To the Editor:
Re “In Seattle, a Fugue for Orchestra and Rancor” by Daniel J. Wakin and James R. Oestreich [Dec. 16]:
The implication that I was hired by Gerard Schwarz because of friendship rather than the urgent need to acquire the best possible principal horn player is difficult to get past without laughing. Nobody hires a friend to walk that tightrope. Anybody who knows orchestras knows that.
You can’t blame the Seattle Symphony for wanting to keep me over the objections of a dozen or so disgruntled musicians afraid of the competition, nor can you blame the management for being willing to pay my price to stay, which has been considerably higher than any other musician on the payroll.
Schwarz wanted results, and he wanted them fast. So did the board of directors and the management. I came to do a job, to improve a brass section, and I believe I accomplished that task to the satisfaction of Seattle’s audiences. That is enough for me.
As for my credentials, rather than blow my own horn, I will let Daniel J. Wakin’s article of only five months ago speak for me: Cerminaro “seems to have a troupe of acrobats in his lips. He plays music requiring unbelievable agility” and “spins out impressively long lines in Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro demonstrating prodigious control.”
There are other responses from Symphony musicians and patrons that you can check out here. I find it interesting how Cerminaro managed to slip in the fact that his salary is "considerably higher" than any other musician on the payroll. Bragging about this fact is a sure way to win the respect of your colleagues, right?