Posts Tagged ‘Gustavo Dudamel’

The Paris Philharmonie, 15 Months Later

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

By: Frank Cadenhead

The new Philharmonie de Paris, open now one year and three months, has had a remarkable success by any measure, particularly with winning new audiences and attracting old audiences to the new locale. It is now one of Europe’s principle venues and the whirl of talent on stage practically every night gives it a permanent festival atmosphere.


A vote of the French Council of Ministers last Thursday modifying the age limit for the Philharmonie director is a strong clue that general director, Laurent Bayle, who guided the transformation of the Cité de la Musique complex during the construction of the new hall, will continue. Bayle was approaching the civil service retirement age of 65 in June.

The polemics over the cost overruns and its location in a rough neighborhood now seem a distant memory. The hall is routinely full for the Orchestre de Paris concerts and other resident groups, the Paris Chamber Orchestra, William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants and the Ensemble Intercontemporian. Visiting orchestras and ensembles are a weekly occurrence and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel, for example, had a high profile weekend on the 19th and 20th of March. Tonight, it is Schubert’s Winterreise with baritone Matthias Goerne and pianist Markus Hinterhauser featuring William Kentridge’s scenography.

After the opening in January of 2015, the acclaim was instantaneous. While the warmth and vibrancy of the acoustics were there from the start, some did note that sometimes the soloists in a concert seemed vaguely underpowered. The hall was closed in July and August of that year to polish details of the hall, including minor improvements in the acoustics and finishing interior details in the hall. The new panoramic restaurant is now open and the myriad of activities for children and others of all ages in the three halls at the Cité de la Musique complex make it a constant beehive of activity.


Added Note: 

Today, March 30, the Council of Ministers of the French government did appoint Laurent Bayle to lead the  Cité de la Musique for another five year term. He has been leader of the Cité de la Musique complex, with the new Philharmonie as a major part, situated across the plaza from Paris’ Conservatory, since 2001. He will work with a new president of the Administrative Council of the complex, Patricia Barbizet. She has lead companies like Artemis and Christie’s and will replace Mr. Bayle, who had also occupied that chair since 2006.



J’accuse! A failure of American Musical Journalism.

Friday, September 25th, 2015

By: Frank Cadenhead

Here is the story: a young black conductor from Charleston, South Carolina just triumphed over 237 other candidates to win victory in one of the top conducting competitions in the world. This was on Sunday, September 20 at the competition in Besançon, France. He was just 23, seven to ten years younger than almost all the other candidates. This competition win usually leads to an important career and very few American conductors get to the final round. When you add race into the mix, we are talking about what would seem a major story with wide interest.

The biennual International Competition for Young Conductors at Besançon is well known. Alexander Gibson, Sergiu Comissiona, Gerd Albrecht, Seiji Ozawa, Michel Plasson, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Jiri Kout and Yutaka Sado are some laureates. The winner in 2005, Lionel Bringuier, went on to assist both Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has since been named music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich. George Pehlivaia,  who won in 1991 and had a major career, was the first North American to win and the only one before Heyward. Lu Shao-Chia (1988) is now the music director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan. Marco Parisotto (1997) has been music director of the Ontario Philharmonic since 1996. Kazuki Yamada (2009) will, next year, take the helm at the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic. One of the issues this year was the withdrawal of Erina Yashima, already in the top 20, who accepted Ricardo Muti’s invitation to work with the Chicago Symphony. A substitute was found. While the list of winners has names who have not pursued a major conducting career, winning the competition is obviously a vital step toward a career.

In Europe it was a major story. “L’Américain Jonathon Heyward remporte le 54ème concours international de jeunes chefs d’orchestre” (France TV) “Concours des jeunes chefs d’orchestre de Besançon: un Américain rafle le premier prix” (France Musique Radio), “Un Américain de 23 ans remporte le prestigieux concours de chefs d’orchestre de Besançon” (Le Parisien) “Un Américain champion des chefs d’orchestre” (Le Figaro), The internet was also there: “Jonathon Heyward lauréat du Concours international de Besançon” ( “54ème Concours de jeunes chefs d’orchestre de Besançon …” Agence France Presse took up the story and you can find it in every newspaper in France including the one on the island of Reunion. You can see the story in Caracas “Joven de 23 años gana premio a directores de orquesta en Francia,” Germany “Jonathon Heyward gewinnt Dirigierwettbewerb in Besançon” ( “Jonge Amerikaanse dirigent Jonathon Heyward …” (Holland – Radio 4), “Jonathon Heyward, Grand Prix de direction d’orchestre à Besançon” Crescendo Magazine, Belgium) and “American Jonathon Heyward Wins Grand Prix In Besançon” (Pizzicato Magazine, Luxembourg).

