Gilbert Kaplan is a Wall Street billionaire who has devoted much of his idle rich time over the past 30 years to studying and conducting Mahler’s great Second Symphony. It has become his passion, one might even say his “Rosebud” if one were unkind (as we most certainly are not). He has led some of the world’s best symphony orchestras through its rigorous paces more than 100 times at last count and while the Resurrection itself seems to have suffered no permanent damage, the reaction to Mr. Kaplan’s conducting has been decidedly mixed. Not bad enough to be really awful in an interesting way (like, say, William Friedkin’s remake of Wages of Fear) or good enough to rise above mediocre. Kaplan’s money usually assures a polite acceptance.
But, no mas — not in this age of the tell-all blogger. David Finlayson of the New York Philharmonic had the courage to say what others have merely thought. And, today’s Center of the Universe Times picks up the thread in this piece by Daniel J. Wakin.
As a topic of further discussion, can anyone think of other “amateurs” who have made a difference — good or bad — to serious music.