Boston Symphony Orchestra issues statement from Andris Nelsons

The Boston Symphony Orchestra don’t work weekends it seems. Or if they do, birthdays are more important than responding to PR issues.

Or maybe they didn’t see it as a especially big deal that their Artistic Director denied there were any issues around sexual assault in the classical music world.

In fairness, it was a bit of a tall order to expect Nelsons to speak for the entire classical music world. There’s every reason to assume that unless he wasn’t the actual perpetrator of sexual assault he probably hadn’t witnessed any incidents or been party to complaints of it going on.

The BSO didn’t necessarily have their eye on the ball. Lots of people were understandably annoyed about what was a clumsy response to a ham-fisted question during a live interview.

I’d still have hoped the BSO would have stepped up and issued a statement quicker.

Having said that, the statement clarifies what Nelsons failed to set out during the interview. I imagine the conductor will only be doing recorded interviews in the present of his PR handler in future.

During a recent interview with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH’s Boston Public Radio I did not express myself as clearly as I would have liked when asked about sexual harassment in the classical music world.

In my own experience working in the classical music industry for many years, I myself have not seen overt examples of sexual misconduct in my day-to-day work life. 

That being said, this kind of offensive behaviour, unfortunately, takes place in all fields, including the classical music industry.

All of us in the field must remain vigilant and fight against all types of inappropriate and hurtful behaviour, and continue the essential work of creating a fair and safe work environment for all classical musicians.

Though involvement in music and the arts can’t cure all the ills of society, I do believe that the inspiration they provide has the potential to help us reflect at times on the better angels of our natures. 

Or put more simply by Beethoven-the genius composer of the Ode to Joy symphony, considered the universal anthem of brotherly/sisterly love – ‘Music can change the world.’



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