Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in London
UK: Musicians punished for anti-Israel letter
London Philharmonic Orchestra suspends cellist, three violinists for nine month after they signed petition calling for cancellation of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra concert in British capital
Music and politics don't mix: Four musicians have been suspended from the London Philharmonic Orchestra for nine months after signing a petition calling for the cancellation of a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in the British capital, The Guardian reported Friday.


Tim Walker, the LPO's chief executive, and Martin Hohmann, its chairman, said in a statement that the suspensions sent "a strong and clear message that their actions will not be tolerated …


"The orchestra would never restrict the right of its players to express themselves freely, however such expression has to be independent of the LPO itself."


The two managers added, "The company has no wish to end the careers of four talented musicians but … for the LPO, music and politics do not mix."


They said that the orchestra had no political or religious affiliations. "We strongly believed in the power of music to bring peace and harmony to the world, not war, terror and discord."


Cellist Sue Sutherley and violinists Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan and Sarah Streatfeild were suspended until June 2012 after signing a letter as members of the LPO denouncing the Israeli orchestra as an instrument of the country's propaganda.


The letter states that "denials of human rights and violations of international law are hidden behind a cultural smokescreen. The IPO is perhaps Israel's prime asset in this campaign … Israel's policy towards the Palestinians fits the UN definition of apartheid."


The letter, which appeared in the Independent newspaper two days before the concert, was also signed by a British composer and musicians from other orchestras in the country.


The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's concert was held on September 1 at the Royal Albert Hall, and was broadcast live on BBC Radio. The concert, which was sold out, was disrupted by pro-Palestinian protestors, but the musicians completed their performance after the activists were removed.


British media reported that additional protestors barracked the concert so noisily three more times that the BBC had to suspend its live broadcast for the first time in its history.


The audience, which was trying to listen to the orchestra play with famous Israeli violinist Gil Shaham, called on the protestors to leave the auditorium and alerted the Royal Albert Hall security guards, who removed them from the premises.


The protest continued outside, and sources in the BBC said they had been flooded with calls from pro-Palestinian protestors urging them to stop the live broadcast.



פרסום ראשון: 09.18.11, 08:44
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