It’s nice to read David Bratman’s cover story on San Jose, over at SFCV. He’s right, we are often neglected. I’ve noticed that SFCV doesn’t pay a whole lot of attention to us little folks, and I can’t remember the last time the San Francisco Chronicle wrote anything about us. I’ve also found that sometimes we are not disregarded, but despised. (I’ve heard San Franciscans refer to San Jose as “the armpit of the Bay Area”.)

And of course there are reasons for this.

San Jose is an interesting place; there doesn’t seem to be much city pride here. This city is huge and spread out, and I don’t think we all connect as “San Joseans”. Dan and I live in Willow Glen, a small area of San Jose that used to be its own city. I think we have a bit more identity with this area than the all of San Jose. I have wondered if the demise of the San Jose Symphony was allowed to happen, in part, because there is no San Jose pride. The mismanagement was the bigger culprit, of course, but what if the mayor had jumped in when the symphony was flailing and made more of it? What if more folks in this city actually knew there was a symphony? (Really. I spoke with a number of people who said, “Oh, we have a symphony in San Jose?”)

But I ramble … not surprising, eh?

I’ve had a bit of a bug since Sunday. It’s not fun. I tried to play today and started to black out; I’m quite light headed. I ache, but not enough to whine about. (Ah well!) I’m slightly feverish, but it’s only slightly. So I guess I can’t complain. But I’m still bugged. I have to be better by tomorrow, as I go back to playing for Jameson’s show. (Five more performances to go.)

Oh … and while it was Wagner’s birthday yesterday, it was also my friend Pam Hakl’s birthday! Celebrate life, Pam! 🙂


  1. David Bratman

    Thanks for kind words.  SFCV’s problems with coverage can be
    summed up in two words: lacks staff.  We reviewed, I think, 3 of
    SSV’s 7 subscription concerts this year.  Not good.  (I can’t
    do them all: it’s not our policy to have ensembles reviewed only by a
    single voice.)  Next year I really think we’ll do better.

    I proposed this article specifically to bring attention to good things
    here that are overlooked.  (Scheinen calls Le Petit Trianon a
    “gem,” and he’s right.)  Some of it misses me too.  I never
    knew there was a San Jose Symphony until the bicentennial season when I
    came down from Berkeley to hear Hovhaness (my man!) conduct his own
    work.  I was sufficiently delighted to stay in touch, and got a
    subscription after I moved back here in the mid-80s.  Went to
    Flint rather than the CPA, though.  Much better hall.  I was
    disappointed when SSV gave up Flint, but after two years a superior
    substitute was found.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Funny that the year that caught your attention is the same year (and programming) that caused us to lose a ton of audience members! We received so many hostile letters, saying that the contemporary music sent listeners away. Subscriptions were down the next year.

    Flint certainly was a better hall than the CPA. (Heck, what isn’t!?) When they fixed it up the new floor on stage made it not quite so good, at least from what many of us thought on stage. And someone new took over the place (it’s not run by De Anza) and it was more and more difficult to work there. Too bad; it was a nice place.