Thanks for publishing "The Orchestra Pit" [May 5, 2010]. Before moving to Cincinnati — a great town with a great orchestra led by Paavo Jarvi, a great conductor — I lived in Miami for more than 25 years. During that time, I had the pleasure of listening to some of the world's great orchestras on tour. The Miami residence of the Cleveland Orchestra has led to no end of bad blood from the community — both audiences and musicians — toward the Cleveland Orchestra, its management, and its conductor, Franz Welser-Möst.
The high-handedness of this little Austrian fellow and the Teutonic arrogance with which he has led many concerts in Miami have alienated a good segment of the concert-going audience in South Florida, where he has come to be known as "Franz Worse Than Most." Sad to say, his imperious ways reflect on his music-making, which many South Floridians find cold, robotic, and eccentric. No doubt Herr Musik Direktor has some choice barbs for the Florida audience, peopled as it is by so many non-Aryan immigrants.
Rafael de Acha
WHAT A CRITIC OWES HIS READERS
I've spoken about the critic-conductor battle with a current member of the Cleveland Orchestra who seemed fair and balanced in his assessment, and also played under Welser-Möst's predecessor, Christoph von Dohnányi. According to this musician, in Rosenberg's eyes, von Dohnányi could do no wrong, whereas Welser-Möst can do no right. He even described Rosenberg as being "in love with von Dohnányi."
I'm not saying that hometown critics have to praise everything their subject does; on the contrary, Rosenberg owes it to the reader to provide a fair and balanced assessment of a performance. But consistent negative reviews are uncalled for.
EMBRACE YOUR INDIAN HERITAGE
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a plaque at Progressive Field of a Penobscot Indian by the name of Louis Francis "Chief" Sockalexis ["Scientific Study: Looking at Chief Wahoo Will Make You Hate Asians," at '64 and Counting: The Scene Sports Blog]? And on that plaque doesn't it say that when Cleveland changed its name from the Naps to the Indians, it was in honor of him?
I understand how some could take Chief Wahoo badly, but the name "Indian" is something you should be proud of. I know I was proud to be part of the Cleveland Indians as a fan throughout the '90s, and even though the team isn't doing well right now doesn't take away the history.
It's a name that has become a part of our city. All the great players we had, the tragedies we've been through — the words "Cleveland Indians" lifts our spirits, and it is something we all should be proud of.
A WORD FROM THE ACTIVISTS
Thank you for Loretta Ashyk's April 7 article "Out of Reach." I would love to see a follow-up story that offers a solution. The Health Care for All Ohioans Act (H.B. 159) would ensure that all citizens of this state have access to quality, affordable health care from birth to death. Single Payer Action Network-Ohio has resolved to lead the effort to pass this bill.
Heather Ives, RN
via the internet