Mr. & Mrs. Zukerman, Canada, Divan (Sic!)

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.  (Written by Same-Guy) There was a notable contrast with Mr. Zukerman, who remained silent and often projected about as much enthusiasm as a man standing in line at the bank. Over the course of the evening Mr. Zukerman’s most engaging playing came not on the violin but on the viola. On that instrument he commands an enormous, deep and beautifully burnished tone, and one wished the program included more violin-viola repertory… The level of polish varied widely; ovations and encores nonetheless followed like clockwork.


It could be enormous. Why not? However deep and beautifully burnished string sound from this human body standing/sitting in this posture? If you ever want to praise Mr. Zukerman’s music, you’d better take no picture of his performance.

Concerning his previous writings, this writer is a ***guy. (I’m still trying to find the exact vocabulary. I really need to study more of it. Serious? Cynical? Anyway, still enough young to believe in critical power and meddle in others’ business.)

Hence, I was real curious while reading his works. How many years will take for this boy to consume his superfluous energy or to realize whatever would be in vain?

Anyway, I believe he never wants to betray his instinct, nor to become a lazy bum, nor to even play the game with me. Then, I can show you something more. The aftermath of your work will be more rewarding.

In these days, I hardly search Google Groups.

To finish this fucking years-long writing work, I wanted to find something more. Then I found Barenboim’s Reith lecture series, in which I only read the section of FAQ. Then I wanted to know more about others’ opinion, concerning couple of questions asked by the participants:

Reasons to teach American music students, who would anyway not be able to get their professional job in American music society. 

Questions from the “real” Palestinians, who want to explore more about their identity.

So, I returned to the forums elsewhere hoping to find others’ opinions. To my surprise, this was what I found, instead. (Jan 13, 2006) Zukerman’s latest activities

Forumite-1: The pooch incident has come to symbolize what some close to the NACO regard as an alarming sense of entitlement on the part of the orchestra’s power couple. It may also offer a small clue in the continuing mystery of why Zukerman and Forsyth… At about the same time as his departure became known, Forsyth went on indefinite medical leave. Both have continued to perform elsewhere. They played together on Sunday night, at a Baltimore concert by the Zukerman Chamber Players, which includes three other Zukerman protégés from the NACO. The NACO has grown accustomed to giving the music director’s wife a long leash… Those responsibilities have never been more pressing than right now. The orchestra’s subscription-ticket sales dropped by almost 10 per cent between 2002 and 2004. Average attendance is stuck at 65 per cent (the TSO last year recorded 85 per cent). The NACO needs a new concertmaster, which after the conductor is the single most important position in the orchestra. Key musicians, like some critics, say that the quality of the NACO has deteriorated… Zukerman still has a veto over all hiring decisions, and his wife also votes on all string auditions. That’s too much power, say some close to the NACO, especially given the couple’s record of promoting players (and soloists) with whom they are personally friendly.

Forumite-2: Wow. Not very flattering. I will be curious to know how this all works out.

Forumite-1: Indeed. Zukerman has always been something of a Peck’s Bad Boy. I have experienced this over the years. And I say that despite my admiration for the sound he can produce from his fiddle and viola. There is another account in the Ottawa Citizen which actually quotes Zukerman on the issue. Apparently he claims there are some “rotton apples” in Ottawa. Needless to say, the musician’s union is not amused. Frankly, I think Zukerman has burned his bridges and will be gone for good. The blood he has spilled is simply too widespread through the orchestra. How silly to start boning one of the musicians – Ms. Forsythe – and then give her standing on ALL hirings among the string players. Let’s hope that others find her playing engaging, as she too will find her career finished in Canada as a result of this debacle. I have long since tired of seeing the CAMI-produced seasons of the NACO. All the same old faces year after year, the same tired repertoire. BOOORING!!! Zukerman’s main fault is his lack of sitzfleisch. This has always been the case, both as a violinist, and now as a conductor. He’s just plain lazy.

