time to change the way we view music and the arts

Long Term Relationships, Promises and Closure

Not much in the way of humor to be thrown about in my title for this post but I feel like the point of things today does bear at least some resemblance to good news. You’ll understand why I’m not all about my usual dry sarcasm eventually.

Almost exactly one month ago I wrote HERE about the announcement made by the New York Philharmonic that confirmed the removal of their Summer “Concerts in the Parks Series” for this year. For a seasonal event that has gone on since 1965, there are sure to be many people who have been in attendance at one or more of the programs in the five boroughs each year. Whether individual or familial, going to repeated concerts was bound to foster a serious connection for people and a sense of strong nostalgia when thinking about pieces from programs of past summers. After all, who doesn’t have at least one sweet, personal, memorable summer story that has a song or spontaneous picture attached to it? Who says the ‘summer of the Tchaikovsky Concerto’ can’t be someone’s summer treasure, hm?

As it stands, the series is still out of commission but a double dose of explanatory writing gave way to two crucial details that make a world of difference in the minds of disappointed park concert lovers. The New York Times reported yesterday about words from conductor Alan Gilbert, the current Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Almost like the perfect make-up move after standing up a date and leaving the person hanging without much notice, he first “[made] a personal promise that these beloved free concerts will return next summer and continue for many years to come,” (at least two years more, according to the implication set by the involvement of “private benefactors of the series, such as Didi and Oscar Schafer, who have made a commitment to the series through 2013.”) So we won’t be forced to feel the full out emptiness of this silence two years in a row. That’s good news but what about now? There’s still the immediate sting and slight void from having no NY Philharmonic fix!

Well the higher-ups addressed that matter too and it almost makes one feel a pang of guilt if the above statement happens to connect at all with the reflex kind of reaction that came along with finding out about the cancellation last month. New York Philharmonic President and Chief Executive Zarin Mehta, explained that there was a trade off of sorts made with the Summer Concerts in the Parks and “other projects;” among which includes,

”a memorial concert at Avery Fisher Hall on Sept. 10 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. On that day, Mr. Gilbert is scheduled to conduct Gustav Mahler‘s Symphony No. 2: “Resurrection” Symphony, which will be broadcast live on radio and rebroadcast on television the next night by PBS.”

Mehta referred to this program plan as ”the most important gesture,” and regardless of how severely or minor in scale one was affected by the 9/11 attacks, there’s little to be said to contest an opinion like that because everyone has someone they would love to never lose. Friendships and social interaction are inherent to human survival –especially on an emotionally healthy level. Besides, there’s the added feeling of closure because of the Philharmonic providing a complete reason for its actions and it having no mention of triviality or corrupt personal gain taking the lead.

There may not have been much to these second statements from the orchestra’s administrators but the end results are like a generally satisfying finale to what was initially a train wreck, cliffhanger/cancellation combination. I’d say it’s a subtly, good way to start of July. There will be plenty of time for ‘going off with a bang’ on Monday.

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