Ron Ummel to Henry Fogel

Ronald Ummel, PO Box 763, Meredith, NH 03253

July 12, 2009

New Hampshire Music Festival
52 Symphony Lane
Center Harbor, NH 03226

Mr. Henry Fogel:

I have just returned from the final concert by Maestro Polivnick and, as usual, have been extremely impressed, inspired, and enthralled by his breathtaking interpretations of the music he directs.  The Mozart “Concertante” was probably the most moving and transcendent interpretation that I have ever heard.  This, in combination with his passionate presentation of the Sibelius’ 7th Symphony, thrilled me to a point where it was difficult to get up from my seat and leave the venue.

Your attempt to change and dismantle this passionate and extremely talented Orchestra that, under the baton of Paul Polivnick had reached a pinnacle of greatness that very few festival orchestras have ever attained, is completely beyond my comprehension. Your comments in “Henry’s Corner” of the A Tutti Newsletter was a not so thinly veiled insult to M. Polivnick, the NHMF Orchestra, and all of us who have faithfully supported and enjoyed their wonderful interpretations of the classics over the years.  After reading your comments on the inadequacies of the present orchestra and insults to its wonderful and talented director, I would have to question as to whether you have ever attended any of M. Polivnick’s concerts.

 It is also interesting to note that the term “Romantic Excess” was coined for a reason.  (i.e. to describe the selfish, and egocentric excesses of many “romantic” – out of control – performers).  Even Chopin (one of the most revered “Romantic” composers), often chided his pupils to refrain from gross tempo changes and personal “excesses” in interpreting his works.    I am afraid that, under your and David’s new leadership, the self-absorbed and egomaniacal nature of contemporary rock and rap music (read – “romantic excess/interpretive freedom”) combined with the worst qualities of the “me” generation will finally infiltrate our wonderful classical traditions. Is this what you really want for our concerts here in beautiful New Hampshire???

As an avid supporter of the NHMF for the last 10 years I have ALWAYS been inspired, enthralled, and spellbound by the wonderful presentations of Maestro Polivnick, and was looking forward to another year of memorable concerts.  I can see now after this first concert and having become fully aware of your demeaning treatment of this exciting Orchestra and the possibility of a rather heavy-handed imposition of a “self-absorbed” musical philosophy, I have some very serious doubts as to whether this wonderful tradition will be able to continue.   

A large number of faithful concertgoers were very much hurt and angered during this recent concert when they finally realized what was taking place relative to the imposition of your personal, dubious, and rather questionable musical ideology on the NHMF. Your and David’s furtive and clandestine way of informing the NHMF’s faithful supporters of your intentions to “dismantle” NHMF’s wonderful Orchestra and its long standing traditions, was probably the most hurtful and insensitive acts I have recently had the opportunity to witness and be a part of.    

I would guess that, had the faithful supporters been made aware of these questionable actions prior to this season, you would have had many cancellations, thus, the need for the clandestine operation that you and David planned and executed.   You must have suspected that your self-centered approach to music and heavy-handed plans to restructure the orchestra would not have got a positive response from the NHMF’s family of committed, faithful, and knowledgeable supporters.

Although the damage done by your recent actions is irreparable and will definitely have a long lasting and adverse effect on the your, David’s, and the NHMF’s future credibility and reputation, it is hoped that your dealings in the future toward the faithful and dedicated performers and committed concert-goers will be more sensitive, transparent, and respectful and in keeping with the professionalism that is expected of musical professionals like David and yourself. Shame on you for this lack of thoughtfulness and sensitivity to your most passionate and committed supporters!

Respectfully submitted,

Ronald Ummel
CC: Maestro Paul Polivnick;  Concert Master – Ronald Patterson;  NHMF CEO – David Graham,