Violist, Cleveland Orchestra
NMSO, an Underfunded Jewel, Deserves Your Support
From 1987-1990, it was my great honor to serve as assistant principal violist of the
New Mexico Symphony Orchestra. I have since moved on to serve as principal violist of
the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and am now in my 16th season with the Cleveland
Orchestra, an ensemble called by many reviewers as one of the three great orchestras in
the world, along with those in Vienna and Berlin. But this is not about me, I am merely
mentioning my qualifications for voicing my particular opinion.
After not having heard an NMSO concert in years, I was back in town visiting family
and was fortunate enough to attend the Feb. 26 performance. I was deeply moved and
impressed by the concert, start to finish.
Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms featured the NMSO Chorus. If forced to choose
between the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the NMSO Chorus, I’d take the one in
Albuquerque. The Liebermann Concerto for Flute and Orchestra featured Valerie
Potter, the NMSO’s principal flute. I have never heard finer flute playing. The Beethoven
Symphony No. 3 featured impressive blending, ensemble and intonation in every section
of the orchestra. I have performed this piece dozens of times and found Maestro
Guillermo Figueroa’s interpretation fresh and exciting.
No, I am not a trained music critic. The point I’m trying to make here is about the
tremendous quality of what I heard.
What is striking to me is how much the Cleveland Orchestra and the NMSO have in
common. Both are composed of world class musicians who have dedicated their lives to
the art of music and to the city in which they live.
The casual listener might be hard pressed to hear the difference between the two, yet
the annual budget of the Cleveland Orchestra is 10 times that of the NMSO. Are there
NMSO musicians gifted enough to leave and play in major orchestras elsewhere?
Absolutely! Yet for the love of Albuquerque, they choose to stay.
Cleveland is referred to as “the mistake by the lake.” Forbes Magazine recently called it
the most miserable place to live of all major U.S. cities. Yet with a dwindling population
and an exodus of major corporations, the city still supports its beloved orchestra. >