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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Federal Lawsuit Over Global Warming Concert

MANHATTAN (CN) - After suing the Brooklyn Philharmonic for allegedly abbreviating his homage to "the science of Gaia," composer Nathan Currier wants a federal judge to green-light his dissemination of that concert.

The April 3 complaint marks Currier's second lawsuit over the fallout of "Gaian Variations" at Avery Fisher Hall on April 21, 2004, when union rules allegedly caused the music to stop after 33 of his piece's 37 variations.

Gaia theory, which Currier says is also known as "Earth Systems Science," views the Earth single self-regulating entity, according to the complaint.

Currier says the "Gaian Variations" performance on Earth Day event was "intended to raise awareness of and promote discussion concerning the importance of confronting climate change."

His 2009 lawsuit against the Brooklyn Philharmonic alleged that the bungled show invited a "scathing" New York Times review, as well as "mental strain and distress, humiliation, [and] exposure to public ridicule."

A Brooklyn judge advanced Currier's breach of contract allegations two years ago, and Currier noted Friday that the case later settled.

His new federal complaint in Manhattan takes aim at the American Federation of Musicians, specifically the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802.

Currier claims that he recorded the Philharmonic performance, which he now wishes to disseminate to the public, but cannot because "Local 802 has ... demanded in excess of $100,000 as payment for Mr. Currier's intended of the recording."

Though the union has pointed to its collective bargaining agreement with the Philharmonic governing the use of recordings, Currier notes that he "is not a party to the CBA" and that "the agreement does not incorporate any of the provisions of the CBA concerning audio recordings."

"Counsel for Local 802 has confirmed that local 802 will maintain this legally unfounded position and would demand payment should Mr. Currier seek to the recording," Currier's new complaint sates.

So obstinate is the union, Currier says, that it has even snubbed a "mutually beneficial agreement" that would have granted its musicians the "majority" of his profits.

"Mr. Currier engaged in these attempts not because Local 802 has any rights to the recording, but rather to avoid litigation against fellow musicians," the complaint states.

The composer seeks a judgment that the union has no right to prevent him from recording the concert.

His attorney, Rollo Baker of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, declined to comment.

A spokesman for the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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