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Archive for symphony

duh. green music center. duh.

Taken from the Press Democrat’s article here:

“The price tag for the Green Music Center, meanwhile, has risen an additional $10 million, to $110 million, in the past year because of rising construction costs, said Susan Kashack, an SSU associate vice president.”

“This project is not in jeopardy and has never been in jeopardy,” Kashack said. “We have had to find more and more creative ways to work with donors in the community to support the growing costs. Construction costs have gone up so much in the last five years – not just this project, but all projects in California.” (tell me something I don’t know; oh, by the way, have you done this anywhere else before- NO!)

First of all, this is what I’ve been saying for the past 2 years. Its going to cost more than anticpated; the price is still going to go up and we won’t really know the final costs until a year after the opening. Why do I know this? I was there for the opening of Disney Concert Hall- the LA Phil’s new place- earlier this decade, OK?

Second of all, if you read the rest of the article, the Green’s are asking their friends and members of the community to pony up more money for this to be completed. But, you know who needs to pony up? Donald and Maureen Green. That’s who. They started this with a pittly $10 mil. What did they actually think that was going to build? An apartment complex? This is reality- and it was even in 1997 when they gave the money (probably because they didn’t want to pay taxes that year). I know they really originally wanted simply a choral hall- but it ballooned into something different- thank you Rubin? If it continues to bear their name, its their responsibility to give more. Period.

If they want to continue to have some authority, its only right that they give more. Here’s a recent request from Don, “”I’d like to see a dignified, constructive name on the hall,” Green said. 

Why put the community under such restrictive bonds that will cost millions more in the long run? Take the hit; make it happen; or release your naming rights.


Women conductors?

marin.jpgGreat article in The New York Times yesterday about women conductors, and particularly Marin Alsop. I had an opportunity to work at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz last year, but couldn’t make the move. She’s a tremendous force, and a wonderful conductor and innovator in the field dominated by men.

Here’s an excerpt, and you can see the full article here:

THE conductor Marin Alsop has strong artistic convictions that she puts into practice and expounds on readily. But there is one aspect of her career that she has been ambivalent about discussing: Ms. Alsop is a notable woman in a field that for whatever reasons continues to be dominated by men.

In September Ms. Alsop, 51, began her tenure as music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, making her the first woman to assume the leadership of a major American orchestra. When I, along with other reporters and critics, made this point in covering her appointment and, more recently, the concerts that commenced her directorship, there were howls of protest from loyal supporters of JoAnn Falletta, the music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra since 1999. But with all due respect to Ms. Falletta and her adventurous orchestra, from an industry perspective — in terms of budget, location, schedule, touring, recording and other factors — the Baltimore Symphony is generally viewed as a major American orchestra while the Buffalo Philharmonic, however fine, is not quite.

Whatever the case, Ms. Alsop’s appointment is a landmark. It is certainly being treated that way by the international news media, not to mention the marketing department of the Baltimore Symphony, which has mounted a promotional campaign inviting music lovers to join the “maestra” as she makes history.

a symphony post deserved

I had to talk about the amazing article in today’s SF Chronicle about the tremendous performance by the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel.


And, here’s why I’m interested. First, I love classical music and seeing passionate young musicians is always inspiring. Secondly, Gustavo’s next step is taking the baton from famed LA Philharmonic conductor Esa Pekka Salonen in a few years. This is just an example of how their gamble may have already paid off. Any of my old friends from LA Phil care to get me in on his first conducting appearance in LA???? <just kidding, i’ll pay!!>

Here’s an excerpt:

“If you were to judge the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela solely from the exhilarating video clip that’s been making the rounds on the Internet – the one of the young players and their music director, Gustavo Dudamel, kicking the stuffing out of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mambo” at London’s Royal Albert Hall in August – you might easily conclude that this is one of the most dynamic and daring ensembles around.

And if you caught their remarkable concert in Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday night, you’d know you were right.”

Read the rest of the article here.



This critic has some nerve. Not only are his facts inaccurate, he claims that donating to arts and education are “investments in the lifestyles the wealthy already enjoy.”

Read the article here.

See the great responses in the LA Times letters to the editor here.

And, here’s the first paragraph to get you started, or fuming…

“Is Harvard a charity? Most donations go to institutions that serve the rich; they shouldn’t be fully tax-deductible.

This year’s charitable donations are expected to total more than $200 billion, a record. But a big portion of this impressive sum — especially from the wealthy, who have the most to donate — is going to culture palaces: to the operas, art museums, symphonies and theaters where the wealthy spend much of their leisure time. It’s also being donated to the universities they attended and expect their children to attend, perhaps with the added inducement of knowing that these schools often practice a kind of affirmative action for ‘legacies.'” read more…

green music center

green music center construction

Sonoma state is still building the green music center, which hopefully, will be completed by the fall of 2009.

A bit of history: this project was initially conceived by Don and Maureen Green who seeded the project with a mere $10 million nearly 10 years ago. The figure of completing the hall, copied after the Boston Symphony’s summer home called Tanglewood, has grown exponentially year after year. Needless to say, its my humble opinion that the Green’s need to cough up a few more mill. Actually, 20 mil more would be good, considering the university is having to take out bonds just to cover construction expenses which will cost the school too much money in the long run. If these people really want their name on the building, its time they pony up the real dough. In LA, Lillian Disney and her clan donated over 50% of the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s construction bill.

So why do I care. The Press Democrat published a story about the lovely Jean Schultz, widow of Charles the Peanuts comic strip writer. Guess how much she gave to the center- $5 mil!!! That’s half of what the Green’s have given but they get naming rights? Hmmm…

And, while I’m on this particular soapbox, why doesn’t the center already have a staff? Deedeedee. They should actually try and take the lead from other organizations who’ve built halls. Although a small-minded town, they sure have a lot of confidence in themselves. Apparently reinventing the wheel is what they prefer to do.