strongly urge the LPO to reconsider its decision.

Richard Barrett, composer
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, solicitor
Howard Brenton, playwright
Caryl Churchill, playwright
Siobhan Davies CBE, choreographer
John Harte co-director, Choir of London
Philip Hensher, novelist
A.L. Kennedy, author
Mike Leigh, playwright and film director
Ken Loach, film director
Miriam Margolyes actor
Simon McBurney OBE actor, writer, director
Steve Martland, composer
Annette Moreau Founder Arts Council Contemporary Music Network
Cornelia Parker OBE artist
Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Queen Mary University, London
Michael Rosen, writer
Alexei Sayle, writer and comedian
Kamila Shamsie, writer
Mark Wallinger, artist
Dame Harriet Walter DBE, actress
Benjamin Zephaniah, author and performer
Kirsty Alexander artist and teacher
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writer and broadcaster
Michael Attenborough, theatre director
Prof. Mona Baker, University of Manchester
Derek Ball, composer
Chris Bluemel, pianist
Richard Black, pianist
Ian Bournartist/filmmaker
Prof. HaimBresheeth, University of East London
Victoria Brittain, author and journalist
Michael Carlin, production designer
Jonathan Chadwick theatre maker
Prof. Michael Chanan, University of Roehampton
Sacha Craddock, curator
Andy Cowton, composer
Raymond Deane, composer
Ivor Dembina, comedian
Dr KayDickinson, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Dr HughDunkerley, writer University of Chichester
Tony Dowmunt filmmaker, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Patrick Duval, cinematographer
Gareth Evans, writer and curator
Moris Farhi, MBE writer
Dr Naomi Foyle, poet and writer
Jane Frere artist, theatre designer
Carol-Anne Grainger, soprano
Tony Graham, theatre director
Lee Hall playwright.
Michelle Hanson, columnist
Laura Hastings-Smith, film producer
Dr Wallace Heim, writer
John Hegley, poet
Matthew Herbert, composer
Prof. Susan Himmelweit
Mary Hoffman, writer
Dr Fergus Johnston, composer
Ann Jungman, author
Reem Kelani, musician
Judith Kazantzis, poet and writer
Conor Kelly, artist
Anthea Kennedy, filmmaker
Aleksander Kolkowski, musician
Dr Adam Kossoff, artist/filmmaker
Malcolm Le Grice artist, Emeritus Professor, University of the Arts, London
Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky
Jamie McCarthy, musician and lecturer
Dr Carole McKenzie FRSA
Ewan McLennan, folk musician
Jeff McMillan, artist
Helen Legg, curator
China Mcville, novelist
Lowkey, musician
Roger Mitchell, film and theatre director
Jenny Morgan, film director
Carol Morley, film director
Alan Morrison, writer
Paul Morrison, film director
Ian Pace, concert pianist
Sam Paechter, composer
Miranda Pennell, filmmaker
Jeremy Peyton Jones, composer
Henry Porter, novelist and commentator
James Purefoy, actor
Laure Prouvost, artist
William Raban, filmmaker, reader at University of the Arts London
A.L.Rees, writer
Lynne Reid Banks, writer
Frances Rifkin, theatre director, Utopia Arts
Leon Rosselson, singer songwriter
Martin Rowson, cartoonist
Dr Khadiga Safwatwriter
Sukhdev Sandhu, writer and historian
Dominic Saunders, pianist
Guy Sherwin, artist
Kevin Smith, art activist, PLATFORM
Prof. John Smith, filmmaker University of East London
Anne Solomon, violinist
Ahdaf Soueif, writer
Helen Statman, performer
Michael Stevens, co-director, Choir of London
Susannah Stone picture researcher,
Trevor Stuart, performer
Ingrid Swenson, director PEER
Alia Syed, artist
Jennet Thomas, artist, senior lecturer, University of the Arts
MirandaTufnell, dance artist
Prof. David Turner
Francesca Viceconti,artist
Michelene Wandor, writer
David Ward, composer
Samuel West, actor and director
Ian Wiblin, photographer
Andrew Wilson, curator
Eliza Wyatt, playwright
RobinYassin-Kassab novelist

The Times
From Steven Isserlis

Sir, I was outraged by the antics of the protesters at the Israel Philharmonic Prom concert a couple of weeks ago; but I am dismayed now to learn that four members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra have been suspended for signing their names to a letter that appeared in advance of that concert, in which it was claimed that the invitation to the Proms sent out the wrong signals to the public.
Profoundly though I disagree with the contents of that letter, it was neither disruptive nor illegal, and in no way merited such severe disciplinary action. Why is it that anything pertaining to the Israeli/Palestinian issue almost invariably results in such massive over-reaction on both sides in this country? I am reminded of the Monty Python bed salesman who was quite alright until the word ‘mattress’ was mentioned – at which point he would immediately put a paper bag over his head. Come to think of it, that might not be such a bad idea for some of the protagonists in this sorry affair.
Steven Isserlis, London N1

Suspension of orchestra members could set dangerous precedent
Letters, Guardian

The chairman of the LPO has a poor grasp of its history if he claims that “for the LPO, music and politics do not mix”. Among the many occasions when they have mixed at the LPO, the most notorious was the sacking of its highly admired manager Thomas Russell in 1952 because he was a communist. The trumped-up charges were brought by conductor Adrian Boult, who was swayed by cold war motives. Russell originated the outreach and marketing schemes for British orchestras that remain in place today.
Richard Witts
Edge Hill University