Forumite-3: “”Pinchas could argue with God, that the Earth is turning in the wrong direction,” said R. Zukerman’s ways have jacked up the tension level in the orchestra, especially when it comes to hiring new musicians. Until he arrived, hiring decisions were reached by consensus, after an open discussion by an audition committee consisting of the conductor and several players, including section principals. But Zukerman’s habit of belittling those who didn’t share his opinions prompted the musicians’ union to push for a system in which dissenting committee members could be shielded from the music director’s wrath. For the past few years, hiring decisions have been reached by secret ballot.” Geez. He’s a carbon copy of Barenboim.

Forumite-1: Not quite. Barenboim is still a fabulous pianist, if a less than stellar conductor. (although if he ends up taking over at La Scala, that will say something for his talents) And he has, shall I say, a rather larger repertoire. Do you know any other conductor who could play Moritz Rosenthal’s Papillons and also conduct Tristan from memory? Zukerman is just a lazy, if talented, musician. He had extraordinary gifts and he just wasted them.

Forumite-4: He plays the Rosenthal?  Unbelievable.

Forumite-1: To a fare-the-well. As an encore after a huge recital of Beethoven Liszt et al. It was simply fabulous and all mezzo voce. Rosenthal could not have done it better.

Forumite-3: I was referring to their arrogant and abusive personalities.

Forumite-1: Thanks for that precision. It was easy to take it as a blanket comment on them both. Nobody could ever accuse Barenboim of being either musically or physically lazy. Indeed, his schedule continues to amaze me, as he and I were born the same year.


I was so surprised to know this was what had actually happened. Does Furumite-1 know it was actually Barenboim who made this entire scene?

This has been what was in my mind/brain. Thanks to Barenboim’s active support to feed Mr. Zukerman as his Chicago-pet, Maestro Zukerman was able to achieve his dreamful life in another country, which both of them have treated as “inferior”. (It was also interesting to find Zukerman’s busy schedule in Spain while this Jewish pig was actively supporting only daughter of Dmitri Bashkirov, a Russian mentor in Spanish music society.)

Then I found out something more interesting again, while searching NYT critics’ old articles. Pinchas Zukerman had hardly received good reviews in New York, but his concert hall was still packed.

Therefore, I have been just thinking.

That Jewish musicians are determined to earn enough money in New York, and Canada is an enough inferior place for this famed musician to find a real happiness as long as  he sells his New York success. Then Spain is indeed more than a perfect place to practice his baton techniques.

I thought that everybody is happy and Zukerman is Canadian mentor.

What’s more…

American string sound was flowing to somewhere, since Zukerman’s active involvement in Chicago music scene as a leader of orchestra string section. That German orchestras are also following Zukerman’s teaching, which is welcomed by sold-out concerts.

What a surprising news… I wanted to know more.    

Forumite-1: Was it good? I know he has a fabulous reputation, so I’m surprised to hear Crescendo and Sky’s comments.

