On Stopping the Bullying
Jordan Geiger’s insightful and sensitive Voice Box column (“Stop the Bullying,” Juilliard Journal, November 2010) touches on many of the salient points regarding the recent tragic deaths of young L.G.B.T. people, including the fact that it’s not one issue but the cumulative effects of multiple negative messages heard by and negative treatments of L.G.B.T. people that produce such tragedies. In the article, Geiger demonstrates a great understanding of the fact that it takes multiple steps, supports, and resources to help “it get better.”
Jeffrey Fishberger, M.D.
New York City
Improving the Acoustics in Fisher Hall
With regard to your article “Canarina Mines 50 Years of New York Philharmonic History” (Juilliard Journal, November 2010), the New York Philharmonic’s Rug Concerts, introduced in my second of 24 years in the orchestra by music director Pierre Boulez, did serve their intended purpose, i.e., to attract a younger audience that would be more receptive of Mr. Boulez’s contemporary repertoire than were the majority of our regular subscribers. It also resulted in another, potentially important, discovery: By placing part of the audience on the stage and as a result moving the orchestra in front of it, the problematic acoustics of the hall improved tremendously. Not only could the sound of the orchestra be heard in its full glory everywhere in the hall but, as if by a miracle, we could hear each other as well. Several of my colleagues, myself included, tried to convince the management to consider placing seats behind the orchestra but our proposal was rejected outright. It took 35 years before the orchestra, at a Mostly Mozart concert, was moved off the stage to where we had played in ’73. As a result, plans to implement our suggestion, at long last, were announced in the press. Yet, for some mysterious reason, work on Tully Hall, “modernizing” the corner of 65th Street and Broadway, and digging a tunnel for the limos taking patrons to the Met took precedence over fixing Avery Fisher Hall, and eventually Lincoln Center abandoned the plan altogether, replacing it with some kind of interior redecoration. Meanwhile, from some parts of the hall, our magnificent orchestra still sounds as if it has at most a dozen, instead of 38, violins.
Gabriel Banat (’50, violin)
New York Philharmonic member, 1970-93
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.