Leader of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra might be having serious regrets about asking a conservative to be a guest conductor.
Music director Guido Lamell asked classical music lover Dennis Prager to lead the orchestra in a performance of Haydn’s Symphony No. 51 for a fundraising event.
The event is set to take place at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and was supposed to showcase a mix of professional and semi-professional volunteer musicians and music lovers.
Lamell hired Prager for his known love of music, not his politics, but that decision was a tumultuous one, the New York Times reported.
“He has views that I find objectionable,” Mr. Lamell told the Times. “But this concert is not about that.”
Lamell reportedly hired Prager for the gig thinking his sizable following could bring in a new crowd for a season lagging in ticket sales.
But in a National Review piece written by Prager, the conservative host claimed radical leftists were leading a movement against him:
About a month ago, however, a few members of the orchestra, supported by some Santa Monica city officials, decided to lead a campaign to have me disinvited. As I said, this is a new low for the illiberal Left: It is not enough to prevent conservatives from speaking; it is now necessary to prevent conservatives from appearing even when not speaking.
Conservatives should not be even be allowed to make music.
To its great credit, the board of directors of the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra, composed of individuals of all political outlooks, has completely stood by their conductor and his invitation to me.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.
Prager went on to write that three orchestra members – two who are professors, surprise! — are continuing the fight to boot Prager and have been spreading propaganda to do it.
In an open letter to the symphony’s members, the three wrote: “A concert with Dennis Prager would normalize hatred and bigotry. . . . ”
Examples of my hatred and bigotry include my belief that in giving a child over for adoption, adoption agencies should prefer a married man and woman before singles and before same-sex couples. Another example – my favorite – is my having said that, if there is no God, ethics are subjective, will offend atheist members of the orchestra.
Prager rightfully notes the left’s war on differing opinions and viewpoints, and warns that this kind of “opposition” to free speech is moving off college campuses and into the mainstream.
To add insult to injury, not only is Prager being hit by the intolerant symphony members, but he’s unsurprisingly being misrepresented by the New York Times for its coverage of the story.
“Mr. Prager has himself turned the controversy into a rallying cry for the right, writing in a piece for National Review last week that people should attend the concert since it would give attendees ‘a chance to defeat the illiberal left,’” the Times reported.
Only, Prager was responding to the reaction by the three opposing members in his N.R. piece – not the other way around as the NY Times article suggests.
Prager U, a conservative initiative started by Dennis Prager, fought back on Twitter:
What a garbage headline NYT. The people roiling are the left-wing nutjobs trying to boycott a concert bc the conductor is conservative. pic.twitter.com/9oQDgHXgfJ
— PragerU (@prageru) August 7, 2017
But the obvious bias didn’t begin and end with the snappy headline:
— PragerU (@prageru) August 7, 2017
In the meantime, Prager has extended an invitation to the two liberal UCLA professors to join him on his radio show and defend their actions.
And ticket sales have reportedly been going strong despite the professors’ best efforts to sideline Prager.
The New York Time even admitted that the controversy over Prager’s appearance may have helped.
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