Weekly Update


Legendary Canadian balladeer, author of If You Could Read My Mind and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, appears this Thursday at Santa Cruz’s Rio Theatre. See our Calendar for details. Good luck getting a ticket!


Glasses Philip and Ira are in town for the annual Days & Nights Festival, a multi-media celebration. Click HERE for festival info.


Peter Tuff, well known Monterey County concert and opera baritone will share his considerable talents in opera arias on October 11. Susan Meister caught up with him. Click HERE.


PAMB presenters are flagging your attention. Click on their ads, left, to go to their respective pages.


PacRep auditions for singers: Oct 5 5:30-8pm; Oct 6 6-9pm, Golden Bough Playhouse, Carmel. There are numerous roles for young adults 14 to 30 years of age, and roles for adults of all ages. To schedule an audition appointment, call Cindy at 622-0100 ext.100, Tues-Sat, 11am-4pm. Pictures and resumes may be emailed to: contact@pacrep.org


You can infer from the title of his new book, The Crisis of Classical Music in freeman200pxAmerica, that Robert Freeman speaks with authority. As one of America’s leading music educators for more than two generations, his message delivers far more substance and context to the issue than many of those pundits who are best known for periodically predicting the imminent demise of the art. Indeed, Freeman’s message summarizes his long career and updates a philosophical stance that goes back to when he took the reins of the Eastman School in Rochester, New York, in 1973. His main thesis there, and subsequently as head of the New England Conservatory, then in the same capacity at the University of Texas Austin (where he still teaches) is “suppress the supply” of graduating musicians (chiefly of instrumentalists) and “stimulate the demand.”

books_002The crisis, from his point of view, stems from music schools cranking out musicians in numbers that far exceed available jobs. He faults music schools that indulge students who narrowly focus on their own abilities instead of taking a global view of their art and its societal context. He complains that students are graduating without the communication and analytical skills necessary to pursue realistic opportunities in a rapidly changing world. The book includes a brief history of classical music in America. Its targeted readership includes all stakeholders in the classical music business: performing institutions and their boards of directors, artistic leadership, music educators, foundations, business supporters and audiences.

Freeman is no stranger to the Monterey area. In the 1980s, while at Eastman, he was approached by the late Ruth Fenton, founder of Youth Music Monterey, to provide Eastman faculty for the summer music camp she had founded in Carmel—and subsequently relocated to the campus of Robert Louis Stevenson School in Pebble Beach. Ever-broadening his connections for mutual benefit, Freeman made the rounds locally and established links with area classical presenters and producers. (He outspokenly criticized the Carmel Bach Festival when instead of hiring an American conservatory graduate as its music director they chose a German, Bruno Weil.)

Freeman is the most complete ‘package’ of musician/educator/administrator I know. He understands the issues in greater depth and with greater clarity than the majority of his colleagues. Perhaps annoyingly to some, he doesn’t hesitate to articulate improvements that would make any musical institution work more efficiently, economically and with greater impact on the constituencies and communities they serve. Yet, in one chapter of the book he describes his own education, “the better for the reader to identify my own prejudices on the subject.”

Most of Freeman’s chapters profer advice, respectively to parents, students, faculty, deans, provosts and presidents, and foundations. When parents wonder if their child can really make a living as a musician, Freeman says, “You can if, while still a student, you can begin to compare your own unique skill set with those of your competitors.” These are of course life lessons and, if I may say, refreshingly retold.

Scott MacClelland, editor