Whatever one feels about cultural boycotts (I am almost always opposed), it was astonishing to read (Report, 17 September) that the LPO has suspended four musicians for signing a letter to the press that urged a cancellation of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra concert at theProms. Tim Walker, the LPO’s chief executive, stated that “the orchestra would never restrict the right of players to express themselves freely, however such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself”. But although identifying themselves as members of the London Philharmonic, the musicians were clearly expressing their own views and made no attempt to associate their orchestra with their personal political stance. It would appear that it is actually Walker and the LPO’s chairman, Martin Hohmann, who are mixing up music and politics, thus damaging the reputation of one of Britain’s great orchestras. It could set a dangerous precedent, and one can only hope that they and their board come to see sense and rescind their decision.
Ellen Dahrendorf

• The London Philharmonic Orchestra has said the actions of the four members it has suspended “will not be tolerated”. There is something out of tune about an orchestra that does not “tolerate” freedom of expression. I do not support the cultural boycott of Israel. But I do believe in a society where people who do so are at liberty to speak out, identifying themselves professionally, without losing their jobs and jeopardising their careers.

Whether my college agrees with me I do not know. But I am happy to say that I do not feel apprehensive about giving my affiliation, nor should I. Nor should anyone – especially when their affiliation is as relevant to the issue as it was in this case, where the letter began “As musicians … “.
Dr Brian Klug
Senior research fellow in philosophy, St Benet’s Hall,

More support for the LPO four

Letters, Guardian

The plight of the four musicians summarily suspended from employment with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Letters, 19 September) continues. LPO chief executive Tim Walker and chairman Martin Hohmann announced this move as a response to the musicians’ signing a letter asking the BBC to rescind a Proms invitation to the IsraelPhilharmonic Orchestra on account of that orchestra’s role as an “ambassador” for the Israeli state. To identify themselves, the musicians said they were members of the LPO. They did not claim to speak for the orchestra; nor could anyone reasonably thus have read their signatures, four out of many, in which other affiliations were similarly stated. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Chilingirian Quartet, for instance, have not seen themselves similarly implicated.
The LPO’s action raises serious issues of freedom of speech. Yet the management went further still, stating: “For the LPO, music and politics do not mix.” The most cursory glance at musical history and, indeed, contemporary musical practice would demonstrate otherwise. As Daniel Barenboim’s work with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has shown, the contribution of many musicians to create a performance that is greater than the sum of its parts could hardly constitute a more political act. We also note the LPO was happy earlier this year to make a film, introduced by Mr Hohmann, voicing solidarity with Dutch arts organisations facing hardship and extinction from swingeing government cuts: what is that if not mixing music and politics? Whatever our respective views on cultural boycotts, citizens of a democracy should be free to identify themselves with a cause without fear of discipline or silencing. We call on the LPO to reconsider its decision and reinstate these musicians.

Dr Rachel Beckles Willson Royal Holloway, University of London
Théo Bélaud Music critic, Le Petit Concertorialiste
Dr Mark Berry Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Julie Brown Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Gavin Dixon
Dr Michael Downes Director of Music, University of St Andrews
John Fallas
Dr Lucy Grig University of Edinburgh
Dr JPE Harper-Scott Royal Holloway, University of London
Professor Michael Harris University of Paris VII
Dr James Helgeson
Maxim Kosinov Violinist
Professor Erik Levi Royal Holloway, University of London
Jonathan Manson Cellist
Barry Millington Editor, The Wagner Journal
Dr Anna Morcom Royal Holloway, University of London
Dr Cornelia van der Poll St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford
Gavin Plumley
Professor Julian Rushton University of Leeds
Professor Jim Samson Royal Holloway, University of London
Roderick Swanston Music historian
Dr Jeremy Thurlow Robinson College, University of Cambridge
Dr Ross Wilson University of East Anglia

Philharmonic hits sour note
The Independent
Sent 20.09.11, Published 24.09.11

(The sentence in square brackets was cut from the printed version)
We are shocked at the action taken by the London Philharmonic Orchestra in suspending for nine months four musicians who signed a letter to The Independent, requesting that the concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra be cancelled (letter, 30 August).

LPO chief executive Timothy Walker and chairman Martin Hobmann have stated that “For the LPO, music and politics do not mix”. It is a pity that the Israeli Philharmonic does not, itself, follow this approach by refusing to play for the Israeli Defence Forces within the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. Instead, by giving these performances, the Israeli Philharmonic endorses the Israeli state’s oppressive, illegal – and highly political – occupation.

Whatever the London Philharmonic’s intention in disciplining its orchestra members in this fashion, the effect, have no doubt, is to give very political comfort to those who daily destroy Palestinian liberty, lives and hopes.

We urge the London Philharmonic to lift the suspension it has imposed.

[and in so doing match its musical excellence with an equal acknowledgment of the human rights of the Palestinian people and to those Palestinians, Jews and non-Jews who campaign for an end to the Israeli Occupation.]

Diana Neslen
Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London W9

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