Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saving $600,000 by Killing an Invaluable Cultural Reality is Detestable

Silencing orchestra is cultural vandalism

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Re: CBC Radio Orchestra axed, Westcoast News, March 28

In attempting to disband one of the finest orchestras on this continent, the CBC has shown its disregard for its own country's cultural legacy. CBC managers are abandoning their responsibility to the people whose best interests they are supposed to serve. I call on the CBC to reverse this reprehensible decision immediately.

I have had the honour of performing as piano soloist with more than 100 different orchestras throughout the world. I happily rank the CBC Radio Orchestra among the top five, in the company of the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic. The entire nation can be rightly proud of this incredible orchestra which is led by one of today's finest young conductors.

This decision by the CBC amounts to an act of cultural vandalism on a national scale. Imagine the Vancouver Art Gallery stripping its walls of Lawren Harris and Emily Carr because big-eye pictures of animals and clowns sell better. Imagine our libraries tossing out Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood because they are sometimes tough reading and lining their shelves with Harlequin romance novels that attract more readers.

Beginning this Sunday afternoon with a solo recital in Vancouver, I will make a public statement of protest at every Canadian musical engagement in which I appear -- solo, chamber and with orchestra. I call upon my fellow musicians in Canada to do the same.

It is a sad day when artists have to stand up to defend their contributions against the very institutions which were founded to foster cultural understanding, emotional connection and pride in the Canadian character.

Sara Davis Buechner
Concert pianist
Assistant Professor of Music,
University of British Columbia

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