Here are some choice quotations from the Times article:
But like many long-serving maestros Mr. Schwarz has also made enemies and generated reservoirs of ill will among the players. Now a lawsuit brought by an orchestra member, scheduled for trial next month, suggests a more complete picture of dysfunction at the Seattle Symphony. It paints a damaging portrait of Mr. Schwarz, 60, who was long prominent on the New York music scene: as trumpeter at the New York Philharmonic, founding music director of the New York Chamber Symphony and music director of the Mostly Mozart Festival.I'm just going to say that Schwarz's long tenure at Mostly Mozart wasn't good for the festival, the repertory of which got boring and repetitive. The last few years have seen a great revival, thanks to the brilliant programming of Louis Langree. (Last year, for example, I saw Mozart's unfinished opera Zaide and a lot of music by Magnus Lindberg.) Note, also, the revival of the Boston Symphony under James Levine, replacing Seiji Ozawa, who overstayed his welcome by many years.
At least 15 current or former members of the Seattle Symphony have signed sworn declarations on behalf of that member, Peter Kaman, many of them creating an image of Mr. Schwarz as a vindictive, harsh taskmaster who has undermined morale. Even given the strong feelings players in many orchestras have historically had about their conductors, the degree of public criticism is stunning.
Then there's this:
The orchestra’s troubles, widely known in the industry, made it tough to find a successor to Mr. Meecham. The board hired an executive recruiter, Pamela Rolfe. In February she quit, blaming the orchestra for not revealing the extent of its financial problems, according to her resignation letter.That's a nice little quid-pro-quo.
Mr. Schwarz, meanwhile, was pushing an old friend: Thomas Philion, the president of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C., where Mr. Schwarz was the principal conductor. Mr. Philion was hired by the Seattle Symphony in March; Mr. Schwarz was named music director of the festival in September.
My favorite, though, is this, regarding a player survey that conducted by the orchestra members and buried by the Board of Directors:
A recently obtained copy of the survey showed that the players voted 61 to 8 in favor of new artistic leadership and 61 to 12 to form a search committee for a new music director. Players anonymously poured out a litany of complaints — some stated with eloquence, others with angry language — about Mr. Schwarz and the board’s attitude toward their opinions.You can't write off those votes as a few disgruntled players.
Honestly, the board is foolish to back Schwarz at this point. The Seattle Symphony may be "churning out recordings," but they're on Naxos. I buy them only for repertory, because, really, Schwarz is competent without being interesting. Long tenures, more than, say, twelve or fifteen years, aren't good for orchestras these days. Considering the level of talent out there, the Seattle Symphony could do much, much better.