Maestra Gisèle Ben-Dor (pictured) filed suit against the Santa Barbara Symphony on April 21, claiming she was bullied into resigning as director because she programmed too much Latin American music. Ben-Dor–who directed the Santa Barbara Symphony from 1994 to 2004 and conducted part-time since then–alleges that an influential minority of the symphony board disliked her choice of composers. She reported one boardmember saying that the Latin American music did not reflect “our heritage.” Ben-Dor further alleges that, as part-time conductor, she was given a mere 24 hours to choose between being fired or accepting a contract renegotiation drastically reducing her hours and pay. She signed the new contract without benefit of counsel, according to the suit. A symphony spokesperson denied the allegations. Ben-Dor will conduct the Santa Barbara Symphony for the last time on May 6 and 7 at the Arlington Theatre.
Originally published 12:00 p.m., May 4, 2006
Updated 2:24 p.m., May 25, 2006
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