There is very little in President Joseph Polisi’s response to Bernard Warach’s letter (The Juilliard Journal, February issue) objecting to Juilliard’s performance of John Adams’s opera The Death of Klinghoffer that any rational person could disagree with. However, the president’s statement, “If we had decided against producing Adams’s opera in an effort to not offend audience members, we would have ignored our mission as an institution …,” doesn’t fully address an essential point made by Mr. Warach: Juilliard doesn’t deign to present artistic works that refute the liberal anti-Israel bias which is (to quote the president’s words once again ) “… today broadcast nightly on our various news outlets.” These various news outlets, in their totally biased mindset, rarely present the direct opposite of the prevailing point of view—i.e., the point of view of the courageous young settlers of Judea and Samaria who with full historical justification are returning to the only homeland that the Jewish people have ever had.
As a composer who has written an opera concerning the return of the Jewish people to their historical homeland (an opera that is in the Juilliard library’s collection) I have experienced first-hand the futility of trying to get it performed, because of the bias that Mr. Warach pointed out in his letter. In producing John Adams’s opera, Juilliard reflects this bias because it has made no discernible effort to balance Mr. Adams’s political statement with one reflecting an alternate point of view.
Aaron Blumenfeld (’54, composition)
Tamar Halperin has written an interesting article about Bach’s temperament (“The Ongoing Quest for Bach’s Temperament,” March 2009). But she has omitted, or was not aware of, the most important fact concerning it.
Equal temperament was the invention of Chu Tsai-Yu, who published it in 1584 in a book titled A New Account of the Science of Pitch-Pipes. The first published reference to the mathematical basis for equal temperament in Europe was by Père Marin Mersenne in one of his many books of musical theory titled Harmonie Universalle issued in 1636. Bach heard about it and the result was the 48.
Ely Haimowitz (M.S. ’52, piano)