I won’t conduct Tehran Symphony Orchestra until problems resolved: Ali Rahbari

January 2, 2016

TEHRAN -- The music director of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Ali Rahbari, has said that he won’t conduct the orchestra anymore until the problems concerning the salaries of the orchestra’s performers are resolved.

The orchestra was scheduled to perform two concerts with Turkish guest conductor Erol Erdinç on Wednesday and Thursday, but Rahbari cancelled the performances on Wednesday morning after the orchestra failed to hold its planned rehearsals.

“Due to some disorder and mismanagement, the orchestra could do only two of four rehearsals set for the concerts. Thus, I saw that the orchestra’s condition was below the standards of what it had performed earlier,” Rahbari told the Persian service of MNA on Wednesday.

He said, “The orchestra’s performers are not paid regularly, so I prefer not to conduct the orchestra until the conditions are improved and the musicians are paid.”

“Unfortunately many musicians have quit due to disorder in pay over the past few months,” and added, “I have not resigned because I have promised to stay in Iran to rebuild the orchestra by all means.”

In a letter sent to President Hassan Rouhani early November, Rahbari asked him to settle the financial problems of the orchestra. However, no announcement was published about Rouhani’s possible response to Rahbari’s request.

In 2004, just a year before the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential election, Rahbari was invited from Austria to reorganize the orchestra, but he quit the following year over the low salaries paid to the musicians.

After his victory in the 2013 presidential election, Rouhani asked cultural officials to reinstate the Iranian symphony orchestras, which were closed down by the government under Ahmadinejad.

In March 2015, Rahbari was assigned again to restore the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.

Photo: Ali Rahbari conducts the Tehran Symphony Orchestra during a concert at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on March 16, 2015. (Farhang.gov.ir/Seyyed Mohsen Sajjadi)

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