Court Orders Settlement Between Stuttgart Ballet and Conductor Mikhail Agrest

Agrest was dismissed following a disagreement concerning his choice of tempi, and later opted to bring the incident before a court on grounds of unfair dismissal

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A dispute at the Stuttgart Ballet over the sudden dismissal of conductor Mikhail Agrest was recently brought before Frankfurt's State Arbitration Court. Agrest was dismissed at short notice on October 15, 2021; he had only begun working in Stuttgart in the Fall of 2020.

The catalyst for the dismissal was a disagreement between Agrest and Reid Anderson, who was Director of the Stuttgart Ballet between 1996 and 2018. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that during a rehearsal of John Cranko's ballet "Onegin", Anderson, who had returned to the ballet as a guest consultant, took issue with Agrest's choice of tempi. A dispute ensued, and this was quickly followed by legal action.

According to the Stuttgarter Zeitung, the judge recommended that a settlement should take place between the two parties. The current director of the Stuttgart Ballet, Tamas Detrich, said in a press release that his main priority was to create a safe working environment for the company's dancers.

"Due to past and current events, I feel compelled to protect my dancers," Detrich said. "If dance and music are no longer in harmony, then we miss our goal."

Agrest himself has not issued a public comment on the outcome of the case.