Contradictory descriptions of Mester’s exit at Pasadena Symphony

Posted on: May 25, 2010

In Tuesday’s (5/25) Los Angeles Times, David Ng and Mike Boehm report, “The abrupt departure of conductor Jorge Mester from the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra two weeks ago came as a shock to many of the company’s musicians and faithful concertgoers. … While the company says Mester quit, his representative says he was fired. What seems clear is that Mester, who has been music director for 25 years, is well-liked by the symphony’s loyal subscriber base but is caught at a time when the orchestra is trying to attract new audiences and dig itself out of the budgetary hole it’s been in after the financially troubled Pasadena Symphony and Pops merged in 2007. … One symphony musician was reportedly let go for expressing outrage at Mester’s departure. John Acosta, the vice president of the Local 47 chapter of the American Federation of Musicians, said that the union has filed a grievance with the orchestra. … Pasadena is one of several mid-size orchestras around the country that are trying to cope with acute money problems, stemming in part from the current recession. … ‘There’s stress in many orchestras,’ said [Jesse] Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras, a national service organization. ‘Some are looking at this as weathering a few tough years, and some are looking farther out and asking, “Are there more fundamental changes we might need to consider?” ’ ”

Posted May 25, 2010