Sackings Spark Call to Boycott Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

on Aug 01, 2012 10:05 AM EDT

An international musicians union has called for a global boycott of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), saying the orchestra sacked nine members for no reason.

The Paris-based International Federation of Musicians (IFM) posted on its website on Monday that Nor Raina Yong Abdullah, the orchestra's new chief executive had issued non-renewal notices to nine musicians including four founding members of the orchestra as a cost-cutting move.

The federation said in the statement that the sackings came "for no reason whatsoever... destroying their livelihoods".

"This CEO, with absolutely no music background, has never spoken face-to-face with any of the 'dismissed' musicians," said IFM in the statement.

The union called for musicians to boycott MPO's audition in New York scheduled for October 12, which was arranged for 14 positions, including vacancies created by the sackings.

Founded in 1998, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra is owned by state oil firm Petronas and makes its home in Petronas Philharmonic Hall in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

Among those dismissed from their positions as concertmaster, co-concertmaster, tutti first violin, tutti viola, section percussionist, principal timpanist and principal trombonist had been serving the orchestra for 14 years.

The statement noted that seven of the nine who were sacked have filed legal action with Malaysia's Industrial Relations Court.

The IFM also urged musicians worldwide to band together and write to Nor Raina and the MPO's new general manager Timothy Tsukamoto to voice their displeasure.

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