Forimites-X: bla-bla-bla

JIWON: So many informaiton from Canadian folks… thus I wanted to go further. You’d better read them later.  (September, 1999) The daughter of an award-winning composer, Malcolm Forsyth, and a former ballerina, Amanda studied with the legendary William Pleeth and played for the late Jacqueline Du Pre. “She was my idol,” says Forsyth… Forsyth is clearly optimistic about her future with the NAC. “I think the NAC is on the brink of a huge step up with Pinchas and the new bosses,” she says, referring to incoming CEOs.  (July 02, 2000) The world of North American early music was enlivened recently by an exchange between Pinchas Zukerman, the newly appointed music director of the NACO, and the music director of the Tafelmusik. Zukerman was quoted in a Toronto newspaper as saying he “hates” early music; that early music is “disgusting … and complete rubbish, and [so are] the people who play it.” Other modern players and conductors have said similar things, but not with Zukerman’s vehemence and not always in the media. Tafelmusik responded with an op-ed piece in the same newspaper. Tafelmusik wrote that Zukerman’s comments were “tantamount to calling computers disgusting and their users rubbish, when it is obvious … they represent the accepted tool for doing business in today’s world. Likewise, period instruments and performance practices have become today’s standard for performing music of the 17th through early 19th centuries.”  (December 20, 2005) NAC expects Zukerman to renew contract (December 21, 2005) Zukerman leaves questions for NACO: Orchestras go on strike, sometimes for months on end, as Montrealers found out recently. It’s much more rare for a conductor to walk off the job, especially when there doesn’t seem to be a dispute about money or working conditions. (January 12, 2006) Why has Pinchas Zukerman decided to snub his orchestra for the next six months? (January 13, 2006) Pinchas Zukerman has broken his silence about his abrupt sabbatical from the NACO, telling a California newspaper that there are “rotten apples” in the Ottawa-based orchestra who “have created an atmosphere that has to be eradicated.”  (February 6, 2006) The situation worsened dramatically after the conductor, speaking by telephone from his home in Ottawa, told a California newspaper last month that there were “rotten apples” at the NAC, who “have created an atmosphere that has to be eradicated.” Zukerman’s current contract ends at the end of next season, though Deacon said a one-year extension is likely even if negotiations for a new contract end with no result… Last month, Deacon’s office distributed a sheet of “talking points” to the players, with suggested answers for questions that audience members might ask. The questions included: “Is PZ a bully?” and “How many rotten apples are there?” In the scripted replies, players were encouraged to say they were upset by media reports about the music director, particularly those in The Globe and Mail. Other performing groups have made use of professional counsellors to work out their problems… Michael Namer, secretary of the Musicians’ Association of Ottawa-Gatineau and a retired member of the NACO, said that Zukerman’s willingness to meet with a facilitator was “probably a recognition and acceptance that there is work to be done by everyone.” But the idea of group therapy with the music director struck some NACO players as unbelievable. They said they couldn’t imagine the hot-headed Zukerman yielding to or even considering the advice of an outsider, and past experience may bear them out. Early in his tenure, when a team of professional market researchers arrived to deliver a report on the expressed tastes of the NACO audience, Zukerman asked if the researchers knew the key signature of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. When they said they didn’t, according to a NAC staffer who witnessed the scene, he replied: “Then why should I listen to what you have to say?” (March 07, 2006) Zukerman is a starry talent, a member of classical music’s inner circle that includes Perlman, Barenboim and Mehta… They call themselves the Zukerman Chamber Players, and they are terrific… Forsyth, the cellist, didn’t fully inhabit her musical ideas as she sent forth Brahms’ resounding phrases in the first movement, but otherwise, the weight and insistency of the music came through. A delightful encore followed, one that proved to be highly personal. To celebrate Zukerman and Forsyth’s wedding anniversary, the group played Elgar. When he was courting Forsyth, he used to play it to her over the phone. And they say romance is dead. (April 3, 2006) Zukerman announces return to NACO (April 5, 2006) This Special Spring Concert featured Amanda Forsyth, a remarkable award-winning Canadian cellist who made her Israeli debut. Not only is she gorgeous, but she plays the cello immaculately, and made an exciting impression. (Apr. 13, 2006) On the musical side, there was a rather disappointing rendition of Mozart’s Concerto No. for violin with Pinhas Zuckerman as soloist and conductor. The evening’s main message, however, was loud and clear: The IPO and its audience have great love and appreciation for Mehta, and, it seems, these feelings are mutual. (April 27, 2006) There was a notable contrast with Mr. Zukerman, who remained silent and often projected about as much enthusiasm as a man standing in line at the bank. Over the course of the evening Mr. Zukerman’s most engaging playing came not on the violin but on the viola. On that instrument he commands an enormous, deep and beautifully burnished tone, and one wished the program included more violin-viola repertory… The level of polish varied widely; ovations and encores nonetheless followed like clockwork.


To those who believe all my works are politically arranged here,

I recommend you to search Google by yourself. Just type Zukerman or his wife’s name, who someone believes as a resurrection of late Du Pre, then click the search button.

All I had to was to read everything and organize them in a chronological order. After reading them, I also recommend you to read Canadian forumites again. Don’t you still think they are just lunatic, slandering famed musicians as their pastime?    

