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Belgrade Philharmonic Lampoons Law With Mock Ad For Conductor

Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra: Have suits, will travel.
Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra: Have suits, will travel.
The Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra has issued a public call for a conductor who has "a pleasing appearance, [and] owns a dark suit, white shirt, black bow tie, and a rod that can be used as a baton," RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

The unconventional tender is the company's way of objecting to a new public-procurement law in Serbia that came into effect on April 1. The legislation requires cultural institutions like the Belgrade Philharmonic to employ or purchase through public tenders everything from orchestral directors to the buttons on their tuxedoes.

The satirical ad was published on the philharmonic's Facebook page.

The orchestra and its director, Ivan Tasovic, describe the job as conducting "performances of the First, Third, and Fourth movements of Brahms symphonies," adding parenthetically that "other movements won't be performed because they are generally slow and dull."

Aside from a pleasing appearance and proper attire, the ad states that interested parties should include two references confirming that the applicant has experience "tying the laces on dark shoes." It also notes that those wearing moccasins need not apply.

WATCH: Zubin Mehta conducting the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010:

The ad concludes by poking fun at the tender commission. It says that as a sign of support for the Culture Ministry, the Belgrade Philharmonic will initiate talks with the Institute for Mental Health in order to fulfill all the requirements of the tender commission to be granted permanent premises on Palmoticeva Street, where the Institute for Mental Health is headquartered.

Serbian theaters and other cultural institutions have launched a campaign requesting to be exempted from the law. In the end, Bratislav Petkovic, Serbia's culture and information minister, pledged to make sure their request is met.

The legislation is meant to combat fraud and corruption in Serbia. B92 reported that the European Commission had suggested there were "irregularities in one-third of the procurements in [Serbia's] public procurement sector."

-- Written by Deana Kjuka based on reporting by RFE/RL Balkan Service's Iva Martinovic

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