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Dallas Symphony Orchestra Musicians Slam Conductor Jaap van Zweden for 'Tactics of Fear,' Ken Krause Weighs In

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on Dec 03, 2014 09:46 AM EST

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has had some internal beef with conductor Jaap van Zweden. While Zweden and audiences around the globe have heralded the orchestra's meteoric rise from 2008, the musicians are playing hardball with their maestro.

In the seventh season of the DSO, Zweden has been criticized for his abrasive style. His seeming lack of tact and empathy, accordingly, has put him at odds with his 93-member ensemble.

The Dutch conductor, who has yielded international praise for his ability to rebuild the DSO from its initial status as a third-rate company, is not the friendliest guy in the pit, certainly, but is he really all that bad?

Ken Krause, president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Professional Musicians Association, claims that the rift has been ongoing for the "last several months."

In an interview with the Dallas News, Krause contends: "The musicians have been telling me they're extraordinarily uncomfortable with the work environment, and they feel at times like they're being browbeaten excessively in rehearsals by the music director."

But Zweden feels his technique for leading an orchestra of this size is valid and necessary. As he says, "when you're not playing well, you're not playing well," and he makes it apparent that his honesty knows no boundaries — making him an irreverent authoritarian to most.

Krause continued to say: "We don't shy from high expectations. We have that for ourselves. So it doesn't require tactics of fear and intimidation on the part of the music director to get us to do our best work. That sums up where the rub is for us."

He concluded: "Nobody's complaining that he expects too much of us — it's how he's going about it."

So while orchestras across the country fight the big-wigs for more respect, it comes as a surprise that an orchestra this go-round has a more internal problem among the musicians. Hopefully, the differences can be put aside soon.

For now, check them out below:

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TagsJaap van Zweden, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Ken Krause, Dallas-Fort With Professional Musicians Association

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