Future of the Arts in a Mixed Capitalist Economy LO30751

From: Ray Evans Harrell (mcore@nyc.rr.com)
Date: 11/03/03

Replying to LO30713 --

To the list

This is an update to the list on the above thread. I posted the links
to the reviews of the first concert in the American Masters Arts
Festival Biennial. What follows is a general note that I penned to
the performers after the concert. I am interested in any comments
about what is being done. I described my polling methods, simple as
they are. I also am working to build both belief and interest in a
very depressed and cynical professional sector. I am definitely
interested in anything you might have to comment on. As is noted in
the letter, the concert was a raving success with the elite of the
Arts and Letters world attending and the press approving of the
product which was IMHO spectacular and on a par with the best concerts
presented in NYCity.

Ray Evans Harrell

----- Original Message -----

EPILOGUE: To the company,

A final note on this week past the premier concert.

Thank you all again.

If any of you wish to perform the songs or Ned Rorem on programs,
recitals, etc. and would like to be included under the umbrella of the
American Masters Arts Festival, just let us know. We would be happy
to advertise you in the Festival buzz that will be going out
throughout the season. You have proven your quality and we would be
happy to sponsor or help you in any way we can. We will also have an
occasional slot on a recital for some special Rorem song or songs that
are rarely performed. They will be recorded so it could be a plus.
Any way in which we can help any of you with your careers, putting
your talent forward, etc. don't hesitate to ask.

There have been many hand written notes from agents and performers
that I simply do not have time to type into the data base yet. I'm
working next week for the entire week with a Wotan from Vienna who has
concerts to prepare and so I'm strapped for time. He's purchased the
entire week.

I also have to get down to work on the Florentine Symposium. We have
the greatest Board of Advisors and an amazing management team to work
with them on the problems of the arts in America. The demands on my
meager mind with these experts are considerable so I can't keep up
with some of the informational activities that I would like.

Stephanie is in Knoxville for the week and doing office work via phone
and internet. Should you wonder who the Board is, check out the last
page of the program from Monday night. I'm sure you will be amazed as
am I. We all want this to succeed.

We have retained Susan L. Schulman as the publicity manager for the
company for the rest of the season. We were beyond thrilled with her
work on the concert.

Following is a smattering of the e-mails that we have received. Some
have been more than one so I only put in one.

It will take some time for us to build momentum for Chamber Opera and
American vocal music but this is the start. Note that some of the
people from around the country have been following it as well as a
publisher in the UK. Harvests begin with seeds.

For those who believe that this is not the beginning consider that
there were over 60,000 chamber opera houses in America in 1900.
(estimate based on 1,300 documented houses in Iowa) Today there are
less than 1,300 opera houses nationwide. (Opera America 2001)
America graduated 6,952 singers in 1996 (Peterson Professional Guide
to Performing Arts Programs) for less than 400 productions (Opera
America 1996) and that is not counting the singers already in the

We will not rest until America has a Chamber Opera Center in every
city of 100,000 or more in the US. A center with two "state of the
art" theaters, a school and with an "in house repertory ensemble" and
orchestra. Sound like a dream? It already exists in the nation's
mega-churches in the cities. The opera facilities will be generic,
uniform (like a virtuoso instrument) and able to share production
software through common information software all across the nation.
Their ensembles will be able to make a living, have families and
minister to the artistic needs of their communities thus re-creating
the original American artistic ideal that Charles Ives claimed was a
"paradise" compared to the present "non-paradise."

Still far fetched? Consider this, the UK has doubled their operatic
output and opera houses over the past forty years while America has
one more major house than they did when I was in high school in the
1950s. (Largely America has what Europe calls "Festival Houses"
rather than full time work) Fifty percent of the opera houses of the
UK are chamber opera local establis hments as I am advocating here.
To a small island nation or to another nation the size of two
Wisconsins (Germany) America is an artistic wasteland. As the British
director who shared these statistics with me called it "a desert."
That is unacceptable and we plan to change it.

