Three musicians who were dis-invited from next year's Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra have been re-invited to perform in the group, after Music Director Donald Runnicles flew to Jackson Hole from Germany to attend a Board of Directors meeting Tuesday at which the dismissals were discussed.
On Nov. 26 Runnicles had sent the Board of Directors a scathing e-mail letter, distancing himself from the actions of CEO and President Andrew Palmer Todd, according to the Jackson Hole News & Guide. (You can read the full letter here.)
The three musicians -- bassoonist Juan de Gomar, violinist Jennifer Ross, and violist Kristen Linfante -- were issued termination letters in November by Grand Teton Music Festival management "on the grounds of 'comportment' and 'disruptive behavior." All three were long-time members of the festival orchestra who were deeply active in orchestra politics; two were members of the Player's Committee and one was a musician representative to the board.
Their sudden dismissal prompted the Musicians of the GTMF to circulate a petition to reinstate the musicians, a petition that has so far drawn more than 1,800 signatures.
In his Nov. 26 letter, Runnicles said that he never supported the dismissal of the three musicians, and that CEO Todd had misled the board by telling them that he did. Runnicles wrote that he had "grave concerns over the future of the GTMF, the misrepresentation of my opinion regarding the three dismissed musicians and the mischaracterization of the position and sentiments of such an overwhelming number of our musicians. Furthermore, most importantly, most personally, I distance myself completely from the mendacious and destructive courses of action of Andrew Todd, President and CEO of the GTMF."
Runnicles went on to say that more than 200 of the musicians of the GTMF orchestra had informed management that they would not participate this year without the reinstatement of their three colleagues.
The letter went on to say that "unless this self-inflicted crisis is solved soon, there will be no orchestra on the stage....on the opening night 2020."
The board also was presented another letter, sent by 15 past Chairs and Directors of the Festival, also asking for the reinstatement of the musicians and also calling for the dismissal of Todd. "The atmosphere is so toxic, mediation and other third-party interventions would be useless," the letter said. "You have more than sufficient grounds for dismissal." (Read the full letter here.)
The board said on Tuesday that Todd would remain CEO and President of the festival.
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