In English, the only important notice was on It did publish the story but the photo accompanying the article was of conductor Dennis Russell Davies, head of the jury. Thus a key element, the young conductor’s ethnicity, was not noted. There was a notice on the Hampstead Garden Opera website in the UK where he has conducted performances. Otherwise, in English, nothing. He has been active in conducting below-the-radar ensembles in New York and Boston but even this moved no American journalist to pick up the story.

It speaks to how remarkable decimated and pathetic classical music journalism is in the United States. I write for (but not this story) and I continue to do so because so often I note that major news in Europe does not cross the Atlantic. But Musical America is a subscription site and articles are not available to the general public. It does have wide distribution within the musical community and is certainly seen by the major press.

This failure to report on the success of Mr. Heyward not only exposes problems with American classical music journalism, it points to a much larger issue: America’s declining interest in classical music. If the press does not report, the public is not aware. If even a clearly celebratory event such as this one does not appear in print, we are failing a dwindling public. It is also some indication of how slim the press structure is in America. Where are the effective online sites? Is there anyone looking at classical music news in our leading publications? If Heyward cannot get noticed in his own country, the next aspiring conductor will take his father’s advice and get a degree in pharmacy. Another conductor’s father, criticized for this kind of advice, wailed “How was I supposed to know he would grow up to be Leonard Bernstein.”

This must change. Classical music, with a large and devoted following all over America, is losing any sense of community and the press is tossing the fans into a dark, empty void.

Drumroll for the Timpanist

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

By: Frank Cadenhead

Adrien Perruchon, 32, timpanist of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, has received a scholarship awarded by the “Dudamel Fellowship Program” created by Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is one of three young leaders awarded the Dudamel Fellowship for 2015/16 and is expected to conduct a concert of the Los Angeles Philharmonic early next year.

He made a significant splash in Paris last December when he was a last minute replacement on the podium of a regular concert of the “Phil” at Radio France. The French conductor Lionel Bringuier, a former “resident conductor” of the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Dudamel and now music director of the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, was originally programmed but bowed out sick. His place was taken by Mikko Franck, then the designated music director of the OPRF for the next season. Just before the concert, however, Franck got ill and the baton was thrust in Adrien Perruchon’s hand.

This was not entirely an act of desperation, however. Since 2009, Perruchon has studied conducting with Esa-Pekka Salonen, François-Xavier Roth and Alain Altinoglu and his conducting debut was warmly applauded by the audience, critics and his fellow musicians in the orchestra. Another young conductor on an upward path, it would seem.

“He’s So Musical”

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Sedgwick Clark

PK turned to me last Friday (3/22) at Carnegie Hall when the applause had died down for intermission and asked, “Where did he come from? He’s so musical. Where did he train?” Moments later, she continued animatedly to friends who had joined us, “He seems relaxed with the piano – it’s not an adversarial relationship like the Serkin school, where the instrument is an enemy to be conquered. He doesn’t play with anxiety, which is rare these days.” She also liked his insightful program notes.

What a relief! Her usual question when I’ve cajoled her into going to a concert that initially elicited a frown is muttered after the first piece or movement: “Why am I here?” Fact is, she’d almost always rather spend the evening at home with our three bichons, but this time she was happy she came.

The recitalist was Jeremy Denk, who opened the program audaciously with Bartók’s Piano Sonata (1926). I hadn’t heard the Sonata in many years and was reminded of its strong kinship to the First Piano Concerto (my favorite of the three), which Bartók composed later that year. It’s the first of his oeuvre to use the piano as a percussion instrument. “Though dissonant and raucous, it’s very good-humored,” Denk states in his notes, and his rendering of the work’s dance and folk elements, his colorful tonal palette, and refusal to bang served the music brilliantly.

