Israel Chamber Orchestra Musicians Protest Dismissal of Music Director
The orchestra management's removal of Ariel Zuckermann has caused an outcry from the musicians, who have launched a petition to reinstate him
The Israel Chamber Orchestra (ICO) has dismissed its music director of eight years, Israeli conductor and flutist Ariel Zuckerman. Opposing the announcement, ICO’s musicians launched a petition, which has over 1,000 signatories to date.
The petition reads:
“We, the musicians of the Israel Chamber Orchestra (ICO), are shocked and saddened by the sudden, incomprehensible decision of our Board and management to terminate the contract of our musical director Ariel Zuckermann.
“He has brought immense artistic value to the Israel Chamber Orchestra, cultivating partnerships and bringing world class musicians to perform as guest artists with our orchestra.
“His commitment to excellence and his unwavering passion for music have significantly enriched our musicianship and performances, and inspired us to reach new orchestral heights. Ariel Zuckermann has the full and unanimous support of the ICO musicians. We are unwilling to accept his dismissal!”
While the ensemble’s musicians request for Zuckermann’s return, ICO management states that he was let go due to criticisms of the quality of his work and activities, Israel’s Haaretz news reports.
“The music director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Ariel Zuckerman, is ending his position,” the management said. “We are grateful to Mr. Zuckerman for a long and fruitful tenure as the director of the orchestra, and we wish him success in his professional career.”
Based in Berlin, Zuckerman began his music career as a flutist, and studied conducting at Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Music and the Munich School of Music with Jorma Panola and Bruno Weil.
In the 2015/16 season, he was appointed music director of ICO. Between 2004 and 2013, he served as music director and chief conductor of the Georgian Chamber Orchestra in Ingolstadt, Germany.
VC Artist violinist Stella Chen recently wrote on her social media channels a statement of support for Zuckermann:
Currently, ICO’s management is forming a search committee to recruit a new conductor for the music director role. The successful candidate will work with ICO alongside its CEO Anna Zimin, promote worldwide collaborations, improve its ranking, and help with fundraising.
“We firmly believe [his] contributions to the ICO are immeasurable, and that his absence will create an irreplaceable void,” ICO’s musicians countered. “We stand united in our refusal to accept his termination. We urge the Board and management to resign after taking this irresponsible, damaging decision.
“We kindly request your support in signing our letter and expressing your sentiments in your own words, if you are so willing,” they continued. “Your signature and voice will carry significant weight and send a strong message to the ICO’s Board and management that the artistic community and music lovers like yourself stand in solidarity with us. Together, we can ensure the preservation of artistic excellence and continue to inspire audiences with the power of music.”