While universities have often rejected hosting conservative speakers on their campuses, it is now apparently necessary to prevent conservatives from just appearing even when not speaking. This “new low” is occurring because liberals now want to do to orchestras what they’ve done to universities.
A perfect example of this new effort to prevent conservatives from making music is demonstrated by the effort to prevent Dennis Prager, a conservative talk radio host and orchestra conductor, to make music at the prestigious Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, on Wednesday, August 16.
In an syndicated column written by Prager on Tuesday (which appeared at Townhall.com, among other places), he explained that he has been “conducting symphony orchestras in Southern California” for several years because “I love making music,” and he helps “raise funds for local orchestras” since he donates any money he receives for his performances.
Because Prager wanted “to expose as many people to classic music as possible,” he accepted a request six months ago from Guido Lamell -- conductor of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra and a longtime member of the violin section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic -- to conduct his orchestra.
“I said ‘Yes’ even before he added the punchline -- at the Walt Disney Concert Hall,” the musician added before stating:
For those not up to date on concert halls, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which opened less than 15 years ago, is one of the preeminent concert halls of the world.
Being invited to conduct a superb orchestra at that hall is one of the great honors of my life.
However,” he noted, “about a month ago, a few members of the orchestra, supported by some Santa Monica city officials, decided to lead a campaign to have me disinvited.”
“To its great credit, the board of directors of the orchestra, composed of individuals of all political outlooks, has completely stood by its conductor and his invitation to me,” Prager stated.
“But the attempt to cancel me continues,” he indicated. “It is being organized by three members of the orchestra, each of whom has refused to play that night.”
“Readers will not be surprised to learn that two of the three organizers are college professors,” Prager noted. “Michael Chwe is a professor of political science at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), and Andrew Apter is a professor of history at UCLA.”
“In an open letter to the symphony's members posted on the Slipped Disc website,” the conductor noted, “the three wrote: ‘A concert with Dennis Prager would normalize hatred and bigotry.’"
“One example of my hatred and bigotry includes my belief that in giving a child over for adoption, adoption agencies should prefer a married man and woman before singles and same-sex couples,” he stated.
“Another -- my favorite -- is my having said that if there is no God, ethics are subjective,” Prager noted, “which will offend atheist members of the orchestra.”
The conductor continued:
These are the types of academics who are giving universities their reputation for illiberal closed-mindedness -- which not only ruins the universities as educational institutions but also hurts them financially.
The New York Times recently published an article on how many alumni are no longer donating money to the colleges they attended because of the war on diverse thought on their campuses.
“Not to be outdone by these professors, a former mayor of Santa Monica and current council member, Kevin McKeown, was quoted on Slipped Disk as saying: ‘I personally will most certainly not be attending a concert featuring a bigoted hate-monger. The judgment (or lack of) shown in inviting Prager may affect future community support for the Symphony.”
“However, there are other voices,” Prager noted. “Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole does not agree with the former mayor: ‘This City supports the arts,’ he said when asked by the Santa Monica Lookout whether the symphony's invitation presented difficulties.”
“It appears that Dennis Prager supports the arts,” Cole added. “The City, in funding a season of musical performances, does not choose what music is played or who plays it at any particular concert."
“I have devoted this column to this subject to expose the latest attempt of anti-liberal leftists -- the real haters -- to shut conservatives out of every form of intellectual and artistic endeavor,” he added.
“Another reason is to ask readers in Southern California to attend the concert,” Prager noted. "The more people who attend, ... the greater the message that music must transcend political differences. And it rewards the Santa Monica Symphony board and conductor for their moral courage.”
For more information on the event, including ticket prices, go to the symphony’s website at this link.