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Taking Keith Clark's Baton

March 12, 1988

I am extremely disturbed by the very hostile takeover that has occurred recently by some board members and the 9-month-old management of the Pacific Symphony. As a member of the orchestra almost from the beginning, one with more than 40 years of professional symphony experience with many conductors, among them Toscanini, Stokowski and Bruno Walter, all giants, I can state--must state--that Keith Clark, who built this orchestra from nothing to what it is now, certainly does not deserve the treatment he has been given.

It is said that some negative statements have been made by some orchestra members to some board members and, apparently, to the press. From anything I have observed or been able to learn, this does not represent the attitude of the majority of the musicians in the orchestra. Every organization has a few malcontents, usually the less capable ones, who try to get ahead by stirring up trouble rather than doing their job well, but to say that they represent the majority, in this case of the orchestra musicians, is both grossly inaccurate and unfair. So far as I have been able to learn, not one musician has been contacted by a board member or the press. In all fairness, before stating that remarks made by a few represented the opinions of the majority, would it not be more responsible to do some checking to make sure that this was true?

There has obviously been a planned hatchet job on Keith Clark. I have seen things like this happen before in other orchestras, and each time it led to the at least temporary and sometimes permanent destruction of the orchestra, but never have I seen anything as dirty and unfair as this has been. What ever happened to fairness and integrity?

HARRIET PAYNE

Laguna Hills

Calendar reporters contacted at least a dozen musicians with the orchestra, nearly all of whom insisted on not being quoted. Virtually all said they agreed with the board's decision against renewing Clark's contract.

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