Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can new conductor save symphony?

The old Groucho Marx joke was that he wouldn't want to join a club that would have him as a member. So, does Charlotte's symphony want a music director who's willing to take such a shaky job?

The symphony announced Tuesday that Christopher Warren-Green will replace Christof Perick as its next conductor. Warren-Green has led the London Chamber Orchestra (not the city's main symphony) since 1988.

Musically, this appears to be a big step up for Warren-Green. But with the symphony's financial problems threatening its existence, Warren-Green may have the warmth and public face the symphony lacked in Perick and badly needs.

Warren-Green will live in Charlotte and search committee members say he has the personality the orchestra craves. First-chair violinist Calin Lupanu told The Observer's Steven Brown that Warren-Green is "a charmer. He knows how to talk to people. He's very convincing." Said violinist Emily Chatham: "It makes you smile to see him." (Read Steven's full story here.)

A convincing charmer who can talk to people and make them smile. Sounds like another step in the Charlotte symphony's ongoing rebirth.

- Posted by Taylor Batten


JAT said...

Taylor, I've waited patiently for you to inform your readers that your wife Lauren has worked as a retained fund-raiser for both the Arts & Science Council and the Charlotte Symphony.

If I missed that disclosure, I apologize.

LBR said...

This hardly represents a significant step up for Warren-Green. Look at his resume! Extensive experience conducting major orchestras, and numerous recording contracts. The CSO musicians seem delighted with the choice. We're very fortunate to have him. Perhaps he wanted to take on a challenge at this point in his career.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Yes, Jeff, you caught me. Lauren did some work for the Arts & Science Council TEN years ago, and for the symphony seven years ago. And nothing for either of them since then. Not exactly relevant to the current circumstances.
And I'm confused, if she did work for both of them, which one of them am I supposed to be biased in favor of?

Larry said...


I am sure JAT did not mean you have done anything wrong!

Just like I said on my blog just the fact you have a healthy relationship with these groups does not denote you have any bias.

In fact I mention the fact a former Editor's wife worked for the Chief of Police and while some may see that as suspicious it was not illegal or anything.

However when these groups you mention seem to get favored treatment in the Observer and Editorials we average citizens look at it and say HUMMMMMMMM.

But I would challenge you to contact me and I will be happy to discuss just how biased I feel the Editorial Board and The Observer may be. I have even offered to work for free so you would have at least one conservative voice. That offer is still open.

Of course you might write back and mention the community writers.

Yes those people who you hand pick and then are only around for a few months. How about throwing those of us who will never go to the symphony or even care that we have palaces for art, a bone once in a while.

Larry Bumgarner 704.573.3363