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Bring back the Rochester Phil

Shaun Scanlon

It seems as though the only time I send a letter to the Daily, I’m angry about something. You’ve invited me to rant, so here goes.

My wife and I attended another magnificent concert by the Rochester Philharmonic on Wednesday, July 2, this time featuring pianist Olga Kern. We moved to the Vail Valley in 1999 and started attending Bravo! concerts in 2000. The Rochester Phil was good then, but over the years, under its music director, Christopher Seaman, it has just kept getting better and better. My wife, who has classical training in piano and violin, agrees with me.

Imagine then, my chagrin and outrage, when I read your paper the next day and discovered that the board of the Bravo! festival was not only terminating this outstanding orchestra, but replacing it with the Dallas Symphony! In our first years of attending the Bravo! festival, my wife and I went to concerts by the Dallas Symphony and (I’m trying to be kind here) their performances might have been considered good, but they were certainly less than great! I’m again trying to temper my remarks by observing that we have not attended concerts by this orchestra in a few years, and maybe they have improved as well, but they would have had to improve significantly to bring the caliber of their performances to the current level of the Rochester Philharmonic. I read in your piece on Thursday that they had appointed, or were about to appoint, a new music director. If their playing is still at a level comparable to where it was when I last heard them, they could certainly use a new music director.



It’s unfortunate that funding for Bravo! has declined about $200,000 since the Dallas Symphony was dropped from the schedule. As usual, as they say, “money talks.” I can only say that it would be wonderful if a very large group of not wealthy citizens in this valley got together to pledge funding to Bravo! contingent upon return of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra to the schedule at a future date. As you said in your July 5 editorial, the Rochester Phil is “nationally recognized” and it deserves that recognition. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. But if it did, I’d be willing to add my modest sum to that effort.


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