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Canada’s Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Removes Two Musicians From Website Following Investigation

Clarinetist Slavko Popovic and principal oboist Alex Klein did "not reflect the values or expected conduct at the Calgary Philharmonic"


A month after launching an investigation into “deeply troubling comments posted online,” the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has taken action against two principal musicians, reported The Globe and Mail

The names and biographies of principal clarinetist Slavko Popovic and principal oboist Alex Klein were recently withdrawn from Calgary Philharmonic’s website, and have been replaced with the heading “Position to be Filled.”

“We have been made aware of deeply troubling comments posted online that do not represent the views of the Calgary Philharmonic,” the orchestra wrote on Facebook in April. “We are urgently investigating these allegations as per our code of conduct and are working alongside the musicians’ union.”

According to The Globe and Mail, Calgary Philharmonic’s CEO Marc Stevens stated in an email that the orchestra would “address the behavior of two of our orchestra members” without naming the musicians or elaborating on said behavior. 

“I can assure you that we did not take these steps lightly but for the morale, safety and health of our organization it was deemed necessary,” Stevens wrote.

“We need to show our industry and music-loving public that there are consequences for inappropriate behavior,” the American oboist Katherine Needleman told The Globe and Mail

Also an advocate for fairer treatment of marginalized people in classical music, Needleman surfaced some screenshots on Facebook that had been circulating on social media containing injurious comments prior to the Calgary Philharmonic’s April statement.

Popovic is a young clarinetist who joined the Calgary Philharmonic after attending Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music; Klein is a GRAMMY Award-winning oboist who has previously worked with the Chicago Symphony.

The Globe and Mail added that neither Popovic nor Klein responded to requests for comment; the Calgary Musicians Association, which represents the orchestra members, declined to comment.

The Violin Channel did not receive a response from either Popovic or Klein after reaching out for comment.

“It was recently brought to our attention that individual members of our Orchestra engaged in behavior that does not reflect the values or expected conduct at the Calgary Philharmonic,” the orchestra posted in an updated statement on May 22. “Following an independent third-party investigation into the matter, the Calgary Phil is taking action. Due to privacy considerations, we will not be providing additional detail or responding to questions about specifics,” they added. “The Calgary Phil is committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment. Thank you for your patience throughout this process.”

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