Z getting Rocky Mountain hired?

 

I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that Shizuo Z Kuwahara, the wildly talented and charismatic music director for Symphony Orchestra Augusta is one of five finalists for the conductor's gig in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The good news is that he's a finalist for the conductor's gig in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Allow me to explain.

While it's true that Z is on the market, there are no plans to vacate his post at SOA. In fact, he's still less than one year into a three year contract here in Augusta. The worst case scenario would see Augusta enjoying two more seasons with the maestro before he heads for the hills, or the mountains as the case may be. His last season here would see him splitting time between Augusta and the Springs.

The best scenario would see Z picking up Colorado Springs as an additional orchestra, a compliment to the work he does here. It is not at all uncommon. There are more than a few conductors that lead multiple orchestras. What makes Z in Colorado exciting in Augusta is that it demonstrates that Symphony Orchestra Augusta has a relatively young conductor who, thorough hard work and talent, has made himself a desirable commodity. It's pretty impressive. Although Colorado Springs isn't a city the size of neighboring Denver, orchestrally speaking, it's a pretty sweet gig. It's a good ensemble with a nice hall.

Just as SOA did, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic is asking each finalist (five in this case) to conduct a program next season. Kuwahara is slated to bring the Brahms (and Mendelssohn and Schwanter) on Nov. 13-14. I hope he does well and then chooses to stay here for a while.

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3M3T1B
9
Points
3M3T1B 05/27/10 - 01:08 pm
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0
I would suggest that good

I would suggest that good news would be Z is heading for Colorado and soon. Steven are you totally blinded and enamoured by this fellow whose opinion of the musicians is that they are not an important part of the orchestra (Symphony Director Gets Feel for Audience - AC - Wednesday, May 5, 2010), who agrees with and probably perpetrated the firing of the Core Musicians, etc., or are you singing undeserved praises to avoid being publicly accused of not doing "...enough research into this matter..." or putting "...a spin into the story just to make it irresponsibly controversial." (Z's comment to story A Really New Era in MetroSpirit Issue #21.41). Z indicates the need to fire Core Players to save money and in nearly the same breath says he will increase the size of the orchestra. The savings could only come from paying the additional musicians as little as possible; not that the Core Players were making even a poverty level salary.

I challenge you Steven, to remove your rose coloured glasses, pull your head out of the clouds, stop spinning your personal opinions and do some serious, honest reporting. Ask the hard questions of Z. Ask him in a public interview to address what I and others have mentioned in comments in the A/C and MetroSpirit and his contradictive statements.

Steven Uhles
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Steven Uhles 05/27/10 - 03:45 pm
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It should be noted that the

It should be noted that the Pop Rocks blog and weekly column are written as opinion pieces. I also wrote the Chronicle story you cite -- and not entirely correctly -- in your argument.
Kuwahara did not say musicians were not important. What he said was the music and audience are tantamount.
The decision not to renew core players contracts was not his and his alone. It's important to remember SOA has an adminstrative staff and board that had to sign off on that decision as well.

3M3T1B
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3M3T1B 05/27/10 - 06:23 pm
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Yes, Steven, blogs and

Yes, Steven, blogs and columns are opinions, I agree. What I am asking is for you or someone in the journalist field to do some actual reporting on these issues. A nice one on one, uncersored interview perhaps.

The May 5 article states: "The important parts of performance are the music and audience and that's what he wants to concentrate on." there is no mention of musicians following the words "important parts". This perception is reinforced with "We no longer even mention the orchestra in our mission statement."

How is this not to be construed as meaning the musicians are not important.

Had Mr Kuwahara not supported the firing of the core players it is inconceivable that the administration and/or the board would have signed off on such a decision.

ColumbiaCountyOrchestraA
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ColumbiaCountyOrchestraA 05/27/10 - 06:47 pm
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3M3T1B... Perhaps you should

3M3T1B...
Perhaps you should work with another Orchestra Association to help them develop an organization that "creates local music with local musicians for local people". You are exactly right...up to now, many have gone to local concerts to support people that they know. This was certainly true of Harry Jacobs, Augusta Symphony Orchestra founder, music director, and my personal hero. Harry Jacobs discovered local musicians who wanted to play music for local people. As much as I respect Donald Portnoy, during his directorship, the utilization of local musicians was outsourced years ago to the present point. The SOA has fewer than 35 % of their musicians that come from Georgia.

And now, with new leadership, which some want to put back on the board, many musicians who have served the public for decades will be paid a much less amount of money, all in the name of "difficult economic times".

3M3T1B...
Come and help the Columbia County Orchestra Association build "a locally based orchestra, which utilizes paid and volunteer local musicians", who play for the enjoyment and upbuilding of "our community". This is what Harry Jacobs did. He has been my hero for years. I call on all arts patrons who want to help local musicians play for local people to come and join us.

Sincerely,
Rob Nordan
Music Director
Columbia County Orchestra Association
Columbia County Civic Orchestra
Columbia County Youth Orchestra
CCOA Recital Series
www.columbiacco.org

ColumbiaCountyOrchestraA
24
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ColumbiaCountyOrchestraA 05/27/10 - 08:30 pm
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The conductor is the

The conductor is the facilitator.
The orchestra is the channel.
The room is the conduit.
The sights and sound are the experience.
The printed music is the blue print.
The composer is the revealer.
And the listener (audience) is the receptor.

All of this makes up music.

Rob Nordan
Music Director
Columbia County Orchestra Association
www.columbiacco.org

Michael Siewert
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Michael Siewert 05/28/10 - 08:50 am
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The SOA board had better pay

The SOA board had better pay attention and quick! Their arrogance and disregard of it's musicians will certainly take them down. I, for one, will no longer support such shenanigans. As it is, the orchestra barely represents Augusta, anyhow. If I want to see and hear Augusta's talented LOCAL musicians, I have to drive to neighboring cities to do so. SOA has pushed so many of our local musicians away and replaced them with out of town players. Portnoy, Sandra Self, Z Kuwahara.....can we not get some down to earth, appreciative, respectful people on board with SOA before it sinks?!

rpzdw
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rpzdw 05/28/10 - 04:00 pm
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Based on my experience in

Based on my experience in several similar situations, it is a vain hope to expect any real reporting on this issue.

I'm not sure of the reason for this, but my best guess is that these reporters are more interesting in maintaining their access to those in power than in asking them questions which might expose actions on their part which are less than admirable.

This conductor's statement that the orchestra is no longer included in the mission statement, along with his decision to fire the long time core musicians is typical of the attitude seen elsewhere. Musicians are looked on as an expendable commodity.

AFter dedicating their entire lives to perfecting their skill as musicians, they can be dropped on a whim of a conductor who is looking to advance his career and feels his career would be better served by a larger orchestra, rather than keeping the core musicians who have given so much to the community over the years.

The suggestion that this decision was a joint one, made with input from all parties, is naive at best.

KNECKBONE
26
Points
KNECKBONE 05/28/10 - 09:34 pm
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WE NEED THE ELECTRIC LIGHT

WE NEED THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA HA HA

thehotrod
0
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thehotrod 11/19/10 - 10:30 pm
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...happy trails...

...happy trails...

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