Great Liszt performances require beauty of tone, first and foremost. In “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” Prelude after J.S. Bach, S. 179; Sonetto 123 del Petrarca from Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année; Dante Sonata; and Isoldes Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde — a group Denk describes as “ranging from worldly pain to bliss to damnation to death” — he succeeded admirably, with all the requisite dynamic range. The first work, astonishingly, seems to be the first Carnegie Hall performance in recorded history. The Petrarca Sonetto purred with velvet. The turbulent Dante, which so often sprawls, was the most convincing, i.e., coherent, performance I’ve heard. The Tristan transcription, which easily curdles, was gorgeously sustained.

Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I, BWV 869, appeared underplayed, perhaps deliberately, for it was followed by a Beethoven Sonata No. 32, Op. 111, replete with chance taking. Carnegie’s wet acoustic has always challenged piano recitals (at least in the parquet seats), especially after the hall’s 1986 renovation, and Denk’s fingers seemed to race ahead at times in the Allegro. The second-movement Adagio lacked breadth to my taste, despite excellent trills and an emotionally satisfying coda, but PK “really liked” the performance in its entirety.

Denk fans may look forward to Saturday evening, May 4, when he joins Renée Fleming and several other fine artists at Carnegie in an attractive lineup of vocal and chamber fin de siècle works.

By the way, Denk earned a master’s degree as a pupil of György Sebök at Indiana University and a doctorate in piano performance at Juilliard, where he studied with Herbert Stessin.

Looking Forward

My week’s scheduled concerts (8:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted):

3/28 Avery Fisher Hall. Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel. Vivier: Zipangu. Debussy: La Mer. Stravinsky: The Firebird (complete ballet).

4/1 at 7:30. Symphony Space. Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival. Pulse Chamber Ensemble; Chris Reza Trio. Victoria Bond: Cyclops. Charles Mason: Pulsearrythmic. Thomas Sleeper: Semi-Suite. Jesse Jones: Unisono. Chris Reza: Cacophony.

4/3 Carnegie Hall. Boston Symphony/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Hindemith: Concert Music for Strings and Brass. Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini. Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra.

4/4 Carnegie Hall. Boston Symphony/Daniele Gatti; Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo; Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Mahler: Symphony No. 3.

Korngold replaces Golijov; Double-Portrait of Nancarrow and Vivier

Friday, May 4th, 2012

By Rebecca Schmid

While Berlin can boast its share of world premieres, the cancellation of Oswaldo Golijov’s Violin Concerto with Leonidas Kavakos and the Philharmonic last month dealt a blow to what would have been one of the most exciting events of the season. Even though the announcement came as little surprise given that he failed to finish the work for its originally-intended Los Angeles premiere in May of last year, the timing was particularly inauspicious in the wake of an internet debate over the allegation that the composer borrowed too heavily for his orchestral piece “Siderus,” performed by the Eugene Symphony in March.

As proven by Korngold’s Violin Concerto, which replaced Golijov’s mysteriously missing piece in a program flanked by Ravel and Strauss, borrowing from oneself may be a better bet. Korngold, an Austro-Hungarian-born composer whose talent is considered by some to have been in a class with Mozart, wisely left the continent in 1934 to write for Hollywood upon the invitation of fellow Austrian director Max Reinhardt and continued to do so through the end of the Second World War. His Concerto, marking a return to absolute music, recycles melodies from his own film scores to unique effect.

The soaring opening theme is lifted from the film Another Dawn (1937, the same year in which Korngold originally drafted the concerto) and the closing draws from another Warner Brothers film, The Prince and the Pauper (also 1937). Kavakos, seen with Gustavo Dudamel at the podium of the Philharmonie on April 26, opened the piece with a silken tone and expressive line that left little to be desired, yet he revealed an unfortunate tendency to rush as he launched into the music’s rapid, climbing passages, sweeping Dudamel and the orchestra with him through what is intended as a Moderato movement.

