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October 3, 2008

The group calling itself Free Press Cleveland has carried through on its project to gather signatures on a petition protesting the Cleveland Plain Dealer's indefensible "reassignment" of longtime music critic Don Rosenberg last month. I was pleased to see that the names on the letter delivered to the paper's top management include a member of the Cleveland Orchestra and a noted guest conductor of that ensemble. People from 10 states signed, among them an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and a veteran TV critic. Here's the letter and the signatories (I've removed addresses and phone numbers that were contained on the original):

To: Terrance Egger, President & C.E.O., Susan Goldberg, Editor

We, the undersigned, protest the Plain Dealer's treatment of nationally respected Music Critic Donald Rosenberg. Your decision to ban him from reviewing the Cleveland Orchestra is an act of censorship and an embarrassment to the city. Since you failed to clearly report the action to your readers, we had to find out the truth from the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Wall Street Journal, the L.A. Times, etc. Rosenberg did not resign, as the Plain Dealer seemed to imply. He was demoted, for having respectfully and intelligently criticized a conductor who has met with mixed reviews around the world.

As stated by Musical America.com, Rosenberg is "among the most respected music critics in the business." His reviews were not biased; he reported what he heard, and fostered healthy and intelligent debate. That is a critic's job. The integrity of the Plain Dealer is in question. Your action has sullied the reputations of both the PD and the Orchestra. Since Plain Dealer C.E.O. Terrance Egger is a trustee of the Orchestra, the politics behind the decision are obvious.

Restore Donald Rosenberg to his post as Music Critic, with no restrictions. Restore our faith in the Plain Dealer.

1. Guytano Parks, Lakewood OH

2. John Nelson, guest conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra

3. Thomas Klaber, trombonist, The Cleveland Orchestra

4. MaryAnn Pendergast, Case Western Reserve Univ.

5. Clarke Bustard, Richmond, VA

6. Donato Cabrera, Assistant Conductor, Metropolitan Opera

7. Damir Janigro, Professor of Molecular Medecine, Cleveland Clinic

8. Tatania Falcone, Shaker Heights OH

9. Mike Falcone, Shaker Heights OH

10. Anita Nelson, Boca Raton, FL

11. David Bianculli, TV critic, "TV Worth Watching," Cherry Hill, NJ

12. Joseph Serraglio, Lakewood, OH

13. Claudia Palencia, Shaker Heights, OH

14. Thomas Brodhead, Smyrna, TN 

15. Kim A. Conklin, Cleveland Heights OH

16. David H. Mitchell, arts patron, Avenel, NJ

17. Ivan Vernon, Cleveland State University, Dept. of Marketing

18. Kyle Werner, University of Cincinnati

19. Amy Werner, Grand Rapids, Michigan

20. Nick Tripoulas, Broadview Heights, OH

21. Timothy Ball, Ithica NY 

22. Kathryn Logan, Pittsburgh, PA 

23. Joshua Williams

24. Mark Maxon, University of South Dakota, Vermilion, SD

25. Jeannette Sorrell, Cleveland Heights, OH 

26. Hanne-Berit Hahnemann, Cleveland Heights, OH  

27. Graham Schultz, Lakewood, OH 

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:20 PM | | Comments (0)
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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