Forumite-1: Was it good? I know he has a fabulous reputation, so I’m surprised to hear Crescendo and Sky’s comments.

Forimites-XYZ: bla-bla-bla

Forumite-2: I know many people who have studied with him and think he is a genius. Who knows? I could be an idiot.

Forumite-3: Whaditellya? This guy is toxic and has been toxic the day he arrived. I knew it was gonna be bad news. The sooner he leaves NACO the better. Too bad it has cost a half million US which only made his ego bigger. As I said before I KNEW that Ottawa was a stop over for him to load up on some spending cash after which he would leave a mess and abandon the orchestra. He has a history of not “appreciating” audiences outside the “big” cities such as London and New York. I hope NACO and every other orchestra will learn their lesson from this whole mess.

Forumite-4: Actually, in person Zukerman is a decent guy. He is taking a 5 month vaction, which is good. he seems to have run out of ideas, and taken the NAC as a stable 9:00-5:00 job. Berg was awful. It was played beautifully, but the poem of the saddness of a pure angel girl who died was rendered as an ensemble of screaming mixture of tranvestite and hetrosexual prostitutes staking out their turf, fighting over client, echoed by the harmonous sounds of frightened dogs, that segues into a police siren in C minor. In itself, it sounded fascinating… although nothing quite near Berg’s intentions. Zukerman is not pompous at all in person, and very friendly, warm and dearly loved by all the musicians. Like Pavoratti, Callas, when you run out of ideas, voice, etc., retire; you will look better.

Forumite-5: I have met Zukerman and know many respected musicians who also have and they all conclude that Zukerman is somewhat of a self-absorbed jerk and person. He’s right and no one else is. This was very much the impression I got from him in a masterclass and in meeting him. He can definetly put on the warmth and friendliness when appropiate (take the CBC’s concerto according to Pinchas) but the general vibe and experience I have had with him as a person has not been a positive one. I respect his dedication to music education in schools and some smaller communities but I don’t think he’s been the best thing for the NACO as a playing ensemble.


I promise that Mr. and Mrs. Zukerman will never give up their Canadian job.

I promise that Zukerman will pretend to do his best to follow your whatever words, after my open analyzing-or-insulting his tone making.

I promise that Barenboim will make this entire scene again, by more fervently supporting Zukerman’s conducting career, even by driving his string section into his style of music making. (Though poor Zukerman without Barenboim’s CSO.)

I promise that Zukerman will plan something again to kill my life behind the scene.

And this time, you are going to support this Jewish musician, with your great generosity.

I just hope that Zukerman could end up his professional/private life in Canada so that he no more destroys other inferior countries’ innocent ensembles, where so many string players are playing in an orthodox way. Canadian audience still adore his sound, and his concert hall is still sold-out, whenever he brings commercial names from New York.

Am I wrong?

Somehow, I don’t understand how Zukerman’s fourth(?) wife was able to openly interview that Du Pre was her idol. She says, she is a professional cellist. They say that she is making a heavenly ensemble with her husband.

Then she has no ear to listen to Du Pre’s ensemble with her lovely husband, who is hilariously destroying cellist’s talent? She has no eye to watch Du Pre’s miserable face during her performance with her proud maestro, Zukerman? Zukerman’s sitting posture was already rotten in those days. This foremost professional cellist has ever recognized this fundamental technique as a string player?

So weird, or so funny, or so purely political…

Somehow, I wonder why Zukerman’s wife’s early interview resembles Barenboim’s Divan’s.  (March 27, 2006) Palestine Human Rights Campaign Deplores Jerusalem Quartet Support For the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Lands (March 28, 2006) Legendary musicians honoured in concert  (May 1, 2006) Some tried to play Du Pre’s cello and they weren’t happy with it, but in my hands it worked from the very first second.

Anyway, Your Zukerman article prompts me to write another two stories.

I will finish it as soon as possible. I want to finish this work as soon as possible. I’ve wasted the entire day to find information about this useless musician. Only to prove my theory and my instinct… I am so sick of it.

To be continued…

Sincerely yours,


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