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Okanagan symphony conductor claims wrongful dismissal

The former music director of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra was fired from the position, Dec. 1. She said her legal counsel has filed a claim for wrongful dismissal against the employer.
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Rosemary Thomson will be conducting her encore in court.

The former music director and Okanagan Symphony Orchestra conductor was fired from the position, Dec. 1. She said her legal counsel filed a claim for wrongful dismissal against the employer on Friday.

“I’m 100% confident that we will prove they did not have cause which makes them in breach of my contract, and I will be vindicated,” Thomson said, claiming the matter is related to a personal vendetta. “This is all heartbreaking and really unnecessary.”

In a press release, Thomson said the firing happened because of allegations relating to a recent OSO concert “with guest artists representing Indigenous cultures and improvisatory traditions outside the OSO’s classical roots, and are without merit.”

An email to the OSO was not responded to prior to press deadline.

Thomson served as music director of the OSO for 16 years. She said she loves the community and hopes to be able to continue making music in the Okanagan.

Through her role as OSO music director, Thomson was given the Honour in the Arts award by the City of Kelowna in 2015, and she won the Community Spirit Award through the BC Provincial Achievement Foundation in 2021.

She is also a national mentor with the Women in Musical Leadership program.

Beyond her musical career, Thomson is also known for her advocacy for people with ADHD. She was featured in a 2017 documentary called “Shiny Objects - The Conductor With ADHD.”

— This story was originally published by the Penticton Herald.

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