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A Sour Note in Clark Affair

April 23, 1988

After enjoying a two-year subscription to the Pacific Symphony in its new and elegant surroundings, I have been asked to renew the privilege for the coming year. I am somewhat hesitant to do so for several reasons. I am unsatisfied as to the explanations offered to the public concerning (founding music director Keith) Clark's imminent departure, and I am uncertain about the future plans for the orchestra and the Performing Arts Center.

I am not a novice classical music buff and have been spoiled over the years by regular attendance at performances by Bernstein, Ormandy, Boulez, Mehta, Szolti, Haitink and Giulini. I have been more than delighted with (the) results of Keith Clark's work . . . the amazing quality and beauty of many of the performances I was privileged to attend.

While I am not suggesting that Maestro Clark is as accomplished a musical interpreter as any of the aforementioned "superstars," I do think that he has made admirable progress in the few short years since the orchestra's birth. Considering its newness, this remarkably professional sounding ensemble has allowed me to enjoy some first-rate classical music performances just minutes from my Orange County home.

The reasons given for Mr. Clark's removal sounded to me like vague mutterings of discontent. His working relations with the directors and some members of the orchestra, his changes in repertoire emphasis and occasional negative critical notices were mentioned as some of the reasons why his presence in Segerstrom Hall could no longer be tolerated. To me, this list of grievances was hardly enough to offset the positives that I, a delighted direct consumer of the product, had hoped would continue for years to come.

Perhaps Mr. Previn and the long freeway ride are really not so bad after all.

THEODORE GINSBERG

Laguna Beach

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