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Archive image of a concert by the philharmonic orchestra at the Cervantes. SUR
Change of tune for Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra due to shortage of musicians
Music

Change of tune for Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra due to shortage of musicians

At present, the orchestra has four violas and four cellos for a repertoire that requires a minimum of ten violas and eight cellos - but addressing the shortfall of 15 instrumentalists has been complicated by Spain's employment laws

Regina Sotorrío

Malaga

Friday, 3 May 2024, 06:13

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Edward Elgar's First Symphony was scheduled to be performed this Thursday and Friday at the Teatro Cervantes in Malaga, although in the end it is possible: instead, the audience attending the concert will hear Beethoven's Symphony No 7. The reason: there are not enough musicians in the Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga (OFM) to tackle the English composer's score. The Labour Inspectorate's ban on temporary hiring to fill the vacancies in the philharmonic orchestra has forced adjustments to be made to the programme, which this week will be conducted by the Brazilian maestro Ligia Amadio.

At present, the orchestra has four violas and four cellos for a repertoire that requires a minimum of ten violas and eight cellos. Until now, while awaiting the public offer of employment to fill positions, vacancies due to retirements and sick leave were filled by professional services contracts, a practice which the provincial inspectorate of labour and social security of Malaga considers irregular and which has led to a sanction by the supervisory body.

As was made public in the last culture committee meeting of the city council, an inspection carried out in the OFM rehearsal room in December 2023 detected the employment of a total of 50 musicians between January 2021 and January 2024, "without registration with the social security on behalf of the employing company, which was reported for not paying the correct social security contributions". In other words, what is colloquially known as false self-employed for occupying positions.

The management of the consortium, in which the city hall and the Junta de Andalucía participate, justify that this is the only formula for dealing with the usual eventualities of an orchestra, and announce that they will appeal the decision. But in the meantime, recruitment is frozen until the auditions, which will be held in June. At the moment, there are fifteen vacancies, of which twelve have already been advertised as public job offers or interim positions to be filled before the end of this season.

This situation has provoked the unease of the committee, who denounce a "critical and chaotic" situation. "The OFM is once again making a fool of itself in front of international guest maestros," it said.

The management maintains that they limit themselves to complying with the rules and guarantee normality after the auditions: "There is no problem, nor do we make fools of ourselves. We adapt to the circumstances", Juan Carlos Ramírez, manager of the OFM consortium said.

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