Audience testing: MCORE has for several years, with a couple of pop
stars, used audience research to draw up our theories and test our
assumptions. It works, we had a "hit" in the UK two years ago and
another on the way this year.

As for the Ned Rorem premier concert we deliberately invited the
audience from all classes, ethnicities and segments in the society to
this concert. Since the concert we have been polling each group.

The conclusion? This is not art for the elite but art for all. The
simple fact is that the maids, building workers and laborers with
their children who came were as thrilled by Ned Rorem and the
performance as the intelligentsia of the society. Both were given
their tickets by invitation. (We also saved tickets for the buying
public as well and they too responded by purchasing the expensive
tickets that would bring them to meet this great composer.) After the
concert they stood around for two hours in a terribly hot reception
area where the air conditioning was malfunctioning just to be with,
talk to and get their picture taken with America's greatest composer
of vocal music. Not bad!

The one cogent fact is that the intelligentsia can buy their tickets
while the average working people cannot. That is why complex art is
only supported by the wealthy. Its not that people like my parents
and friends on the Indian reservation, don't want good music. They
have it in their churches and they come to public concerts by the
thousands, but they cannot afford the expensive tickets and their
children don't get the exposure to great art as a result. I would add
that I don't go to the elite activities much either for the very same
reason. I put my money into our own productions and my own art like
the October 27 concert. I don't have the money to spend paying the
high prices that are demanded these days for tickets to art that
belongs to and should develop the society for all of us!

So I am committed to changing this. Just as MCORE's Gypsy Carmen at
LaMama opened doors to different view of a despised minority and our
Flamenco opera company proved that singers could and should act and
dance, rather than resembling "giant battleships passing in the
night", so will we return classical arts to the people from which I
came. From the environment that gave America, Maria Tallchief,
Moscelyn Larkin, Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, Tsianina the
Metropolitan Opera's Shanewis in the 1920s and today Louis Ballard the
international composer known all over Europe but hardly known in
America. (or by his colleagues although recently Ballard was given an
entire concert of his music at the Beethoven Halle in Bonn) Or Burl
Lane the great bassoonist in the Chicago Symphony and Mickey Mantle.
All of them from one little corner of NE Oklahoma and not from the
elite but from the common people who love art, music, dance and who
consider it the property of all Americans.

This may seem like bragging about my home state, but I could have made
the same case for the fine musicians fromTennessee just from members
of our own cast on Monday night! Our cast was not chosen from NYCity
elites but was chosen by audition competition and was from all over
the Eastern seaboard. But there WERE a lot from Tennessee.

Art belongs to all Americans and if the best secular American art is
available to the public and marketed, as well as other fine products,
people will choose quality over the shallow. Ultimately people look
for value and meaning in life. Monday night they found it in the
music and in your performances of Ned Rorem.

Anyone who does not understand that we all desire quality and a
quality life, has never gone near the ghetto or an Indian reservation.
I have done both and know all of these worlds.

MCORE is committed to bringing quality secular artistic products to
the people of America at prices that they can all afford and for the
greater good of the future of American culture.

Following are just a few of the comments by people who have enjoyed
that product and others who share the same taste and goals. Enjoy.
And read those reviews. You did that!

Ray Evans Harrell

PS: Anyone who would like to remain on the company e-mail list for
audition updates, activities and general conversation about chamber
opera, recitals and American music in particular should simply let us
know at mcore@nyc.rr.com and we will put you on the MCORE newsletter
list. REH

Dear Ray:

Yes, the concert was spectacular. Fortunately for us that made up for
all of the usual travel problems---we had very bump flights in both
directions, but we survived!!!!!

I sometimes think that if you and Stephanie could be cloned about 500
times that is about all that would be needed to establish the Network.
I wonder if you have a really good microbiologist on your Board.....

Back to the concert. I think it had to be the most rewarding night of
Ned Rorem's life.

Also it was a great surprise to hear from Albee. He is nothing like I
had imagined. He almost sounded like I imagine myself to

I hope when I am a few years older I will be as sprightly as Ned and

Florentine Symposium Member
World expert in complexity and Interactive Management.
Flew in from Florida for the concert.

