Academics and film directors voice support for suspended LPO musicians

Letters of support printed in The Telegraph and The Guardian

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Letters in the Telegraph and Guardian newspapers have criticised the decision by the London Philharmonic Orchestra to suspend four musicians who had opposed the appearance of the Israel Philharmonic at this year’s Proms.

In the letter to The Telegraph yesterday, film directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, along with other high-profile writers, actors and artists argued that ‘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.’

Around 20 academics and musicians also signed a letter, which appeared in today’s Guardian (23 September), questioning the orchestra’s decision.

The controversy arose after LPO violinists Tom Eisner, Nancy Elan and Sarah Streatfield as well as cellist Sue Sutherly signed a letter of protest, opposing the appearance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the BBC Proms on 1 September. They signed the letter with their name and ensemble, along with 17 other musicians from other ensembles.

The letter was published in The Independent on 30 August. All four LPO musicians have been suspended for up to nine months.

Earlier this month, one unnamed LPO violinist was suspended indefinitely after she made comments critical of Israel during a ‘Proms Plus’ session with three members of the Israeli orchestra for BBC Radio 3.

Nathan Comer