The dreamy inner Andante movement was kept transparent and melting, although Kavakos suffered from slight intonation problems through these slower passages. The violinist brought irreproachable technical virtuosity to the daunting runs and stratospheric flageolets of the Allegro finale—in which his rushed energy was less conspicuous than in the opening movement—yet his studied approach detracted from the piece’s dramatic nature. This is after all a score that calls John Williams to mind as easily as Zemlinsky; simply opening his body to the audience with more thespian poise would have made all the difference.

Following the concerto was another work with strong cinematic associations ever since Stanley Kubrick adopted its fanfare for his classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. The rising trumpet theme and rumbling double basses that open Strauss’ tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra has become almost a cliché, yet Dudamel and the Berlin Philharmonic showed how thrilling a live performance of this music can be. The rich, full-bodied strings and gravitas underscored the authority this orchestra still brings to German repertoire despite the international direction Sir Simon Rattle has introduced. The fluidity with which individual players communicate—it is often said that they are a bunch of soloists who happen to sit in an orchestra together—was made particularly clear though the fugal development in “Von der Wissenschaft.” Dudamel did not let the energy slack for an instant. Concert Master Daniel Stabwara brought just the right Slavic grace to the waltz melody of the penultimate episode, “Das Tanzlied“.

Ravel’s Ma Mère l’Oye, a suite based on children’s fairy tales, opened the program on a less gripping note. Despite impeccably pure textures (two horns provide the only brass in the scoring) and elegant melodic flow, Dudamel did not given enough accent to the dramatic vignettes that emerge within these dreamy episodes. The exchange between ‘beauty and the beast’ in the waltz movement—culminating in prancing winds and a brooding bass bassoon—was nearly lost in the mirage-like texture. The strings were also not at their most even in the closing pianissimi of the final “Jardin féerique”; both Stabwara and Dudamel could have led with a firmer hand.

Laboratorium makes Berlin debut in Nancarrow and Vivier

Reaffirming the German capital’s embrace of curious programming, Deutschland Radio hosted the Swiss chamber ensemble Laboratorium with the local conductor Manuel Nawri in a ‘double-portrait’ entitled Ferne Welten (Distant Worlds) exploring works by Conlon Nancarrow and Claude Vivier. The chamber music hall of the Philharmonie was disturbingly empty at the opening concert on May 1, which may have to do with the fact that the event was only publicized with small posters, or that the composers—both Einzelgänger (‘mavericks’ or ‘loners’ depending on your translation), in the words of moderator Holger Hettinger—have yet to enter a wider vocabulary. As Alex Ross points out on The Rest is Noise, attention to the centennial of Nancarrow’s birth this year has been surprisingly scarce.

Empty seats aside, it was refreshing to see the young musicians, who met at the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2004, champion Nancarrow in inventive arrangements of his studies for player piano (written by American ensemble member and trombonist Patrick Crossland). The most effective was Study Nr.7, scored for strings, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, marimba and piano, capturing the frenzied quality and rich polyrhythmic patterns of the original work while assigning much of the jazziness to bass and cello. The brief Study Nr.14 was played in a quartet of bass, cello, viola and violin—almost drawing too much attention to fragmented nature of Nancarrow’s melodies in this slower piece. The tango- and flamenco-inspired rhythms of Study Nr.6, scored for brass, percussion, and strings, were more dance-like and less biting than in the original conception for player piano (which can be heard here).

Nancarrow of course also wrote for humans sometimes, and the program featured two of his three Canons for Ursula (dedicated to the pianist Ursula Oppens). These are not canons in the traditional sense, rather an interplay of the same melody at different speeds. The works include rapid, mechanized patterns that lend live performances a somewhat creepy quality, yet Nancarrow also gives us glimpses into his rebellious personality, such as the mad walking bass in Canon A, or the playful sweep of the hand across the keyboard in Canon B. Artur Avanesov gave a tight, focused performance.

Much as Nancarrow fled the U.S. for Mexico to pursue an independent set of ideals, the Canadian Vivier had an uprooted, nomadic lifestyle that some trace back to the fact that he was adopted at age three. Pulau Dewata (‘Island of the Gods’), performed in Laboratorium’s own arrangement for oboe, trumpet, trombone, marimba, violin, violin, cello and two melodicas, is an homage to the composer’s séjour in Bali, with Reichian-like textures that were inspired by Vivier’s time with a Gamelan orchestra.

