HR Strange But True!
April 21, 2009

Time's up--stop the music! That's what the Brooklyn Symphony did when a composition ran long and threatened to require overtime for musicians, leaving the audience and critics confused--and the composer calling his lawyer.

It seemed more like a scene from a movie than a concert when classical composer Dr. Nathan Currier was called behind the stage during the performance of his environmentally themed symphony, Gaian Variations, which he had paid the Symphony $72,200 to debut.

The Symphony CEO reportedly told Currier that the symphony was running dangerously near 3 hours, the time when its union musicians received overtime, and there was no extra money to pay them. The CEO then asked Currier if he could “remove certain sections” to make it shorter or offer to pay the overtime, according to court papers reported by p2pnet news.

The suit, just filed in Kings County (NY) Supreme Court, says that Currier did acquiesce to the demands to shorten, but that the symphony instead continued with the original version and then just stopped cold--with 15 minutes to go before the overtime deadline. The result was a bad review in The New York Times and a composer so upset that he moved out of New York City, says a report in the New York Post.

The suit asks for $250,000 in damages from the Symphony, which just cancelled its unfunded performances due to cash flow problems, and which had no comment to the press on the litigation, according to the Post.

However, there may be a happy ending to this tale of the missing ending. Dr. Currier says he may drop the lawsuit if the Symphony agrees to play the Gaian Variations in its entirety.

Sources: New York Times, New York Post, p2pnet news

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