National Concert Hall – a broad repertoire

 

Sir, – Pat Egan laments the new direction of programming policy at our National Concert Hall (May 15th). He fears that our national facility for concert performances shall become “even more sheltered, elitist and marginalised”.

As a young music student many years ago, I received my musical education there each Friday evening, hearing the great symphonies of Mahler, Shostakovich and Beethoven and others. Later, as chair of the Irish Composers’ Collective, I ran a successful monthly concert of newly composed music for several years. I had the opportunity to have my pieces performed there, and for myself to perform. I also joined the NCH Gamelan orchestra when it began some years ago. What Mr Egan’s company offers, musically, is none more than the most predictable, conservative and patronising of musical styles, where famous celebrities are impersonated. Mr Egan backs up his argument with nothing more than monetary value.

There is a bottomless well of profound and meaningful music, more than anybody could wish for. It is only made “elitist” by those who continue to push bland, popular, meaningless conservatism, via an attitude of accountant number crunching. There is already enough of this saturating all media. If life is rich and interesting, what’s the point of marketing dullness? – Yours, etc,

DONAL Mac ERLAINE,

Cuenca,

Ecuador.

Sir, – Pat Egan writes that the NCH should only put on “classical and opera” and “popular music shows” as it would not be commercially successful for them to do otherwise.

If this is true, can he explain how Keith Jarrett (jazz pianist) sold out his show last year? How did The Gloaming (traditional music group) sell out seven shows in March this year? How did Kamasi Washington (jazz saxophonist) and Donny McCaslin (saxophonist) sell out their shows in June and October this year? – Yours, etc,

PAUL SODEN,

Santry,

Dublin 9.