Ousted Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra conductor Venzago finally speaks out

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Former Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Music Director Mario Venzago is finally weighing in on his controversial termination.

Venzago, who lives in Germany, learned in July that the ISO would not renew his contract for the 2009-2010 season, which began in September. The decision to abruptly part with a conductor after seven years shocked local fans, the classical music world, and Venzago. He would not comment on the event at the time.

On Oct. 19, Venzago issued a statement via his personal assistant based in Indianapolis, Cassie Goldstein. Venzago said the abrupt dismissal has affected his ability to work this season, and that he received an outpouring of sympathy from Indianapolis.


Venzago recounted that on July 30 he received, “without any warning or expectation,” a short e-mail from Indianapolis Symphony CEO Simon Crookall saying his contracts for conductor and music director would not be renewed. He also noted that just one week prior, Crookall had embraced him at IU’s Musical Arts Center at a recognition of his artistic achievement.

“For me, as you can well imagine, this news was emotionally devastating,” Venzago said in his prepared statement.

Venzago said the current season required two years of planning, and he’d turned down “numerous” offers to conduct with other orchestras because of conflicts with his schedule here.

Crookall has talked about finding a music director who would ignite interest in the orchestra, especially among potential donors. Venzago, however, said he had plenty of support in Indianapolis.

“I have received hundreds of letters from ISO musicians, members of other orchestras, concert-goers, composers, people from Indianapolis and other places. They have confided in me how shocked they were upon learning of my departure and how much they loved and respected my work.

“In particular, the musicians described in touching, heart-felt words how much they loved performing with me. I have not been able to answer all of their wonderful expressions of concern and appreciation and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has written and spoken with me.”

Venzago added that he hoped people would continue to support the ISO financially.

“I will never stop loving this great orchestra in Indianapolis with its sensitive, enthusiastic musicians who gave of themselves so freely, and I will always be deeply moved remembering my Indianapolis friends in this warm-hearted and peaceful community,” he said.

Venzago had wanted to issue a statement in September but was advised against it, Goldstein said. She said there was no reason for the timing of the recent release, except that the conductor was finally comfortable with the statement he’d written.



  • Venzago's web site
    The entire text of Maestro Venzago's letter is posted on his web site. There are also anonymous quotes from letters and e-mails he has received. The web address is www.mariovenzago.com

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