Thursday, March 16, 2006

Another Obituary

The past year and half has not been very kind to us as far as deaths are concerned. My wife lost her mother in an accident and just recently her dearest sister to cancer. Many of my beloved friends and colleagues have died: in addition to Hermann Michael and Milton Katims, a longtime friend, violinist-turned-diplomat Edgar Borup passed away last summer in Bellevue. I had known him since he was the U.S. Cultural Attaché in Helsinki around 1970. Later we found ourselves living here in the Pacific Northwest and were able to renew our friendship again.

Another plug was pulled last night when the board of my wife's Northwest Chamber Orchestra voted to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, right before two planned tours to Michigan and Finland. After 33 years of bringing beautiful music to the Seattle community the group has had its financial ups and downs, but this time it fell victim to a certain clique's ill will. Although the orchestra's main fundraiser just a couple weeks ago was well attended, a lot of wines and other items to be auctioned off were withdrawn last minute, thanks to outside interference and the proceeds did not meet expectations. Even an article with a negative spin was planted in one of the dailies just prior to the event. Obviously the orchestra had been a thorn on the side of certain local influential folks and they had done their best to set the organization up for failure. Some sizable pledges given were not honored, although this would have been pocket change for the 'philanthropic' individuals. Others who wanted to be in charge of running the ship were not willing to donate a dime. Some terrible miscalculations were made a number of times, whether artistic or administrative. This group, unlike most others of its kind, provided health and other benefits to the core musicians, so the innocents will suffer once again.

Seattle is a progressive community in many areas, but also hopelessly provincial. Neither the Sante Fe nor Seattle International Music Festivals could last in this environment. The classical music scene in town seems to be governed by two 'mafias', one hiding behind a religious-cultural shield, and the other being a sexual minority club. Corruption and greed for power are prevailing dark forces once again.

With hundreds of emails in my wife's prossession, the true story will make a fascinating read one day.