By The Bakersfield Californian
Californian CEO Richard Beene made two disappointing choices in a recent blog item regarding John Farrer's upcoming departure from the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra ("Bakersfield Observed," May 3).
First, he chose to speculate that "lawyers are involved" regarding Maestro Farrer's departure without giving details; ironically, he accused the symphony of "pushing" the conductor out "for no clearly defined reason." Please, Mr. Beene, let your readers in on whatever facts are available, if any.
Second, the blogger posits that classical music is "a genre of music that appeals to an older, more sophisticated audience." What keeps audiences from growing is the proliferation of this elitist attitude, not classical music itself. The goal of classical music is not to serve upper-class retirees. Art, musical or otherwise, is for everyone.
It is demeaning to suggest that young people are impervious to "sophisticated" means of expression, and ridiculous to infer that a person will succumb to classical music in midlife, after having sown one's "musical oats" in popular music. As a Bakersfield Symphony violinist, teacher, Cal State Bakersfield instructor and Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra board member, I see young people every day who are fascinated with classical music. I know many music educators in our public schools who work tirelessly to make music an important part of every student's life. The Bakersfield Symphony itself has been committed to music education through the Young People's Concerts, due in large part to Farrer. We're all sorry to see him go. Please refrain from speculation and stereotyping.
Julia Lawson Haney