Controversial online remarks from musicians spark chaos at CPO

Disturbing online comments by musicians cause upheaval at CPO

“The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has recently taken action in response to controversial online comments made by two members of the orchestra, sparking a wave of concern and speculation within the classical music community. The orchestra made a public statement on Instagram acknowledging the issue and emphasizing that the views expressed do not align with the values of the Calgary Philharmonic.

The Investigation and Actions Taken

After an independent third-party investigation, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra decided to address the behavior of two orchestra members, clarinetist Slavko Popovic and oboist Alex Klein. The decision to take action was made with the morale, safety, and health of the organization in mind, according to CPO President and CEO Marc Stevens. While the orchestra has not confirmed the removal of these two members, their biographies have been removed from the CPO website, raising questions about their status within the organization.

In 2020, Popovic was previously investigated for allegations of using racist and misogynistic language, leading to concerns about his conduct within the orchestra. The orchestra at that time stated that Popovic had admitted to using such language and was working to address the issue. However, the reasons for Klein’s sanction remain unclear, adding to the mystery surrounding the recent actions taken by the CPO.

Industry-wide Issues and Reflections

The controversy surrounding the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra members has shed light on broader issues within the classical music industry. Screenshots of inappropriate comments allegedly made by Popovic have circulated on various social media platforms, raising questions about the culture within symphony orchestras. American oboist Katherine Needleman has been vocal about highlighting misconduct within the classical music community, pointing out a systemic problem that needs to be addressed.

Needleman suggests that the classical music industry may be lagging behind other fields in terms of addressing inappropriate behavior, attributing it to a lack of accurate systems for translating and interpreting music from the past. She emphasizes the need for orchestras to create more inclusive and respectful workplace environments to prevent instances of misogyny and racism from being overlooked or excused.

Moving Forward

As discussions around the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s recent actions continue to unfold, it is crucial for the classical music community to reflect on the values and standards upheld within orchestras. Addressing inappropriate behavior and promoting a culture of respect and inclusivity should be a primary focus for organizations like the CPO and others in the industry.

By holding members accountable for their actions and working towards a more equitable and supportive environment, orchestras can pave the way for a healthier and more sustainable future for classical music. As the conversation evolves, it is essential for individuals and organizations within the classical music world to prioritize integrity, respect, and fairness in all aspects of their work.”



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