A message from Robert Spano

Posted by Mark Gresham | 26 Sep 2014

Robert Spano, Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, has issued the following message in the wake of last night’s “A Deafening Silence” demonstration on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, in front of the south entrance to the Galleria of Symphony Hall. Last night was to have been the opening night of the ASO’s 70th anniversary season, but the orchestra is in the midst of a lockout by management, which has canceled the orchestra’s concerts through Nov. 8. The musicians, under the moniker of ATL Symphony Musicians, will instead perform a pair of back-to-back concerts at Kennesaw State University’s 620-seat Morgan Hall, Bailey Performance Center, at 7pm and 9pm. Spano’s statement was first published by ArtsATL in a longer article by Jenny Jarvie, less than a half hour ago, which includes a statement by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. See the full story on ArtsATL
Robert Spano (credit: Chris Lee)

Robert Spano (credit: Chris Lee)

I am a proud Atlantan. I have made my home here since 2001 and have loved the vitality and aspiration of my adopted city. I have also had the privilege and honor of being at the helm of one of the great musical institutions of our country.

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.”

~Robert Spano