Letters To The Editor


January 08, 2003

Symphony does need to explore new avenues

Tim Smith's suggestions for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra deserve posting on every BSO bulletin board ("Fine-tuning the BSO," Dec. 29). And Mr. Smith is most courageous to criticize an administration that is both hide-bound and arrogant. Unfortunately, he doesn't go far enough.

My view is that it's time for a management change. The administration doesn't have the perspective to take the orchestra forward. The ill-timed dissolution of the BSO Chorus, when every community bridge needed to be strengthened, is a good case in point.

To be sure, some advances have been made. The hiring of music director Yuri Temirkanov was a giant step forward, as were personnel changes within the orchestra's ranks.

But, as Mr. Smith noted, the programming has taken a decidedly conservative turn and the great performers of classical music that Baltimore audiences should be seeing with the symphony are too few and far between.

To make the BSO into a world-class operation, a new, professional leadership must be found and cultivated.

Bill Nerenberg


The writer is retired managing director of the Shriver Hall Concert Series.

I was gratified to see Sun music critic Tim Smith's article "A wish list for a more varied musical diet" (Dec. 29).

Mr. Smith is an overly strong advocate of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and music director Yuri Temirkanov, and it is about time he addressed the lack of scope of programming at the BSO.

The lack of American music performed by the BSO under Mr. Temirkanov is egregious.

It's time for the BSO to get out of the Russian woods and be a symphony orchestra of America, and the world.

Lawrence J. Simpson


`Wish list' could be costly to symphony

I hope that Yuri Temirkanov was in Russia and didn't see Tim Smith's two Dec. 29 articles ("A wish list for a more varied musical diet" and "Fine-tuning the BSO").

With some exceptions, if Mr. Smith's "wish list" were to become a big part of the programming, this is one symphony subscriber and contributor who would be lost.

Walker Peterson


Sprawl's damage lasts forever

In its excellent editorial series on sprawl (Dec. 1-Dec. 6), The Sun performed a valuable public service by calling attention to the high price of sprawl in Maryland.

In addition to its toll on existing neighborhoods, communities and roads, the costs of sprawl for our environment are especially high. Worse still, sprawl is forever - the farms, forests and wildlife habitats consumed by sprawl cannot be replaced.

Sprawl also permanently degrades water quality. As sprawl replaces open land with roads, parking, homes and commercial buildings, it permanently reduces the ability of the land to filter stormwater.

Even the best stormwater controls cannot restore the land's full capacity to filter pollution from urban runoff.

Maryland must grow smarter if we are to conserve the countryside, revitalize distressed communities and save the bay.

Theresa Pierno


The writer is Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Show us the proof of Iraqi weapons

Kudos to Jules Witcover for daring to speak truth to power by demanding that the Bush administration "show us the proof" of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before sending Americans to die in Iraq ("Before we go to war," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 23).

And let us remember that the United States supported Saddam Hussein before, during and after his use of weapons of mass destruction against Iran and Iraq's Kurds.

Dave Goldsmith


Lending public purse to oddball sects?

Those who favor President Bush's "faith-based initiatives" ("Faith groups get boost in Bush order," Dec. 13) should keep in mind that, under such a policy, all religious sects, possibly even including the Raelians (the group that claims to have cloned a human being and believes we're all descended from aliens) could be considered as recipients of public funds.

Florence Smelkinson


Religious symbols are not forbidden

In response to the column by the executive director of the Maryland ACLU ("No state funds in church coffers," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 31), I would note that the First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

But that amendment has been misapplied by the government and individuals, especially those in the ACLU. Allowing a manger scene or a cross or the Ten Commandments in the public square is not establishing a religion - only if Congress passed a law requiring such symbols to be present would the First Amendment be violated.

However, not allowing such symbols is a direct violation of the free exercise clause.

We are all blessed to live in a society where we are free to practice our faith (if the ACLU will let us). And we must keep in mind that if not for the people of faith who were instrumental in forming this country, we would not have the freedoms we all hold so dear.

Robert Balderson


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