An Open Letter To Bill Gates Regarding Classical Music In America
Dear Mr. Gates : You have achieved great fame for your extraordinary generosity with your enormous wealth toward charitable projects everywhere . I would like to bring your attention to a cause which is very close to my heart and that of many other Americans , namely, the plight of so many of America's outstanding symphony orchestras and opera companies in these difficult economic times for America .
I have heard that you have said that you have no desire to contribute money to opera companies in America . I do not know why this is so, but with all due respect , I feel that you are terribly misguided to think this way , and I presume you also feel this way about our symphony orchestras , and feel that they are not deserving of your help . I beg to try to convince you how wrong you are .
I do not know if you enjoy classical music and listen to it with any frequency or have any knowledge of it or interest in it . But please be aware that the livelihoods of so many talented, dedicated and hard-working classical musicians in America are threatened by the difficult economy and the woefully inadequate financial support they receive from both our government , philanthropies and corporations are threatened by this , and many members of orchestras and opera companies have already lost their jobs because of this, not to mention those who work on administration , as well as bitterly disappointed audiences all over America .
These are people with families to support . Classical music is not a frivolous entertainment for wealthy people, but something which should be available to anyone who wishes to attend concerts and opera , and there are so many of these in America . Contrary to popular belief , it is in no way "elitist " . It is something which brings joy , excitement and mental stimulation to countless peopel all over the world .
Our symphony orchestrras and opera companies provide gainful employemt to so many people in all 50 states . And they are world-class institutions ,many of which are famous throughout the world, such as the Metropolitan opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago symphony, the Boston symphony, the Philadelphia orchestra, Boston symphony , to name only a handful .
Collectively, they rank with the greatest of America's national treasures . This nation cannot afford to lose them, because no nation should allow its national treasures to be lost or destroyed . Please, consider providing financial help for those which are struggling to maintain their existence, or which have been forced to gp under .
The arts are NOT a frivolous thing . They are a vital part of the life of any nation . And remember - if America's symphony orchestras and opera companies can flourish , not to mention its dance and drama companies , they help the U.S. economy to flourish, too . The arts are GOOD for America . Please do not forget this .
Thank you . Sincerely yours, Robert Berger , an advocate for the preservation and advancement of classical music in America .