A Full-Time Labor of Love

By: Edna Landau

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

As the year is about to draw to a close and the holiday gift giving season is upon us, I have decided to shine a spotlight on an individual who for the past fourteen years has given an extraordinary gift to music lovers in southern California and beyond. His name is Jim Eninger and every week during the concert season, he publishes The Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter for Southern California, an exhaustive summary of virtually all concerts taking place in the area, which is disseminated for free to over six thousand subscribers. (A typical print-out of this newsletter runs over thirty pages.)

When Mr. Eninger first launched the newsletter, he researched and compiled the comprehensive list of concerts himself, an investment of forty to sixty hours a week. Today, he has streamlined the process by suggesting that performing artists post their concert information directly on the website of Performing Arts LIVE, a valuable resource founded and maintained by fellow chamber music devotee Michael Napoli, who is its Executive Director. He then provides a link to the website in his newsletter so that his readers can peruse the comprehensive list of concerts in their own browsers. A particularly valuable section of Jim Eninger’s newsletter is called “Highlights and Hidden Gems: Select Concerts Not to be Overlooked.” This section typically includes the concert program as well as background information about the performers, which is generally infused with Eninger’s well-informed impressions from past performances. On occasion, he sends separate attractively prepared e-flyers to his readers about some of these concerts, having always enjoyed graphic design as a sideline. Mr. Eninger told me that he tries to feature fledgling series with high artistic merit that need extra help taking root. What a noble goal!

In recent years, with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers, Mr. Eninger has been able to expand the newsletter to include items of general interest to his readers, as well as reviews of recent chamber music concerts and interviews relating to upcoming concerts. (I particularly enjoyed the following listing, accompanied by a link: Dan Kepl interviews skydiving duo pianists Gavin Martin and Joanne Pearce Martin on the eve of their concerts with Camerata Pacifica.) Volunteers also contribute content regarding guitar, vocal and orchestral concerts in the region.

Who is Jim Edinger? In a Los Angeles Times article by Chris Pasles entitled “His Grapevine, an Arts Lifeline”, we learn that he is a retired TRW aerospace engineer. He enjoyed classical music as a child and took in occasional symphony concerts and opera performances during his student days at Stanford. While working at TRW, he learned about the South Bay Chamber Music Society and began attending their concerts. (He later became their president.) The precursor of today’s newsletter was an e-mail that Eninger sent out called “Chamber Music Letter from the South Bay”, informing people about upcoming concerts of the society. Jim Eninger’s activities as an impresario have always intersected with his “clickable” hobby. He co-produces the Classical Crossroads Concert Series with Artistic Director, Karla Devine, regularly proposing artists for her consideration, and is also actively involved with the planning and running of the Sundays at Two concerts at Rolling Hills Methodist Church. He has been an active supporter of the Beverly Hills Auditions and is proud that today, the Auditions provide a significant showcase for young performers to be heard in multiple concerts by a consortium of over fifty southern California chamber music presenters. All of this is pretty remarkable for someone who never had a formal music education. His generosity and dedication inspire immense praise from leaders in the southern California music scene.  Neal Stulberg, acclaimed pianist, conductor and Director of Orchestral Studies at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, has said: “Jim is one of the people for whom Los Angeles is named.” Movses Pogossian, Professor of Violin at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music and Artistic Director of the Dilijan Chamber Music Series told me: “Jim certainly deserves to be serenaded and worshipped for all the service that he renders our community. He has been absolutely invaluable to countless small music organizations (such as our Dilijan Chamber Music Series, which can’t afford “real” advertising), spreading the most important information to his many subscribers week after week for many years. I have learned so often about wonderful concerts happening in the area because of Jim and his newsletter. Especially touching and useful is his support of start-ups and talented young performers. He lives for music and it is always wonderful to see him and his lovely wife Mary at many concerts in town. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation. My hat goes off to him!”

Bravo to you, Jim Eninger, as you enter your 15th season as Editor-in-Chief of your invaluable newsletter. May you continue to produce it and inspire present and future chamber music aficionados for many years to come.

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

©Edna Landau 2013

Note to our readers: To receive the Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter, please make your request via e-mail to JEninger@yahoo.com.

“Ask Edna” will resume on January 9. A very happy holiday season to all.

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