Downsizing the BSO would be cultural suicide

It would be nothing short of cultural suicide to allow any diminution of the stature of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (“BSO board chair: We need change to secure the orchestra's future,” Nov. 21). Not a day passes on most, if not all, classical music radio stations across the United States without hearing BSO recordings. In its long history the BSO has earned wide name recognition for its musicians, conductors and recordings that stands as a testament to the cultural heritage of Baltimore.

Can Baltimore truly afford to diminish the stature of such an important historical and currently essential institution? The price of support pales in comparison to the loss of important values represented by the work of this organization (“Time for Baltimoreans to rally around the BSO,” Nov. 19).Social, economic, artistic and educational benefits accrue to cities with strong orchestras. As an icon and cultural ambassador also evidenced by the recent successful United Kingdom tour, weakening of the stability and international standing of the orchestra weakens the city. Sound cultural institutions attract diverse, dynamic and creative businesses and people that seek to live in communities that promote education and quality of life. A vibrant community requires and supports a full complement of resources that nurture mind, body and spirit.

A weaker BSO undermines several emblems of community health. The public expects highly trained professional musicians, such as the current members who have been worthy ambassadors of one of the most magical, creative and transcendent human experiences. They perform a service that deserves to be recognized as essential for the values of a strong community. It is my profound hope that the current situation is seen as an opportunity to expand the BSO interface with the community and that there will be a favorable environment between management, musicians and donors that see this as the time to come together to enhance creativity and good working conditions and to STRENGTHEN rather than diminish the importance of the BSO and insure its future.

The BSO is a treasure. The radiant glow of public pride in Baltimore’s orchestra that has evolved over the last 100 years can and should continue for the next 100.

Juliet Cimino, Washington, D.C.

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