The risk of hearing loss among symphony musicians is a serious matter that requires a collaborative search for solutions. It is an unfortunate fact that the creation of the large-scale sound that defines a symphony orchestra exposes each and every member of the orchestra to the aural impact of that sound.

Ironically, on the day that the Portland Tribune ran its story about hearing loss among Oregon Symphony musicians (Music in the key of 'Eh?,' Sept. 3), the British orchestra world was gathered in London for a daylong seminar on this very topic. This really does reveal that this problem is one that everyone in the music world is concerned about.

We at the Oregon Symphony must work together, in partnership with the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, to find more effective means of minimizing the risk of hearing damage to our musicians. There are many methods we already use, such as placing Plexiglas shields around the brass and percussion sections of the orchestra to reduce the direct impact of the noise on surrounding musicians. We also have a ready supply of special earplugs backstage that many musicians use regularly. And we have initiated and will continue to develop a relationship with experts at the Oregon Health & Science University to advise management and musicians on other methods of reducing risks.

While the onstage acoustical environment we work in at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is not ideal, it is far from the worst in our industry, and we continue to have ongoing discussions about how we might improve the acoustics for our musicians. The cost of making significant improvements is huge and will require a major fund-raising effort. We will continue to pursue options together and to seek funding for these improvements. This is a priority for us all.

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is a beautiful performance facility with a grand history in this community, and we are pleased that it has been home to the Oregon Symphony for close to 20 years. We are committed to doing all we can to protect the well-being of our musicians so that they can continue to produce their great music for our audiences.

Tony Woodcock


Oregon Symphony

Robyn Williams


Portland Center for the

Performing Arts

Columnist should

look closer at system

Brickbats to Promise King's lazy and disingenuous column on Multnomah County's mental health system (A system slowly cleans itself up, Insight, Sept. 3).

King might have acknowledged that he followed Dr. Peter Davidson around his workplace for some period of time, and at whose bequest, one wonders. The charges of racism were not leveled at the department as a whole, but at several top administrators; King might have liked to clarify. And since when did being married to someone of a different race anoint one as free from racism? Really!

Furthermore, which peers, i.e., psychiatrists, think Mr. Davidson is such a great guy?

Many dedicated county employees have labored in a mental health system that has historically and chronically been underfunded by the state. That is a fact. What remains to be seen, and has not yet been seen, is if the Multnomah County Commission will ask for hard fiscal facts concerning proposals put forward by Davidson and John Ball (the county's acting human services director).

Michael Morrissey

Northeast Portland

Callison is the best

council candidate

Liz Callison gets my vote for City Council, primarily, but not exclusively, for her support of animal concerns.

Her opposition to 'stack and pack' density and congestion in our neighborhoods is another plus, along with her leadership in urban soil and water conservation.

By the way, voters this year should be pleased there are only 15 candidates for this one position. I campaigned among 19 in 1984 for Charles Jordan's seat!

Roger Troen

North Portland

We need truth about

Oregon City girls

I don't know how to act when I see a reporter acting like a reporter and a newspaper acting like a newspaper around here (or almost anywhere else, for that matter).

Three gold stars for reporter Jim Redden and the Portland Tribune for being willing to tell us a little about what we might not want to hear, but need to know, in the Oregon City case.

Martin Soehrman


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