Monday, June 14, 2010

Ernest Fleischmann, 1924-2010

Left to right: Frank Gehry, Diane Disney Miller, Fred Nicholas, Ernest Fleischmann, 1988.

To be honest, I thought he was older than 85.

He was both marketer and product manager; a rare combination, especially for someone in music. Most of all, he knew, and pushed for, the value of the staged early triumph, a template borrowed from Bernstein; it was the template that serviced both Esa-Pekka (even with the same Mahler symphony as Lenny) and Gustavo.

I didn't know him, but he once told me that he found most Disney Hall seats not to his liking, and I liked him for that alone.

Now departed, the perpetual shills at the Times ask Frank Gehry, not a musician, for comment; they should have asked, say, Simon Rattle, or someone else who had to deal with his musical mind, rather than his singular determined hope for a special monument to his longtime orchestra.

But maybe it's appropriate to invite Gehry to babble and lie about him. There aren't a lot of symphonies in America that play in a hall totally dedicated to symphonic music, one that can't stage opera or ballet also; this most of all was Fleischmann's dream for the LA Phil, and he got it--at considerable cost to all involved, and even quite a few not involved as well.

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