Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Ah, I see that Houston Early Music (fka Houston Harpsichord Society) has not changed significantly since my days as a participant. This time it's a concert by the Flanders Recorder Quartet, which I would be interested in hearing except for HEM's choice of venue:


Trinity Episcopal Church
Houston, TX


Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No
That speaks volumes. Historically (so to speak), this org has been interested mostly in presenting good concerts for the enjoyment of wealthy people while treating both musicians and non-wealthy audience members the way I'm sure the people in charge of the org believe they deserve. Picking a wheelchair-inaccessible, smoking-allowed venue (really? a church allows smoking? one hopes this is a misprint) is just par for the course for this org.

What? you say I am biased? Damned right I am biased! Twenty to thirty years ago, I was among the musicians and audience members maltreated. I am not quick to forgive in any case, and I am especially not quick to forgive misbehavior by wealthy people toward the rest of us. I just hope the FRQ has an ironclad contract with them. Things got so bad a few decades back that one famous harpsichordist demanded prepayment to appear on their series. I am willing to bet that at least some of the org's board are the same people now as then. Musicians beware!


  1. We spit on them. You are the artist!

  2. That's kind of you, mandt, but do remember this is a personal gripe, and not everyone in Houston feels the same way about HEM. They serve a useful purpose. But a few decades ago they did some things that were just plain offensive.

    E.g., one of the board was heard to say, behind the backs of the now-long-defunct Houston Baroque Ensemble, why should he pay for our season subscription when he could hear the same people play several times a year for free at HEM meetings. Believe me, I took the hint, and stopped even attending meetings.

    Another time, I was their HEM (then HHS) presentation recitalist. The recital was jointly sponsored by University of St. Thomas, where I taught, as a faculty recital. The HHS was so cranky and ungenerous with UST (who among other things donated use of their hall, and paid my accompanists' fees) that I vowed never to place myself in the middle of that kind of fracas again.

    It's not about our being artists; it's about paying people for what they do for a living. I wonder if that guy's plumber works for free.



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