A letter to Lorin Mazel – by Terry Johns

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terry johnsLorin Mazel

This letter, written with some reluctance on my part, concerns the recent performance of Mahler’s “Resurrection” symphony in which you directed the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

I will begin by identifying myself. You will no doubt remember me as the horn player to whom you appeared to apportion the entire blame for the unfortunate absence of the off-stage players from their positions.

The torrential and ferocious verbal assault I was forced to endure would obviously have been spared to me had I been able to summon enough professionalism to play the parts of several other people (including my own) entirely from memory and from behind the stage. My only misdemeanour it seems was to have been the only player to have been where he ought to have been. and at the time appointed.

In the absence of music stands, music, several other players and the person, appointed to hold the door at the precise aperture according to your instructions, I decided that, discretion being the better part of valour, not to play at all would be the wisest course of action.

The absence of the necessary equipment from the ‘crime’ scene would seem to me to have been the clear responsibility of the BBC although there was no mention of this undeniable fact in your tirade against me.

Would it be churlish of me to suggest that your perfect and omnipotent self might have checked these important arrangements beforehand?

The dictatorial (almost wholly tolerated) and unreasonable blaming of others for one’s shortcomings is a powerful weapon in the armoury of non-executive musicians such as yourself, reinforcing as it does to “maestrophiles”, the illusion of power and indispensability that you have created for your miserable selves.

Had this outburst been an isolated incident of such hideous behaviour on your part, I would hope to have borne it with resolve and understanding. However, your demeanour seems to me to be a seamless sequence of petulance vindictiveness, selfishness and meanness of spirit, the worst of all being bad manners which you seem to reserve purely for use against orchestral players, the very people that give you prominence and adulation in public, and glory in the eyes of the critics.

I should be grateful to God that no offensive weapons or firearms were close to hand at the Festival Hall the other night, for judging from the loss of control you had obviously suffered I would have been fortunate to have escaped with my life!

One more benefit derived for me from this debacle is of course, that I shall not be required to make further contact with you.


Terry Johns

3 Responses to “A letter to Lorin Mazel – by Terry Johns”

  1. Cameron Kopf says:

    I, too, do not understand why Maestros ‘direct’ such temper tantrums at Musicians, when it is the Orchestra personnel who provide them with the wherewithal to become prominent in the first place. This sounds like shameful, counter-productive behavior in the extreme. It has absolutely no positive outcome.

  2. Malcia says:

    Who is Lorin Mazel anyway?

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