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Carnegie Room Concerts Will Close In June

Nyack Library Board of Trustees Will Cease Funding of Carnegie Concert Series
Sat Night Performance by Pianist Alexandre Moutouzkine will conclude classical season

by Jane Marino, Director of the Nyack Library

At its May Board Meeting, the Nyack Library Board of Trustees voted to cease direct funding of the Carnegie Concerts. The board wants to provide a venue for classical concerts, but because of losses of $20,000 in the last two years alone, it can no longer afford to underwrite them. The library is seeking the same arrangement for classical music concerts that it has established in its partnerships with the Rockland County Jazz and Blues Society and ArtsRock. In those relationships, the library provides a venue for jazz, blues, and popular music presentations, and our partners assume responsibility for concert promotion.

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In bringing the current relationship with the Carnegie Classical Concerts to a conclusion on June 30 (the end of the library’s current fiscal year), the Board of Trustees is inviting classical music enthusiasts to fill the same role performed by the Jazz and Blues Society and ArtsRock. J. Michael Growney, President of the Library’s Board of Trustees, stated, “The responsibility for organizing and underwriting the classical concerts more appropriately resides with a third party deeply committed to these programs. We hope to see an organization emerge that wants to assume the leadership for carrying the classical music program forward.”

In the last two years, the Carnegie Concerts presented a total of 61 concerts attended by an average of 52 ticket-holders, many of whom are not Nyack Library patrons and many are also repeat attendees. The premise for the concerts in this format, a premise that has been clearly and consistently repeated by the Library Director and the Board of Trustees, is that the concerts would be financially self-sustaining. The library has used tax-payer funds to book the performers, pay for professional services such as technicians and piano tuners, and pay the salary of any personnel directly involved in these concerts. In return, the concerts were expected to bring in enough revenue, through ticket sales, memberships and refreshment sales to cover those costs.

Unfortunately, the Concerts have shown a consistent deficit. In the last two years, losses have totaled $20 thousand. These are losses that the library cannot sustain. The Director and Board of Trustees of the Nyack Library have the fiduciary responsibility to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent wisely.

In response to the Board of Trustees’ decision, a few voices have manufactured a controversy, claiming that the library does not care about classical music or culture. Our efforts in the past few years to make the classical concerts successful demonstrate that the opposite is true. It would be more constructive if those who are committed to classical music in Rockland County and its surrounding communities invested their energy in creating an entity outside the Nyack Library to organize and underwrite these programs. The library would be delighted to partner with that entity to continue the classical Carnegie Concerts.

The Nyack Library is charged with providing the 14,200 residents of the four River Villages it serves with diverse educational and cultural programming. The library will continue to provide musical programs and concerts, within a fiscally responsible framework that respects the taxpayer funds that underwrite its mission. Outside groups will be welcome to use the library as a venue, by paying a reasonable and realistic rental for its space.

Jane Marino is the Library Director at The Nyack Library

 


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.


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