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RPO Board Terminates Arild Remmereit's Contract

Arild Remmereit Photo
Hamilton Productions

The 2012-2013 season will be the last for Rochester Philharmonic Music Director Arild Remmereit, as the RPO Board of Directors decided to end his 4-year contract two years early. In a statement released Thursday, November 29, the RPO Board Chairperson Elizabeth F. Rice stated:

"Arild has invigorated audiences with his focus on women composers and lesser known works, and his energy and innovative programming will be missed. For a variety of reasons, however, the RPO has decided that it is best to move forward without Arild as music director. "

“The broader perspective is that this is an orchestra with 90 years of history,” says Mark Berry, the RPO’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. “It’s had many music directors; there will be more music directors. We have a pops conductor who’s been here for 19 years; it’ll be his 20th season next year. And most importantly we have an orchestra of musicians who come to play every concert.”

Mr. Remmereit could not be reached for comment but he did publicly address supporters on his Facebook page:

Remmereit has retained attorney Glen Pezzulo to negotiate with the RPO, stating that his client would like to stay.

“Arild loves being in Rochester,” said Pezzulo. “He’s relocated his family to the Rochester community. He would love to remain in Rochester with the support of the board and all the other individuals who are supporting Arild.”

Remmereit is asking for an opportunity to address the board, to present his position and talk about his status with the RPO according to Pezzulo.

“The RPO is responding to a letter my client sent to the RPO Board on Tuesday, November 27th outlining his concerns wherein the RPO is in breach of its contract with the maestro," Pezzulo stated.

Berry acknowledges that Remmereit did send that letter to the RPO Board.  “That is public record now,” stated Berry. “Our statement is that we acknowledge receipt of that letter, we believe there was no breach of contract, and the letter had no bearing on the decision that the board made on Wednesday.”

In a statement released Friday afternoon, RPO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik stated:

"In my 20 years as a member of the artistic leadership of the RPO I have been with this orchestra through many difficult times. Every organization undergoes changes, and I know that the RPO will weather its current difficulties to emerge as a more unified, stronger Rochester institution. I have complete confidence in our board leadership, staff, and musicians to deal effectively with our internal matters. Here in Rochester, we are blessed with a great orchestra that has always played-and will continue to play-at the highest artistic level. The RPO has a bright future as a cherished part of our community, and I thank you for continuing to support us."

The RPO is working out the details of Remmereit’s departure. The board has asked him to stay till the end of the season. Arild Remmereit’s next scheduled appearance with the RPO is on January 24.