The program opened with his theatrical chamber work Greeting Music, in which the players walk on-and offstage “like zombies,” according to Vivier’s instructions. Grief and alienation lurk beneath deceptively simple thirds and octaves, with grating textures such as a scrubbing cello and scraping against a gong. When the cellist (Markus Hohti) laughs mockingly, the listener is infected with a sense of malaise. The ensemble also performed the ceremonial yet ghostly Et je reverrai cette ville étrange, which explores the feelings of returning to a well-known place after having not been there for a long stretch of time. Vivier opens and closes the piece with a meditative melody; in the inner movements, suspended textures of imperceptible strings, piano, celeste and covered trumpet yield to ethereal pentatonic.

Although Vivier forged his own path in a journey of self-discovery through the Eastern world, only to end up tragically murdered in a Paris apartment, it is hard to place his music in the same category as Nancarrow. Whether or not one is drawn to the stubborn persistence with which the player piano prince dedicated himself to what is now an obsolete instrument, few composers have shown the same degree of defiance toward surrounding trends and developed such an unmistakably individual yet highly complex language. Perhaps it was this led Ligeti to declare Nancarrow the “most important living composer” in 1980.

A Reluctant Blogger Joins the Fray

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

My publisher made me do this.

I’ve always been leery of blogs, from the disgusting sound of the word to the colossal self-importance of the act. Still, I admit to a good read and insight courtesy of bloggers Alex Ross and Alan Rich, and I’m sure I’d find others out there if I took the time. I am told I needed a title. Among friends’ suggestions are “Musical Rants and Raves,” “Bloviation on a Theme by Sedgwick,” “Symphony in E Flatulence,” “Why I Left Muncie,” “High Forehead, Low Brow.” No—too many notes, Mozart. The publisher wants my name in the title, but I can’t hack that. (I’m still working on it.) My only diary experience lasted a few months after I arrived in New York City. Come my first real job, as a press department gofer at The Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, I no longer had time for such things. Samuel Pepys I am not.

I knew since at least the eighth grade that I would make my life in New York. I wanted to be a movie critic. My father was born in New York, but after the war my mother wanted to raise her family in her home town in Indiana. We vacationed in the Mohawk Valley each summer, so the move after college was as normal as blueberry pie—or Carnegie Deli strawberry cheesecake. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. For 40 years I have had the inestimable opportunity to savor all the arts in what I consider the center of the world. Perhaps my enthusiasm for my adopted city’s offerings will ring some others’ chimes.

Two young conductors. I got here in time for Leonard Bernstein’s final season as Philharmonic music director, 1968-69. His concerts and recordings have colored my tastes more than that of any other musician—no surprise, my being a child of his Young People’s Concerts. Nearly 20 years after his death, I walk out after many concerts wondering what Bernstein would have done. Obviously, I’m not alone. The night before going on vacation three weeks ago (1/14), I heard young Venezuelan hotshot (and Bernstein aficionado) Gustavo Dudamel conduct the Mahler Fifth at the Philharmonic. It was a young man’s performance, all drama and climaxes and exciting as all get out, and not even St. Martin’s balmy rays could expunge the memory of that Fifth. He may well be Bernstein reincarnated: all over the podium, barely containing his excitement, and sharing an instinctive sense of rubato that seems to have escaped most conductors and soloists of the last half-century. The orchestra played as if possessed, and then the damnedest thing happened: He comes out for bows, the audience goes wild, and the players sit there stone-faced like Eurydice. Eventually some of them can’t help breaking rank, smiling and tapping their bows. Why? I didn’t see him, but I’ll bet my blog that the New Yorkers’ new music director, Alan Gilbert, was in the house, and the New York Philharmonic wasn’t about to display any favoritism for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new music director. (Both conductors take over their new orchestras in September.) Gilbert had just introduced his new season programming three days before on the Fisher Hall stage. He’s a child of the Philharmonic. His parents were violinists in the orchestra (his father is retired), and young Alan heard Bernstein lead the Phil often. He’s a much different animal than Dudamel—earnest, laid back, perhaps even a little embarrassed at being in the limelight—and the contrast will provide press fodder on both coasts. He’ll be a breath of fresh air after Lorin Maazel’s unadventurous programming . . . if he’s allowed. He wants to encourage young contemporary composers at the Phil, and there are two concerts of world premieres scheduled—safely performed at small venues so that the usual audience suspects won’t look so lonely in Fisher. The other season treat is a three-week Stravinsky festival conducted by Valery Gergiev. I can’t wait! But, and it’s a big but, most of the subscription programs are awfully careful.

