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


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