Gerd Albrecht, the German-born director of Copenhagen's Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra,
was forced to apologize for making an impromptu anti-war protest before a packed
concert audience last week.
Albrecht stopped the orchestra in front of a full house in Copenhagen's main
concert hall, and turned to a microphone to speak about the U.S.-led war in
Iraq. "Shall musicians always be silent?" he asked. "The answer
is no. I would like to protest against the Danish government, which supports
the U.S.'s bombing attacks against Iraq," he said.
Some of the orchestra musicians and audience members walked out in disgust
at the protest, and those that stayed to the end of the concert did not applaud.
The Danish parliament on Friday was in the throes of an unusually bitter debate
on the government's decision to dispatch two war ships to the Persian Gulf to
join Washington's "coalition of the willing" fighting in Iraq. Anti-war
protesters filled the streets of Copenhagen all week.
Lars Vesterloekke, the orchestra's director, said he regretted the incident,
but had no plans to sack Albrecht.
"I regret my lack of understanding of the rules and regulations applying
to DR's employees, when it comes to giving expression to private views,"
said Albrecht in a press release. "Obviously, had I been aware of it, I
would never have made the statement during the Thursday concert."
It was not the first time Albrecht has been in trouble for his political opinions.
In 1996 he was forced to leave the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra after a public
argument with then President Vaclav Havel over democratic principles in a post-communist
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