Artists of the Year. Last week (2/5) I took Charles Rosen (MA’s 2008 Instrumentalist of the Year) to Zankel Hall to hear Pierre-Laurent Aimard (MA’s 2007 Instrumentalist) juxtapose excerpts of Bach’s “Art of Fugue” with piano works by Elliott Carter (MA’s 1993 Composer). It’s hard to avoid “our” artists these days! February is quite the month for this. Like Aimard, Charles recorded the “Art of Fugue” and most of Carter’s piano music—in fact, he was one of the pianists who commissioned Carter’s “Night Fantasies”—and it was a treat to hear his comments on the works and watch his fingers mime certain passages. On Monday (2/2) at Carnegie I heard an extraordinary recital by Christian Tetzlaff (MA’s 2005 Instrumentalist) and Leif Ove Andsnes—edge-of-seat performances of Brahms’s Third Violin/Piano Sonata and Schubert’s “Rondo brilliant” and hardly less impressive ones of Janácek and Mozart sonatas. Although I already had planned to attend, I was cued by Alan Rich’s blog (soi’ in his review of their LA performance of the same program the previous week: “This was a great evening: violin and piano without flash or schmaltz. . . .”

The Cleveland Orchestra played three concerts at Carnegie last week under Franz Welser-Möst (MA’s Conductor, 2003). I have never heard this most European of American orchestras sound so sumptuous! For months I had looked forward to hearing Ligeti’s “Atmosphères” live (2/4) at last—remember its use in Kubrick’s “2001”?—and it didn’t disappoint. The Carnegie Hall audience was absolutely quiet as W-M beat several “silent” bars at the end, as Ligeti requests; thank goodness he didn’t try that with a Philharmonic audience. Wagner’s “Wesendonck” Lieder featured ravishing pianissimos from soprano Measha Brueggergosman and a perfectly judged accompaniment. And what Strauss’s Technicolor “Alpine Symphony” lacked in drama, it thrilled in sheer tonal beauty. I see that Peter Davis (, 2/6) found the Ligeti a “quaint period piece,” and the soloist in the Wagner “underpowered and lacking firm support” as well as “overly fussy” interpretively. The Strauss “lacked panache and seemed excessively rushed,” he felt. I skipped the second concert, with Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony. I don’t understand why conductors prefer this melodically barren tub-thumper to the far superior Fourth, Sixth, or Eighth. I had greatly anticipated Janácek’s glorious Glagolithic Mass on the third concert (2/7), but after a rather unsettled Mozart 25th and beautifully performed Debussy Nocturnes, W-M chose to play a recent version by Janácek scholar Paul Wingfield “that seeks to restore the composer’s original vision.” Seems that “numerous compromises . . . had been made to accommodate practical needs in the first performance. . . .” Well, maybe so, but on first hearing I found the changes highly disconcerting and deeply disappointing, despite fine playing, solo singing, and superbly solid work from the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus. I was astonished to see no mention whatsoever of the different version in Jim Oestreich’s otherwise perspicacious review in the Times.

Political hypocrisy. Once again the Loyal Opposition is contesting money to the National Endowment for the Arts. Why can’t they accept that the arts generate billions annually, employ millions of Americans, and most importantly, teach kids that everyone has unique talents to offer the world? But no, they’re still equating all the arts with Andres Serrano’s supposedly blasphemous “Piss Christ” and the homoerotic Mapplethorpe photos that were so controversial two decades ago. And now, believe it or not, after eight years of kneejerk voting of billions for a questionable war that may eventually bankrupt the American economy, they’re feigning concern about the monetary legacy we’re leaving our grandchildren. They say the arts aren’t an immediate concern. Like education? The mind boggles.