Congratulations to all of you and thanks for a very special evening --
it was an honor and a delight to be there. And nothing will ever equal
the experience of seeing Ned's face as he heard his music so
beautifully performed, and his joy at the audience's reception of it.

Florentine Symposium Member
Biographer, Critic, Editor and singer in one of the cities finest church


Thanks for sharing your brilliant letter with me. Although I'm not
sophisticated enough to 'get' Rorem's music on my own, if you taught
me, I'd surely enjoy him. The man sounds like a true hero. Someday
someone will say the same about you. (if it hasn't already happened)

Best to Stephanie.

Florentine Symposium member who was out of the country. Retired Wall
Street Banker and now spends his time flying around the world working
on humanitarian issues.

ray--a quick note from shanghai, where I am at the moment, to tell you
that you scored a triumpyh--what a great show, what fabulous singers,
what amazing music!

congratulations, and thank you

Florentine Symposium member
Author and Editor of the one of the Nation's most prestigious Business

Thank you so much for inviting me and my son. We enjoyed it so very
much. We don't get an opportunity to see this very often. The music
was beautiful.

Houseworker NYCity

Congratulations, Ray. Excellent! Kudos to you and Stephanie and
everyone at MCORE.

Glad to see this, finally. I've been holding my breath all week.

MCORE supporter and Chamber Opera fan in Seattle

What an exciting event - I knew it HAD to be wonderful! It's not
where you're from that counts, it's what you do with what you are
given and you have obviously done VERY well! I know you must be very

If a person "from a reservation school" can make good, maybe there's
hope for a young dancer, a budding Bio-Informaticist, and a talented
artist (my 3 kiddos!) from Lubbock, TX! I am so happy for your
success!! Congratulations!

MCORE supporter and Chamber Opera fan in Lubbock, Texas

Hello Ray,

Just a note to thank you for allowing me to attend your wonderful Ned
Rorem program last evening at Merkin. Very well thought out and
representative of Ned's vocal output. The performers and performances
were quite fine and including the wonderful tributes, added
immensely........(business talk excluded)

The Stan Tucker Vocal Ensemble was quite good. Certainly on the level
of Gregg Smith with his wonderful ensemble. ........... Again,
congratulations to you and all involved.

Recording company CEO


Congrats to you all -- last night was a triumph for all concerned. I
hope you are all pleased.........

Again, congratulations to all of you.

New York publicist

Ray and Stephanie,

Congratulations on a very successful evening..... It is so nice when
the artists you admire live up to your expectations with their grace
and talent.

opera singer

Dear Ray,

I hope you are very pleased with last night's performance. It was
delightful. - a real sampling of Rorem's oeuvre by wonderful singers.
All my guests had a superb time. Rorem output is amazing, as are you
for planning such a wonderful tribute.....

Best and thanks,
Florentine Symposium Member
Author and arts specialist, writer for the NEA


International Economist, Canada
Moderator Futurework List on the Internet

Well done!

Publisher Handlo Music United Kingdom


Mucho congrats on the reviews to you, Stephanie and the company !!!!!

Florentine Symposium Member
Former Comptroller for the world's largest foundation

Hi Ray,

Congratulations on your theatrical presentation. Noticed you have an
upcoming concert with the EOS Orchestra. I am truly envious that you
have access to these venues.

I have the EOS orchestra's Telarc recording of Aaron Copland's
"Celluloid Copland." I have collected filmmusic since I was 12 years

Again, congratulations! All the best.

With respect,

Futurework list on the internet


Add our congratulations to the list.

Darryl downloaded the article so that we can send
it to you two years from now--when you get worried
about funding for the next project.

Futurework list on the internet

Ned Rorem called and expressed his deepest appreciation and feelings
for both the performance and the performers. He asked me to convey
his feelings and his thanks for everyone's efforts in the cause of
American vocal music. REH


"Ray Evans Harrell" <mcore@nyc.rr.com>

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