The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CI, No. 3March, 2001


To the Editor:

I was watching the jazz program on PBS and thought I saw Marty Napoleon playing piano with Louis Armstrong. Hoping to see if it was Marty, I waited for the credits. I was disappointed to see that none of the side musicians were listed in the credits. I was not surprised, as this practice has outraged me in the past, specifically on shows PBS has done on Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.

Invariably, a major part of the message of the shows is the neglect of the musicians and their art forms, but PBS shows its hypocrisy in paying attention only to the stars.

I have tried to protest to them in the past, but have gotten brushed off. I am proposing to Allegro and its readers that we start a letter-writing and email-sending campaign to correct this injustice. Channel Thirteen’s address is: Thirteen Member & Viewer Relations, 450 West 33rd Street, NYC, NY 10001. Its email address is:

I have, in the past, withheld my dues money and have explained the reason to the person soliciting me on the phone, but it has been futile. Perhaps if more of us complain, it will get results.

–Ethan Fein


To the editor:

I’m happy that the February Allegro featured Tim Ouimette’s article, “Why 802 Members Have a Stake in Saving WBAI.”

As one who has lived half a lifetime abroad in a dozen counties – some with a measure of free press and some where the populace is used to reading between the lines for clarity – I am often struck by how complacent Americans are about our media.

Even so, my impression is that Americans, whatever our shortcomings, are head and shoulders above the corporate mass media in the value we place on fairness, democracy and brotherlyness. The advertising-funded media are only apparently humanistic and educated while they manage their choices of what news to cover, and how to bury the historical context in order to sell us comfortably to hell.

Consent is so thoroughly managed that most of us don’t know how, after World War II, the United States got into supporting European colonialism in Asia and Africa, and commercialism over humanity and happiness at home. WBAI may not have been able to stop the major media from supporting what was done to the peoples of Indochina – but it played a significant part in building the movement which terminated that butchery.

WBAI is a voice that speaks out for organized labor. It represents a very different view from that of the main media, beholden to corporate and two-party rule. If its voice is silenced, I believe that another will eventually take its place – but it will be far simpler and more effective to preserve WBAI and the modicum of pluralism it ensures, rather than hoping that the small differences between ABC, CBS, NBC and TIME-CNN will somehow be our society’s safeguard.

–Hank Nowak


To the Editor:

Many of your readers probably remember my father, Irving Schlein (1905-1986), who was a longtime member of Local 802. He worked on Broadway for many years, as pianist, arranger and conductor with Kurt Weill, Cole Porter, Lerner and Lowe and others.

He was also a prolific classical composer, who studied at Juilliard and later with Aaron Copland. His compositions are now becoming interesting to a growing audience. Most of the music is still in manuscript form, but some CDs will soon be available. The reason I am writing is that many pieces are missing, because he sometimes gave original manuscripts to people, and we would like to locate as much of that music as possible.

These are a few specific lost pieces that I know of, with associated performers: Lois Wann performed his Sonatina for Oboe and Piano around 1948 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Others who played his music were Shephard Coleman (Cello Sonata), William Schoen (Viola Sonata), New York Flute Club, the Jewish Music Festival (in 1958, conducted by Maurice Levine) and Symphony No. 1, performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra around 1949, conducted by Frank Black. There are also a missing set of 78 recordings of Jewish Folk Songs that he recorded for Decca “way back when.”

If any of you have manuscripts or know somebody else who might, please write to me at the following address (even if you would just like to share memories): Peter Schlein, 185 West End Ave., Apt. 27-R, New York, NY 10023, or email me at:

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

–Peter Schlein