Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Composer Bob Priest registers his thoughts about Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony

Portland-based composer Bob Priest wrote the following letter to the New York Times regarding the turmoil with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. He has allowed me to print his letter in Northwest Reverb. So here it is:

From: Bob Priest
Date: December 17, 2007 12:54:08 AM PST
Subject: "Gerry's" Seattle Symphony

I lived in Seattle for 11 years and worked with the Seattle Symphony on several projects ( "Penderecki Week" - 1988, and the Seattle Spring Festival of New Music and World Arts - 1992 with Toru Takemitsu as composer-in-residence). During this time, I established some fleeting "friendships" with a few key symphony principle players. While these fine artists rarely had anything positive to say about Schwarz, my personal experience with the "maestro" was relatively problem free. He was quite kind and supportive of my/our new music projects in a distant sort of way.

However, after reading your recent article about the intense bickering, politics and divisive gamesmanship surrounding Gerry's ongoing tenure with the band, it is abundantly clear that "The Ger" (as some have appelled him) should step down and move on . . . What I experienced first-hand and have recently read underlines the FACT that the present situation is far from being optimally conducive to trusting, sympathetic and forward driving music making. When "politics" assert their nastiness to this degree, anything other than a "regime change" merely prolongs the death throes of what is essentially the rotting corpse of a done deal.

Bob Priest
Marzena Performance Ensemble

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