The excellence that defines the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is rich with tradition: the profound legacy of Robert Shaw, a celebrated recording history — including 27 Grammy Awards — an historical and ongoing commitment to new and American music, path-breaking theatrical presentations, The Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and Talent Development Program, whose alumni are testament to their importance, and standard setting performances of the choral-orchestral repertoire with the legendary Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. If this dynamic cultural institution is lost, it will be a blow to the musical life of our country and to music lovers everywhere. More importantly, for Atlantans, it will be a tragic loss for our city.
In the life of any great city beats the heart of a vibrant culture. The ASO has been a cornerstone of Atlanta for decades. Now we need no longer only imagine our city without the ASO. Concerts are currently canceled, and the brilliant and talented musicians who are the lifeblood of our orchestra are locked out. Many have dispersed to seek employment elsewhere.
As Atlantans, we must rise to the challenge of supporting and sustaining this treasure at the level of excellence we have known and are deservedly proud. The erosion of cultural life is a sure sign of the decay of civilization. But crisis can lead to opportunity, and ours is now. We can be the “shining city on a hill.” ■