While I cannot speak openly about details associated with Mr. Remmereit’s dismissal, I can confidently state that I fully support the RPO Board’s decision to terminate his contract.
To RPO patrons and supporters:
I would like to express sincere thanks and gratitude to the thousands of RPO members and patrons for your devotion and support over the years. I was appointed Principal Trumpet of the RPO in 1995 and have had the privilege of sharing great music with you and my colleagues for the past 18 years. In light of recent events I’d like to share some of my perspectives with you.
I do want to stress that while I have spoken extensively with many of my RPO musician colleagues, it is not my intention to express anything other than my own personal opinion. No matter how we differ in our interpretations, I am fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to make music with all of my colleagues and collaborate with their tremendous talents.
The decision to terminate the contract of Arild Remmereit has sparked sharp protest from some in our community. My remarks here are not directed at them nor do I seek to change their opinions. They are passionate believers in their cause, and I respect their right to support it. I too for a period of time considered myself an ardent supporter of Mr. Remmereit. Sadly, during his brief tenure he managed to destroy the trust that many had invested in him. The ongoing negotiations between RPO Inc. and Mr. Remmereit do not permit me to share details, and even if I could I am not sure if it would mean much to those whose support for Mr. Remmereit is unmovable and entrenched. I admire their passion, but feel uneasy about the disproportionate and overarching shadow that it has cast on evidence-based reason.
A sincere desire to know the truth starts with the admission of one’s own ignorance, and that usually means a lot of questions from all sides, especially if your intention is to engage in truthful and meaningful public debate. I’m astounded at the amount of misinformation, disinformation, and spin that has been promulgated in the press and on blogs by individuals who have little if any way of knowing what was really happening behind the scenes. These same individuals have launched into aggressive diatribes about what a disgrace the RPO Board is, and how they need to be removed or reconfigured and our CEO fired. Because I dared to express my opinions, I have even been told that I need to grow up and just follow orders. But the fact that many musicians have expressed reservations about Mr. Remmereit is more than justified; it’s an expression of healthy protest and a testament to our poise, maturity, and integrity as discerning adults. Informed dissent within any organization is a sign of strength, as it seeks to know and express the truth in ethical ways.
My perspectives are the direct result of a lengthy career as an orchestral musician. In my 27 years as a professional orchestral trumpet player I have worked with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. All told, I have played upwards of 4,500 concerts in North America, Asia, and Europe under internationally acclaimed conductors. Even before my professional career, I was exposed to inspiring conducting as a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center under Kurt Masur and Charles Dutoit. I was amazed at the level of musicianship and technique, was truly inspired by their gifts, and felt motivated to work harder than ever to make my dreams come true. I’ve been very fortunate indeed to be afforded opportunities to observe world-class conductors as both guests and music directors. My view is informed by first-hand knowledge of their leadership styles both on and off the podium, observing their interactions with musicians, staff, and board members alike. Over the years I have been able to determine for myself how and why certain organizations are successful, why some are not, and the various gradations in between.
Page 2 of 2 - While I cannot speak openly about details associated with Mr. Remmereit’s dismissal, I can confidently state that I fully support the RPO Board’s decision to terminate his contract. It was a lengthy, painstaking, and deliberative process -- and it was a decision that took courage and integrity. The RPO has a 90-year tradition of bringing great music to Rochester, and I feel more confident than ever we will be carrying on that tradition through the years to come.
Doug Prosser is principal trumpet with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and an ex-oficio member of the RPO Board.