Musicians Who Need A Push

It is notoriously difficult to fire an orchestra musician in the U.S. A strict tenure system and decades of tradition make it a tremendous challenge to remove a musician who is no longer pulling his/her weight, and more often than not, a music director is reduced to pleading with substandard musicians to simply retire, rather than force the organization to begin the long, drawn-out process of dismissing them. Ordinarily, the public never hears about such internal confrontations, but in Chicago, where the music director has often been heard to condemn the tenure system, an unusual number of recently announced ‘retirements’ have brought the issue to the fore.