London Philharmonic Orchestra 311 (R).
(photo credit: Arko Datta/Reuters)
LONDON – The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) has suspended four of its
musicians following their call to cancel a performance of the Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) in London earlier this month.
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The IPO played
at London’s prestigious Albert Hall on September 1, as part of the BBC Proms,
one of the most revered classic-music festivals in the world.
Sutherley and violinists Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan and Sarah Streatfeild signed a
letter as LPO musicians calling for the BBC to cancel the
Published in the Independent newspaper on August 30 as part of a
highly-politicized campaign criticizing the decision to host the IPO, the letter
referred to Israel as an “apartheid state” which impedes “in every way it can
the development of Palestinian culture.”
When the letter was published,
the LPO distanced itself from the four musicians saying that the views were of
the individuals, and not the company.
However in a statement released on
Tuesday, the LPO’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Timothy Walker, and
Chairman Martin Hohmann said that the LPO’s board had made the decision to
suspend the four to send “a strong and clear message that their actions will not
be tolerated” in the name of the LPO.
“The LPO has no political or
religious affiliations and strongly believes in the power of music to bring
peace and harmony to the world, not war, terror and discord.
orchestra would never restrict the right of its players to express themselves
freely; however, such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself and
must not be done in any way that associates them with the LPO,” the statement
“The company has no wish to end the careers of four talented
musicians, but the board’s decision in this matter will send a strong and clear
message that such actions will not be tolerated by the LPO and that for the LPO,
music and politics do not mix,” they said.
The BBC refused to heed to
demands to cancel the September 1 concert, however a live-radio broadcast was
halted after anti-Israel activists repeatedly disrupted the
The BBC broadcasted a recording of the concert the following
week, without the screams of the protesters.