The Musicians’ Voice

Volume CII, No. 9September, 2002


To the Editor:

I read with interest President Moriarity’s editorial on radio “integration” (click here for last month’s President’s Report). As a musician, I have a few thoughts.

When the profit motive is the driving force behind the distribution of art, it turns an artistic endeavor into commerce. Art is inherently aristocratic, not democratic. Art exists on the artist’s own terms. Art needs to be governmentally subsidized and cared for in a world of increasingly corrupt corporate commercialism.

American society has not come to terms with this reality. And so, American art suffers. Witness Europe, where respect for its humanistic tradition ranks high in the consciousness of the average person, and reflects in governmental policies and corporate marketing practices.

Americans love to travel to Europe to bathe in its springs of art, music and culture, to renew their souls there. The American corporate mentality can never fully appreciate the artist’s motive for creating and distributing art, that is: To freely give beauty to this ugly world, while freely commenting on its injustices.

American corporate radio is, above all, concerned with delivering an audience to its advertisers. Thus, it can turn a profit. Anything that isn’t profitable is dismissed. Forget about artistic content, or delivering an intelligent product to the listener. It’s the advertiser who matters. Programming with the broadest appeal wins. One size fits all, and if you don’t like it just try changing it!

The American government is an accomplice in this travesty. Responding to pressure from the political right wing, it has devastated allocations in recent years for the NEA, NEH, NPR and other federal agencies that support the arts, humanities and public broadcasting. Lurching to extreme solutions, Congress plays political football with arts funding, which in turn is dwarfed by defense spending. Meanwhile, artists struggle to continue their creative process and to develop audiences for their work in a hostile political environment.

With everything else on its plate, is Congress our hope for reversing radio “integration” so that the airwaves will first serve the listeners’ and not the advertisers’ needs? With George W. Bush in the White House?

God bless Bill Moriarity, AFM President Tom Lee, Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-Wisc.) and others in this fight, Davids against Goliaths.

–Armen Donelian
Fulbright Scholar
New School University Jazz
& Contemporary Music Program


To the Editor:

I will be traveling with my colleagues in Quintet of the Americas to the Kharkov Secondary Special Music School in Kharkov, Ukraine, and the V. Sarajishvili Tbilisi State Conservatoire in Tbilisi, Georgia, from Sept. 14 to Oct. 1. These schools provide high quality training but are in serious need of supplies. The students are learning under difficult conditions on old, badly worn instruments that need our help to upgrade to an acceptable standard. We are planning to bring supplies including strings, CD players, music, replacement and repair parts for woodwind instruments, and brass instrument mouthpieces.

The schools have specifically requested sets of pads for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon; tuners for woodwind instruments; mouthpieces for Vandoren M15 clarinets; mouthpieces for Bach 7 and Bach C10 trumpets; French horn and trombone mouthpieces, Vandoren reeds (firm); mouthpieces and pads for clarinets of the Amati type; reeds and pads for bassoons of the German system; pads for Japanese flutes of French type.

I left my excess horn mouthpiece collection in Bogota, Colombia, so even horn mouthpieces are still welcome!

If anyone would like to donate any of these items, we will deliver them to the schools during our visit. Please feel free to include a note to the schools and we will pass these along too. The Quintet is a 501(c)3 organization, so we can give a letter acknowledging the donations for tax purposes. I can be contacted at (718) 230-5189 or e-mail:, if anyone can spare some of these supplies.

Thanks so much in advance for your generosity.

–Barbara Oldham


To the Editor:

I’m a Rego Park podiatrist who was the coordinator of volunteer podiatry services at St. Paul’s Chapel from October through the closing ceremonies ending June 2, and personally served over 60 sessions at the Chapel. I was privileged to receive a copy of Allegro from violinist Sharon Gunderson, who put in many hours playing there.

I’d very much appreciate it if you would convey my thanks to Louise Dubin for her tremendously insightful article. It totally captured the feel and emotions of our time down there and the great and soothing effect the music had on all the site workers – fire and police personnel and certainly us, the volunteers.

That experience, and now her article, will always remain a part of me. (It may have even inspired me to pick up my clarinet again . . . if I can find it.)

–Dr. Arthur Gudeon

(Editor’s note: The photo of Sharon Gunderson, Arthur Dibble, Jennifer Wu and Ralph Farris on page 13 of the July/August issue should have been credited to Dr. Gudeon. We apologize for the mistake.)