Sunday, November 3, 2013

California New Music Center

The article “Zarin Mehta Is to Oversee a California Concert Hall” attracts me attention in October 30th The New York Times. It talks about the reformation of the Green Music Center at Sonma State University. Sanford I. Weill, the former Citigruop chief executive and longtime chairman of Carnegie Hall, and his wife, Joan, donated 12 million to the construction of this Green Music Center auditorium, became the chairman of the center. Mr. Weill hires Zarin Mehta, the former president of the New York Philharmonic, to run the Green Music Center. Sonoma State University announced on last Thursday that Mr. Metha took on the title of executive director, the title he shared with Larry Furukawa-Schelereth, the university’s chief financial officer. The annual salary of Zarin Metha is $30,0000 which will be paid 80% by Mr. Weills and 20% by Sonoma State University. Since Zarin Metha were not going to move to California, so he would travel often to California during next few years.
A good executive director is part of the success of the Green Music Center, it also needs to find a way to survive in the current operating budget of about 9 million. It is unsure if this amount of money can continue to cover the cost of top-tier talent (the New York Philharmonic’s budget is $72 million by comparison). They were going to manage the budget by selling more tickets and enlarging the number of border members. They sold about 80% of tickets of the 1,400 –seat of the 32 concerts in its first season in its Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall. Besides to Weill hall, they were going to open a 250-sear Schroeder Hall next year. In addition to the ticket sale, Mr. Weill wanted to expand the board to 50 from 27 with people from the North Bay area, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and most of board members are expected to contribute $50,000 or more each year.
Although there are many questions about if Green Music Center will work, personally, my heart is with Sanford I. Weill and Zarin Mehta. I believe they can run the center well. They have passion and ambition for this music center. As the great director, Zarin Mehta, will direct Green Music Center with much passion and experience. Hope it will paramount with “Carnegie Hall” and became the western coast “Carnegie Hall”.

Zhuying Li

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