NEW YORK, July 11 -- The American Federation of Musicians issued the following news release:
When Hartford Wagner Festival's Charles M. Goldstein recently announced the cancellation of the planned 2014 production of Richard Wagner's "Das Rheingold," which would have utilized a canned orchestra made up of sampled sounds, he claimed that "vicious and coordinated attacks on the Hartford Wagner Festival by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM)" had "forced the resignations of our Music Director and two of our performers with threats of loss of future work." These claims have unfortunately been repeated in various stories published in print and online.
There is no truth to these allegations. The American Federation of Musicians of the US and Canada (AFM) has issued no official communication to its members, nor encouraged them to speak out, nor threatened anyone associated with the production. In fact, this press release is the first official communication on the matter.
"The AFM didn't need to push this issue," states AFM President Ray Hair, "The fact is, musicians the world over--professional and student, union or not--rallied against this terrible idea, and the evidence is right there on the Hartford Wagner Festival's own Facebook page. This was a grass-roots, social media campaign, which was entirely driven by the artistic community.
The outcry was overwhelmingly negative not because of employment issues, but because it is an artistic travesty. When Mr. Goldstein dares to say his sampled toaster orchestra sounds better than a live orchestra, even as good as the Metropolitan opera orchestra, he insults the art form itself. He also insults all musicians who spend years practicing their craft in order to move, inspire, and converse with their audiences and fellow artists onstage."
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