Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mr Cogito Congratulates Classical WETA-FM'S New Critic-At-Large, Honors Two Leading Women Music Intellectuals, And Challenges Sharon Rockefeller

Congratulations Jens [F. Laurson], on your appointment as Classical WETA-FM's new classical music critic-at-large. I have admired, for some time, your writings for Charles T. Downey's leading Washington, D.C. and national classical music and cultural blog,; and I respect you as a leading expert on recordings of European classical music and some of the personalities behind European classical music today.

I did not see you at last night's Library of Congress LOUIS C. ELSON MEMORIAL LECTURE AND ROUNDTABLE: THE CLASSICAL MUSIC "CRISIS" AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, which featured three of Washington D.C.'s leading classical music intellectuals -- Dr Joseph Horowitz, author of "Classical Music in America: A History of Its Rise and Fall" (2005) and artistic director of Washington’s Post-Classical Ensemble, musicologist Dr Karen Ahlquist, Chairman of the Music Department at The George Washington University, and Christina Scheppelmann [from Hamburg, Germany, European Union -- I believe] , Director of Artistic Operations, The Washington National Opera -- formerly active with leading opera companies in San Francisco; Hamburg, Germany; Barcelona, Spain, and Venice, Italy. [The roundtable was organized by Norman Middleton, musicologist and senior concert producer, Library of Congress.]

After the Roundtable, I indicated that I thought that it would be appropriate for your new Classical WETA-FM to program between 3 and 15% American classical music for the approximately 21 hours of daily classical music content, rather than the 0 to 1% at present.

Always the flaming moderate, I was upstaged by Professor Karen Ahlquist, Chairman of the Music Department at George Washington University and leading scholar of American classical music, who thought that 50% American classical music content might not be inappropriate for a 21st century publically-supported Classical Music radio station located in the Nation's Capital -- and the most highly educated metropolitan region in the United States.

Jens, could I ask whether you, and Mr Jim Allison, envision making Classical WETA-FM -- like the National Symphony, Washington National Opera, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and WETA-Television -- fully part of the Nation's Capital's intellectual and artistic life by including a more appropriate level of American classical music content?

I would also be interested to read Sharon Percy Rockefeller's opinion as to whether the new Classical WETA-FM should include 0%, 1%, 15%, or 50% American classical content.

Thank you.



Ms Meier, thank you very much for your kind comment and for your important correction, which I have incorporated above.

My error -- both incorrect spelling and title for Christina Scheppelmann, the Director of Artistic Operations-- was based upon material both on the Library of Congress Music Division Website and in the printed 2006-07 Library of Congress Concert and Lecture brochure. I assume it was a rare Library of Congress end of summer error which, unfortunately, did not ever get corrected. Thanks again for pointing this out.

I attended the lecture/discussion last night, and found the presentations by Mr Joseph Horowitz, Ms Scheppelmann, and Professor Karen Ahlquist all to be exceptionally stimulating. I wish that the short lecture and subsequent engaging roundtable would be presented on WETA Television -- if not on nationwide television. Those three presenters were clearly outstanding leaders of Washington's, and the Nation's, cultural future.

Ms Scheppelmann clearly enunciated the Washington National Opera's trailblazing commitment to American opera, despite the perceived operational difficulties (including some apparent Board resistence) of mounting one American opera every year in a season consisting of only seven staged operas. She also praised the commitment of young American (and world) singers, almost all of whom now have some American operatic arias in their auditioning materials.

My contribution to the evening was to ask whether other American opera houses might be encouraged to follow the Washington National Opera's example, and commit to producing one American opera every season. I also asked whether it was unreasonable to expect that Sharon Percy Rockefeller's Classical WETA-FM, in the Nation's Capital, might not be expected to include 3 to 15% American classical music in their 21 hours of daily Classical music programming.

Always the flaming moderate, I was upstaged by Professer Karen Ahlquist, musicologist and Chair of the George Washington University Music Department, who believed that 50% American classical music content on Classical WETA-FM, might not be unreasonable.


Don Quixote Goes To Washington...

Photo credit: (c) With thanks.


Blogger Drew80 said...

Hey, you have to let me put in a plug for my hometown.

With reference to "the most highly-educated metropolitan region in the U.S.", an article in the Wall Street Journal, two or three or four months ago, ranked Minneapolis-Saint Paul in the top spot.

I only skimmed the article, and I did not examine the methodogy used to make the rankings--I just thought it was interesting, nothinig more. I do not recall which city was granted the number two spot, but my recollection is that it was not Washington.

Having lived in both cities, I can only say that both cities have a very highly-educated citizenry, although both cities are greatly different. (Washington, of course, is a one-company town.)

Anyway, as I said, I just wanted to put in a plug for the Twin Cities.

I enjoy your blog.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Garth Trinkl said...

Thanks for your comment, Drew, and apologies for the delay getting it up. I had a cold the last few days. I have to reinvestigate the moderation function, since important comments are being delayed for too long.

Its interesting that D.C. still boasts as to its educational attainment even if the data are perhaps now out of date. One does see posters on the Metro boasting D.C. as number one. I believe they cite a George Mason U. study for the Board of Trade (by Dr. Steven Fuller?). Of course, these posters are surrounded by blanket campaigns for advanced military weaponry by the likes of classical music patrons General Dynamics. Also, it is debatable whether D.C. is a one-company town (you mean law and lobbying?)

Thanks again for mentioning the Wall Street Journal study, and for plugging Minneapolis-Saint Paul, which, along with Cleveland, I have, sadly, never visited. (Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, yes).

I'm thinking about a new post about Cleveland and its composer in residence program under Welser-Most.

Thanks again.

5:34 AM  

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