SLO Symphony calls off Pops by the Sea

June 22, 2015

Michael Nowak 2The annual Pops by the Sea concert will not take place this year as the San Luis Obispo Symphony sorts out its personnel problems stemming from the recent firing of conductor Michael Nowak. [Tribune]

Pops by The Sea is traditionally held on Labor Day weekend. The concert was scheduled to take place Sept. 6 at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, and it would have been the kickoff for the symphony’s 2015-2016 season.

“The orchestra, board and staff will use the time normally spent preparing for Pops by the Sea to collaborate closely on the presentation of our 2015-2016 concert season,” Edmund Feingold, executive director of the symphony, said in a news release.

Last month, the symphony board fired Nowak, who had spent 31 years as the symphony’s conductor. The board did not publicly state a reason for the firing, and it announced the decision by way of a press release prior to notifying the musicians.

In response to the announcement of Nowak’s firing, the entire violist section threatened to leave the orchestra, and musicians later sent out a press release stating the symphony as a whole could no longer work with the board. Symphony donors and supporters also questioned Nowak’s termination, and some have called for forming a new symphony.

On June 28, Nowak will conduct the newly formed New Hope Symphony in a concert involving about 60 of the SLO Symphony’s 76 musicians. The event is called Concert for Harmony, and it will take place at the Clark Center in Arroyo Grande.

The SLO Symphony plans to hold a New Year’s Eve Pops concert in place of Pops by the Sea. It is scheduled to take place Dec. 31 at the San Luis Obispo Performing Arts Center.

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I, for one, am so deeply upset by this travesty that I plan to never again attend an SLO Symphony concert, no matter what my wife tries to make me do. She just has to understand and respect my deep felt commitment to justice and truth.

I want to see Novak allow the board to tell the public the real reason Novak was released. The board has said more than a few times they cannot say why he was let go. A lot of people comment the board let him go because of strategic differences about how a donation was used. But they have been able to comment on that. So there is a secret reason. Mr Novak can you allow the board to tell the public why you were released? If he allows us to know then the mystery wont be in the way and we can go forward or backward.

I want to thank Mr. Michael Nowak for putting the kids in the Cambria camp first as he has always done.

All will be ok if they call it “Pot By The Sea”

Be sure you allow EXTRA time for that June 28 performance, and wear comfortable shoes.

The standing ovation for the conductor and musicians who bravely followed him and jumped ship on Feingold will be extremely long and heartfelt.

Gads it feels good when somebody gets it right. Can’t wait for the final collapse of Feingold and his prima donna board. Hope he can’t even mobilize a chamber orchestra next.