As a 22-year subscriber and longtime donor to the Utah Symphony, I appreciated your article about Concertmaster Ralph Matson ["Musical Chairs, Nov. 12, City Weekly].
Unfortunately, you played softball with Music Director Thierry Fischer. The guy conducts like a robot and has the musicality of a brick. Nearly everything is off: tempos, dynamics and sensitivity to the music. We've thought about giving up on the symphony, but we want to support the arts.
I'll concede the possibility that Fischer has replaced mediocre musicians with superior artists, but you'd never know it with his conducting. The orchestra sounds worse, not better. I'd much rather hear an orchestra of modest talent led by a superior conductor. Fortunately, we sometimes have that opportunity when a guest conductor takes the podium.
Fischer should look in the mirror before canning orchestra members. Perhaps, just perhaps, he's the problem.
Salt Lake City
UTA Needs to Be Accountable
We all watched for the past few weeks, as we were bombarded with billboards, fliers and even phone calls to convince us that if we just voted "yes" to a tax increase, we would have clean air and no more potholes. Life would be better for everyone.
Then the questions started: Who could afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on this campaign? And who will get the tax dollars? The answer is the same for both: Utah Transit Authority! That's right, almost 40 percent of this, close to $20 million would go to the UTA.
The same UTA that pays its executives over $100,000 a year. The same UTA that is getting $139 million from Salt Lake County alone. The same UTA whose executives get tens of thousands of dollars in perks a year from developers.
A majority of voters saw through this scam, and said, "No."
Now, it is time that we, the taxpayers, get a full accounting of where all of this money is coming from and going. We have been begging the Utah attorney general to look into the UTA for years now. Now, there is no excuse. We need a full investigation into where our tax dollars are going.
There are several puzzling changes mentioned in your article on the Utah Symphony ["Musical Chairs, Nov. 12, City Weekly], but there is one more that should be noted. Nearly every member of the volunteer Symphony Chorus has unceremoniously been replaced by paid professionals. Many of the former members have given of their time and considerable talents for years to enrich our symphony experiences.
I'm not sure as an audience member that I value the increased emphasis on professionalism if it means taking out the community. Why would an organization that has struggled so much with finances oust such a dedicated and talented group willing to volunteer in favor of a paid chorus?
Tagging Not Appreciated
Hello! These graffiti artists are just f—king up people's sh—t! Really? ["Paint Misbehavin'," Nov. 12, City Weekly]. A local railroad club owns two rail cars: Visualize two 85-foot-long cars—one wood, one steel—with graffiti along one side of both of them. At least, the taggers were afraid to do both sides, as they would have been seen from the street.
Now take a group of men mostly in their 70s and 80s using steel wool to clean up the one car. The other car is still full of the graffiti. Tagging is nothing more than destroying people's private property.
So, Mr. Wiemeyer, are you ready to come paint the wood rail car in the spring to cover up the graffiti?