PipeChat Digest #4268 - Thursday, February 12, 2004 Article in the Daily Northwestern by <Gfc234@aol.com>
(back) Subject: Article in the Daily Northwestern From: <Gfc234@aol.com> Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 02:48:27 EST CAMPUS Organ program debate draws national concern By Laurel Jorgensen February 11, 2004 Criticism of a recent proposal to cut School of Music's organ program has extended beyond NU to include the national organ community. "(The cancellation) makes a particularly negative statement about the profession which is not justified," said Michael Barone, host and producer = of Pipedreams, a weekly radio program that plays organ and church music. "It = seems to imply that there is no need for well-trained organists, and that's not = true. There is always room for (skilled artists) to find their way." A Jan. 30 statement by Music Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery attributed the proposed cancellation to the departure of Douglas Cleveland, the only = full-time organ professor, along with low program demand and "a need to allocate the = school's resources wisely." Some organists found the statement tough to stomach. World-renowned = organist and composer Pamela Decker expressed her dismay in an e-mail to The Daily = on Tuesday. "Dean Montgomery's statement pictured the organ program as a declining, struggling entity," wrote Decker, an associate professor of organ and = music theory at the University of Arizona. "This program had 11 organ majors with 15 students signed up for auditions for next year. The program was clearly = healthy and in the hands of one of the finest organists in the world." Decker also wrote that Cleveland, a personal friend of hers, was not = leaving voluntarily. "(Montgomery's) implication that Douglas Cleveland 'will be leaving Northwestern this year' is accurate only in that if the program is = eliminated, he will have no choice," she wrote. "(It) was not his plan to leave." Neither Montgomery nor Cleveland were in town this week for comment, and = no other officials are permitted to comment on personnel matters. Many upset by the proposal said they have sent letters to Montgomery, University President Henry Bienen and University Provost Lawrence Dumas, = hoping to prevent the program's cancellation. Barone, whose radio show is syndicated = on 176 stations nationwide, said he has received about 40 or 50 letters from listeners. "They were, as I am, aghast and dismayed and concerned and confused," he = said. The cancellation of one of the country's premier programs, he said, would = be a loss to the entire organ community. "It's most disappointing because Northwestern's music department formerly = was kind of built around the prestige of the organ department," Barone said. "Many, many of today's top-grade professional organists in the United = States were trained there." Fred Swann, Music '52 and current president of the American Guild of Organists, said NU should have done more to maintain the program. "Because of the prominence of what Northwestern has had, it could be = regained if they would put some effort into it," he said. "If anything they have = tried to kill it rather than make it work."