Alienating the donors
August 31, 2009
Bravo to Bernard Phillips for stating in public what concertgoers have muttered to each other about the pre-concert pep talks delivered by the Aspen Music Festival’s showboating CEO. Music speaks for itself and needs no emcee.
Would that the CEO’s public persona were confined to these speeches. He stands at the entrance of the Tent or at the exit to an aisle in Harris Hall, ostensibly greeting concertgoers, but when one tries to say hello, he delivers a half-smile and a wordless glance to the side, then banters with the few he chooses not to snub. Bernard Phillips states that he has stopped his “modest giving,” but the unfortunate fact is that some who give less modestly have also closed their checkbooks out of displeasure with the man on top.
In this time of economic stress, the Aspen Music Festival – a true necessity to American cultural life – cannot afford to retain as its public face a person who alienates an audience he needs desperately to befriend.