KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — An international musicians' group has called for a global boycott of recruitment by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), saying the symphony sacked nine members without cause.
The Paris-based International Federation of Musicians (IFM) posted on its website a strongly-worded attack on the sackings, in a rare note of discord in the usually genteel world of symphony music.
The IFM said the Malaysian Philharmonic's new chief executive, Nor Raina Yong Abdullah, in a cost-cutting move had issued non-renewal notices to nine musicians including four founding members of the orchestra.
In the statement, posted on Monday, the federation said the sackings came "for no reason whatsoever... destroying their livelihoods".
"This CEO, with absolutely no music background, has never spoken face-to-face with any of the ?dismissed' musicians," the statement said.
It called on musicians worldwide to boycott the MPO, beginning with scheduled October 12 auditions in New York.
AFP was unable to reach the orchestra for comment.
Founded in 1998, the Malaysian Philharmonic is owned by state oil firm Petronas and makes its home in the iconic Petronas Towers that dominate the skyline of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.
Muslim-majority Malaysia has sought to tout itself as an Asian arts hub.
Among those dismissed from their positions were the concertmaster, co-concertmaster, tutti first violin, tutti viola, principal timpanist and principal trombonist, and include the orchestra committee chairman and his wife, the IFM said.
The IFM said seven of the nine who were sacked have filed legal action with Malaysia's Industrial Relations Court.
"The concept of firing long-term musicians, only to try their luck at hiring slightly cheaper ones, is disgraceful and beyond most decent people's moral comprehension," the IFM added.
It also urged musicians worldwide to band together and write to the MPO to voice their displeasure.
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