In a single day, Berkeley Symphony's entire music staff disappeared.
Not that it was a large one - two people, five positions in all.
No. 1 was Kent Nagano, who announced on Friday his phased withdrawal
(http://tinyurl.com/2ewb7e), No. 2 (and 3, 4, and 5 - all in one) was
George Thomson, who quit those four positions on Friday, effective
Thomson, who has been holding the fort in Nagano's absence for 12 years,
but especially the past two (http://tinyurl.com/2yuvoo), was the orchestra's
associate conductor, artistic coordinator, director of the music education
program, and of "Under Construction."
Asked about Thomson's work in the past, Nagano has said: "Maestro Thomson
is an amazing person, an extraordinary musician, wonderful conductor,
friend and colleague." But, when the Friday announcement came around,
there seemed to be neither future role for Thomson in Berkeley nor an
acknowledgment of his contributions.
Thomson took the none-too-subtle message of omission in Nagano's
announcement, and quit because "the Orchestra has made a plan
for its upcoming seasons which of necessity excludes me from the
level of involvement I have of late enjoyed." On his website
(http://georgethomson.com/), he added: "I felt that my close relationship
to the musicians might be an impediment to the `international search'
for a successor to Kent that the Orchestra has chosen to undertake."
During the Friday interview with Nagano, when I asked if he himself could
have gotten his start in Berkeley as the result of an "international
search," he had no comment. On the administrative side, Berkeley Symphony
had a similar complete turnover not long ago when the full-time staff
of two left - executive director Garry Ginstling, to become director of
communications at the San Francisco Symphony, and operations manager
Heli Roiha, "to get a life" after many years of being on duty 24/7.
The new director is James Kleinmann, who accepted Thomson's resignation
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