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Petitioning The Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and 29 others

FIRE Charles H. Owens, CEO, and reinstate Music Director Arild Remmereit

“He sat right here and told me he would have Remmereit out within a year. Well, he did it – it took him a year and a half, but he did it.”
Betty Strasenburgh, former supporter of the RPO, on Charles H. Owens, CEO of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Charles H. Owens and Elizabeth Rice (Chair of the Board for the RPO) have refused to listen to the many fans and supporters of the RPO who were dismayed and upset by the abrupt termination of Music Director Arild Remmereit [as expressed in a previous petition, ]. While Rice will eventually face a term limit to her tenure, now is the time for patrons and supporters of the RPO to demand the departure of Chief Executive Officer, Charles H. Owens.

Careful study of the issue reveals that Owens’ manipulative leadership style is at the root of the problem. The hiring of Owens in 2007 coincided with the breakdown in communications and the emergence of a hostile climate in the RPO offices. This is amply documented by the many staff members who chose to depart after Owens was hired, and in their detailed exit interviews. Further, charges of sexual harassment against Owens added to the RPO’s considerable financial burden, as RPO funds were used to pay off the accuser. The veracity of the accuser’s claims is documented in surviving emails.

In hiring Arild Remmereit, Owens seemingly went along with the hiring committee’s advice, all the while planning to replace him with a more malleable Music Director, as soon as possible. The many musicians who are supportive of Remmereit obviously find themselves in a difficult position.

Clearly it is the dysfunctional administration that is destabilizing the orchestra, first by undermining Maestro Remmereit, and then by terminating his contract. Despite the lack of administrative support, Remmereit has done his job with great success – building and invigorating audiences, improving the connections with the community at large, and by raising the standard of the orchestra‘s performance to a remarkable degree.

Clearly it is time for CEO Charles H. Owens to go.

For more information on future plans please see the website at
While I have communicated with the supporters of the RPO who are building the above pages, this petition is entirely my own initiative. Liane Curtis

This petition was delivered to:
  • The Board of Directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra
  • William L. Cahn - Chairperson, Honorary Board
  • Patrick J. Kelly
  • Gregory W. Smith
  • Eastman provides facilities for the RPO; the RPO provides faculty and many opportunities for Eastman
    Douglas Lowry, Dean of the Eastman School of Music
  • The Eastman School of Music is part of the U. of R.
    Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester
  • John K. Purcell
  • Jeffrey A. Wadsworth
  • La Marr J. Jackson
  • David W. Ackroyd
  • Dr. John M. Bennett
  • William D. Eggers
  • Megan Henry
  • Robert B. Stiles
  • Ross P. Lanzafame
  • Ilene L. Flaum
  • Elizabeth F. Rice - Chairperson of the Board
  • Patrick C. Burke - Vice Chairperson
  • Patrick Fulford - Vice Chairperson
  • Marie Kenton - Vice Chairperson
  • Ingrid A. Stanlis - Vice Chairperson
  • Steven Hess - Treasurer
  • Jules L. Smith - Secretary
  • James M. Boucher - Immediate Past Chairperson
  • William E. Cherry
  • Dr. Steven E. Feldon
  • Dawn F. Lipson
  • Mark Siwiec
  • Keith M. Wilson
  • Deborah Wilson

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