Attacks on Fletcher unwarranted
Since first coming to Aspen in the mid-1980s, we have loved the Music Festival. The past four years, under Alan Fletcher, have been the best ever.
Now he is being skewered, but not for the operation he runs, since even the critics must concede that the AMFS has been superb during his tenure.
Rather, he’s being skewered for implementing the strategic plan adopted by the Festival board. That’s peculiar, since an outsider would presume that’s what a CEO should do – implement the board’s directive.
The board decided to relieve fewer than 10 percent of the faculty – extraordinarily small in this economic climate – and to clip the Festival one week (it still remains among the longest in the U.S.), for which malcontents like Paul Kantor attack CEO Fletcher, full of bile.
As executive director of The Aspen Institute’s “Arts and Ideas” program, I have worked with Mr. Fletcher for the past several years. He’s cooperated with the Institute, as he has with the Jazz Festival and Ballet and Film Festival and everyone else in town, giving all of us opportunities for artistic and intellectual excellence which we lacked under his predecessors.
He has so enriched life in Aspen – which we homeowners especially appreciate – as recently to be named one of the 10 outstanding citizens, by Aspen Magazine.
I’ve worked closely with Mr. Fletcher on planning yearly seminars. He’s a delight to work with – considerate, problem-free, focused on the excellence of the overall product.
In contrast stand his opponents. Generally, they’re anonymous – The Aspen Times is full of vile quotes from unnamed critics – since they obviously aren’t proud of what they’re doing. Otherwise, they’d be quoted by name, as are Mr. Fletcher’s supporters.
Finally, none of them raise the real two issues: Has the quality of the AMFS slipped under his leadership? No one contends it has. And, second, what’s so bad about a CEO implementing the board decision on a strategic plan? Hard, too, to make that argument.
Without any substance behind the attacks, they go personal. And it’s ugly – the opposite of the beauty and finest in human aesthetics and values, which the AMFS represents to us.
executive director, Aspen Institute Arts and Ideas program
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