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April 22, 2009

Critic seeks to compel deposition by elusive Welser-Most in suit against Cleveland Orchestra and newspaper

Just before the start of the 2008-2009 season, distinguished music critic Don Rosenberg found himself was demoted by his paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and barred from writing about the Cleveland Orchestra. Seems that the orchestra tired of Rosenberg’s negative assessment of that orchestra’s music director, Franz Welser-Most, and complained to the paper. The case caused quite a stir in the music world, especially among those of us in the critical profession.

In December, Rosenberg filed suit against his employer and the orchestra management. This week, his lawyer filed a motion seeking to compel Welser-Most’s deposition in the case. It turns out that the conductor has managed to be persistently unavailable. He has, however, offered a few hours on the morning of July 20, two weeks after the court-set deadline for depositions.

The motion asserts that Welser-Most “refuses to make any reasonable arrangement for his deposition testimony.” He “is entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration … but he is not entitled to be treated in some extraordinary and exquisite way.” The motion compares the conductor to “royalty” and “a prima donna,” and notes that “even President Clinton had to testify in a civil case while he was President.”


Posted by Tim Smith at 5:18 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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