James William Boyd, D.M.A.
Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra
First, let me introduce myself by stating unequivocally my appreciation of the LPO and its increasing potency under the direction of Carlos Miguel Prieto. It has truly been an epic rise in the story of post-Katrina New Orleans. I have thoroughly enjoyed the 2017-18 season, with such highlights as Revuelta’s La noche de los Mayas, and Bela Fleck’s Banjo Concerto No. 3.
My name is Esquizito, I am an artist and musician. I have most recently focused my work on the death of Prince, while offering reflections on his life in music. I am writing this letter to express my disappointment and dismay regarding the LPO’s recent concert, A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Prince - held at the Orpheum Theatre, April 21st 2018.
Programmed on the second anniversary of his tragic passage, the event appeared to offer a worthy ascending of the musical artistry of Prince to the concert stage. And, perhaps, an emotional catharsis that only a full orchestra could provide. As the promotion of “a tribute band” raised suspicions, there was yet an anticipation of virtuosity.
I regret, yet am no less compelled in expressing to you how woefully inadequate this presentation was. From the first moments of the concert, it was apparent to me that: 1) Thomas Wilkins was not conductor, as was previously billed; 2) The musicians comprising the tribute band exhibited none of the level of ability Prince demanded from his bands, instrumentalists and backing singers; and 3) The orchestra was relegated to whole notes and half-notes, lost in repeats, and barely audible.
Indeed, I left my second row center seat after the first three selections.
Now I’d like to relate what happened on my way out of the theatre. My departure was noticed; and I was followed immediately by a young couple who approached me as I stood outside. In fact they had recognized me from a matinee screening of Purple Rain just two weeks prior.
The Mom & Dad looked to me for an explanation. “It’s jive.” was my blunt reply. “We were so looking forward to this!” said Mom. “It’s the first night we’ve had to ourselves since the baby.” I then shared my general view and added that, “A ‘tribute band’ doesn’t preclude virtuosity.” The father also declared his longing, “I wanted to hear, ‘Snow In April…’ played tenderly…”
In summation, I can understand this production as one which was presented to the LPO as an attempt to attract a larger appreciative audience for the orchestra. I suppose I can accept a miscalculation and even an underestimation. I would like to offer a proposal for a future special presentation of the music of Prince, for the LPO, to take place next season, April 21, 2019.
May I meet with you and discuss this potential?
Maison Musique, New Orleans