Artists protest ‘Philharmonic Four’ suspension: full letter

From PACBI: Dozens of artists and academics have joined together to protest against the suspension of four members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for supporting the boycott of Israeli cultural institutions. Here is their letter in full.

Dear Sir,

We are shocked to hear of the suspension of four members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra for adding their signatures to a letter calling for the BBC to cancel a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

According to a statement from LPO managers, quoted in the Jewish Chronicle (“UK musicians suspended over Israel Proms row,” 13-9-11) the action was taken because the musicians included their affiliation to the orchestra with their signatures (a convention which is common practice within the academic world, for example).

One does not have to share the musicians” support for the campaign for boycotting Israeli institutions to feel a grave concern about the bigger issue at stake for artists and others.

There is a clear link being forcibly created here between personal conscience and employment, which we must all resist. A healthy civil society is founded on the ability of all to express non-violent and non- prejudiced opinions, freely and openly, without fear of financial or professional retribution.

The LPO management state that for them, “music and politics don’t mix” – yet their decision to jeopardise the livelihoods of four talented musicians for expressing their sincerely held views is itself political.

Why should it be so dangerous for artists to speak out on the issue of Israel/Palestine? We are dismayed at the precedent set by this harsh punishment, and we strongly urge the LPO to reconsider its decision.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Barrett, composer

Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC, solicitor

Howard Brenton, playwright

Caryl Churchill, playwright

Siobhan Davies CBE, choreographer

John Harte co-director, Choir of London

Philip Hensher, novelist

A.L. Kennedy, author

Ken Loach, film director

Miriam Margolyes actor

Simon McBurney OBE actor, writer, director

Mike Leigh, playwright and film director

Steve Martland, composer

Annette Moreau Founder Arts Council Contemporary Music Network

Cornelia Parker OBE artist

Prof. Jacqueline Rose, Queen Mary University, London

Michael Rosen, writer

Alexei Sayle, writer and comedian

Kamila Shamsie, writer

Mark Wallinger, artist

Dame Harriet Walter DBE, actress

Benjamin Zephaniah, author and performer

Kirsty Alexander artist and teacher

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writer and broadcaster

Michael Attenborough, theatre director

Prof. Mona Baker, University of Manchester

Derek Ball, composer

Chris Bluemel, pianist

Richard Black, pianist

Ian Bournartist/filmmaker

Prof. HaimBresheeth, University of East London

Victoria Brittain, author and journalist

Michael Carlin, production designer

Jonathan Chadwick theatre maker

Prof. Michael Chanan, University of Roehampton

Sacha Craddock, curator

Andy Cowton, composer

Raymond Deane, composer

Ivor Dembina, comedian

Dr KayDickinson, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Dr HughDunkerley, writer University of Chichester

Tony Dowmunt filmmaker, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Patrick Duval, cinematographer

Gareth Evans, writer and curator

Moris Farhi, MBE writer

Dr Naomi Foyle, poet and writer

Jane Frere artist, theatre designer

Carol-AnneGrainger, soprano

Tony Graham, theatre director

Lee Hall playwright.

Michelle Hanson, columnist

Laura Hastings-Smith, film producer

Dr Wallace Heim, writer

John Hegley, poet

Matthew Herbert, composer

Prof. Susan Himmelweit

Mary Hoffman, writer

Dr Fergus Johnston, composer

Ann Jungmana, author

Reem Kelani, musician

Judith Kazantzis, poet and writer

Conor Kelly, artist

Anthea Kennedy, filmmaker

Aleksander Kolkowski, musician

Dr AdamKossoff, artist/filmmaker

Malcolm Le Grice artist, Emeritus Professor, University of the Arts, London

Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky

Jamie McCarthy, musician and lecturer

Dr CaroleMcKenzie FRSA

Ewan McLennan, folk musician

Jeff McMillan, artist

Helen Legg, curator

China Mcville, novelist


Roger Mitchell, film and theatre director

Jenny Morgan, film director

Carol Morley, film director

Alan Morrison, writer

Paul Morrison, film director

Ian Pace, concert pianist

Sam Paechter, composer

Miranda Pennell, filmmaker

Jeremy Peyton Jones, composer

Henry Porter, novelist and commentator

James Purefoy, actor

Laure Prouvost, artist

William Raban, filmmaker, reader at University of the Arts London

A.L.Rees, writer

Lynne Reid Banks, writer

Frances Rifkin, theatre director, Utopia Arts

Leon Rosselson, singer songwriter

Martin Rowson cartoonist

Dr Khadiga Safwatwriter

Sukhdev Sandhuwriter and historian

Dominic Saunders, pianist

Guy Sherwin, artist

Kevin Smith, art activist, PLATFORM

Prof. John Smith, filmmaker University of East London

Anne Solomon, violinist

Ahdaf Soueif, writer

Helen Statman, performer

Michael Stevens, co-director, Choir of London

Susannah Stone picture researcher,

Trevor Stuart, performer

Ingrid Swenson, director PEER

Alia Syed, artist

Jennet Thomas, artist, senior lecturer, University of the Arts

Miranda Tufnell, dance artist

Prof. David Turner

Francesca Viceconti,artist

Michelene Wandor, writer

David Ward, composer

Samuel West, actor and director

Ian Wiblin, photographer

Andrew Wilson, curator

Eliza Wyatt, playwright

RobinYassin-Kassab novelist

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