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February 14, 2007

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)

John Stoehr

Gian Carlo Menotto, the founder of Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C., one of the country's premiere arts festivals, died on Feb. 1, 2007. He was 95. Yesterday, festival administrators released an official statement (see below). His passing is an occasion to reflect on the impact an internationally acclaimed composer and conducter can have on a small American city. Since a bitter dispute with his board 14 years ago, Menotti had had little to do with Spoleto USA, focusing more on his other festival in Spoleto, Italy. But in the wake of his death, reports Dottie Ashley of the Charleston Post and Courier, the two festivals may once again work together.

February 13, 2007

Dear Friend of the Festival,
All of us associated with Spoleto Festival USA are saddened by the death of Gian Carlo Menotti, who passed away on February 1, 2007.

Some thirty years ago, Mr. Menotti founded Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston as the "new world" counterpart to the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. In his opening statement in the very first Spoleto Festival USA program, Mr. Menotti remarked, "Just as the composer - without being able to define 'inspiration' - knows when he is inspired, I knew that Charleston would be the town of my choice as soon as I set foot in it, and Charleston, with its enchantment, will confirm to the beholder the wisdom of this choice." His vision was for the festival to be "fertile ground for the young with new ideas and a dignified home for the masters." We embraced his vision and Charleston lived up to his expectations as the perfect setting for the festival. All of the artists and all of the members of the audience, board and staff since 1977 have in some way benefited from his inspiration.

During the festival this year, we plan to celebrate the life of Gian Carlo Menotti. Please continue to check www.spoletousa.org for additional programming if you would like to join us in remembering this remarkable composer and friend of the arts and artists.

Sincerely,

Joseph Flummerfelt
Artistic Director for Choral Activities

Emmanuel Villaume
The Christel DeHaan Music Director for Opera & Orchestra

Charles Wadsworth
The Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe Artistic Director for Chamber Music

Nigel Redden
General Director

Posted by John Stoehr at February 14, 2007 9:42 AM

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