Friday, April 01, 2011

"A unique experience"

Cities do not put up monuments for arts administrators, Los Angeles Philharmonic President Deborah Borda noted Tuesday afternoon in her remarks before the unveiling of a monument to an arts administrator. The clouds broke. The hot sun blazed. Brass players blared a fanfare. With perfect timing, a tour bus drove by, offering waves and cheers.

Musical luminaries from around the world –- Pierre Boulez (in very cool mirrored aviator sunglasses), Esa-Pekka Salonen, James Conlon, John Williams, John Mauceri, many others -– sat on folding chairs in front of Walt Disney Concert Hall for the ceremony naming the corner of 1st Street and Grand Avenue Ernest Fleischmann Square.

No one may have thought to provide umbrellas for shade as the sun reflected off the Disney steel. But inside the hall that evening there was a special Green Umbrella concert, "A Tribute to Ernest." True to the man it honored, it was a night to remember.

Fleischmann, who was managing director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1969 to 1998, died in June at 85. He gave us Disney Hall. He gave us generations of great conductors whom he mentored and monitored. He broke boundaries between old and new, popular and classical, music and other arts, music and education, music and food and, maybe most important of all, music and civic life.

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