I’m so thankful to have positions in both Opera San José and Symphony Silicon Valley. Should my playing falter, there are ways they can go about getting rid of me, but they can’t, on a whim, require me to re-apply for my positions.

It is a confrontation as passionate as anything seen between Javert and Jean Valjean, pitting Cameron Mackintosh against the orchestra of Les Misérables, one of the theatre impresario’s biggest successes.

Mackintosh confirmed yesterday that the members of the show’s current orchestra – some of whom have played with Les Misérables since it opened 25 years ago – were being forced to reapply for their jobs. The move follows plans for an expanded orchestra with three additional members to accommodate new arrangements for the musical’s score.

“This does require us to look again at the make-up of the orchestra to ensure we do credit to the score,” said Mackintosh. “I hope that as many of them as possible will be able to remain with us for the next stage of the show’s life. However, should personnel changes be required I must continue, as always, to put the show and audience first.”

Mackintosh’s assurance that he wanted to keep the Les Misérables’ London show “the world’s premiere production” have done little to appease its musicians. “I don’t think what they’ve done is the right thing to do,” said the oboist Adrian Rowlands, when contacted by The Independent. A flautist who has played on a Les Misérables national tour also confirmed the news, but declined to go on the record as he intended to apply for one of the jobs.



  1. I have been through this a couple of times. Hired as acting principal, then had to audition for “my” job again at the end of the season, even though by then the only way to remove me from principal (which they didn’t even want to do- they were just following procedure) would have been to create an additional position. Auditioned and remained as principal for the next decade until the orchestra folded due to a large deficit.

    Then a new orchestra was formed (still going strong too) and we were all invited to audition. My husband and I refused to audition (we had both played principal wind positions for years). Many people did audition and were not hired. Then they started calling us asking what we should all do next. If they had listened to us and not auditioned we might have had a stronger position. Don’t really know what happened to all those people…

  2. I’m so thankful that when San Jose Symphony crashed & burned and a new orchestra (Symphony SIlicon Valley) was formed we didn’t have to re-audition. I would have been a total wreck!