We must honor the man behind Gustavo

black and white photo of a man in front of the Hollywood Bowl in 1984.
Los Angeles Executive Director Ernest Fleischmann at the Hollywood Bowl in 1984.
(Los Angeles Times)

A legend of L.A. Phil

Regarding Mark Swed’s column “What’s Behind Move to N.Y.?” [Feb. 8]: The story of Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles is incomplete without crediting its author.

Ernest Fleischmann was managing director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 30 years, during which, among many other achievements, he hired Carlo Maria Giulini as music director, oversaw the transformation of the Hollywood Bowl’s programming, acoustics and architecture, he commissioned Frank Gehry to build Disney Hall, and brought in Esa-Pekka Salonen to complete the shaping of the Philharmonic into a world-class orchestra.

Fleischmann first discovered the astonishing talents of Gustavo Dudamel when, in 2004, he and Salonen served on the jury of the inaugural Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition, won by Dudamel at age 23. Mark Swed has credited Fleischmann with having “transformed a provincial second-rank orchestra into one of the world’s best.”


Fleischmann had the vision. He made it all happen.

Oh, and he commissioned my company to develop the strategy that changed the name of the orchestra from the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the L.A. Phil, which opened the doors to an L.A. audience of music lovers who didn’t have to wear fancy clothes to enjoy great music.

Bob Klein

Los Angeles

Rihanna’s set list miss

Regarding Mary McNamara’s column “Rihanna Pulls Off an Amazing Surprise” [Feb. 14]: While I am a huge Rihanna fan, I was disappointed by both the selected songs she sang (or lip-synced) and the futuristic choreography performed at the Super Bowl.

I love so many of the songs she has recorded, but all she had to do was sing ”Love on the Brain,” and I would have been happy.

Regardless, congratulations to her on her amazing surprise!

Isadora Johnson

Seal Beach


Regarding [“He Took Us There With His Genius Songs,” Diane Warren’s appreciation of Burt Bacharach [Feb. 13]: The juxtaposition of your stories on the Burt Bacharach appreciation and Rihanna’s Super Bowl set offered up a jarring contrast.

The “Alfie” lyrics of “kind fools” and “the golden rule” with Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.”

What has happened to us?

Alan B. Posner

Santa Barbara

Justice for Diana Ross

I found Mikael Wood’s suggestion that after losing album of the year again that Beyoncé should boycott [“Beyoncé Should Boycott Grammys,” Feb. 7] rather ridiculous.


The Grammys have gone out of their way to award her — 32 Grammys — which is wonderful for her.

My takeaway from this year’s broadcast is another travesty. The legend Diana Ross — with 18 beautiful No. 1 songs to her credit (12 as lead singer of the Supremes and then six as a solo artist) — has never won a single Grammy. Yes, they gave her an honorary award for her solo work in the past and another honorary Grammy this year for the Supremes — though the show didn’t even announce that on TV.

Diana Ross paved the way for so many others with her incredible talent. Frankly, Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child exist because Diana Ross — first with the Supremes and then on her own — blazed the trail for everyone to follow.

If anyone deserves 32 Grammys, it’s Diana Ross. But even if the voters this year didn’t choose to award “Thank You” — one of the most beautiful and personal albums of her career — her status as icon is secure.

Lawrence Stern

Los Angeles


With all due respect to the very talented Beyoncé, the real injustice here is the fact that superstar Diana Ross has never won a Grammy.

Peter David Harris

Los Angeles


The Grammy Award for album of the year dates back to 1959 when Henry Mancini won it. It is an award as old as me. In all those years, it has been given to African American women twice, Whitney Houston and Lauryn Hill. It has been given to African American men eight times by my count, and three of those awards went to Stevie Wonder.


I think that Harry Styles may have been wrong that people like him do not win this prize.

Harrison Robinson

San Clemente


It’s past time for the Grammys to institute a new award category: K-Pop.

There is no shortage of talented K-Pop artists and groups, it is a globally popular genre, and with a dedicated category, the Grammys can finally figure out how to recognize these wonderful artists for the talents that they are.

Too late for BTS, who have gotten snubbed year after year, but not too late for K-Pop fans, who have been snubbed along with their favorite groups.

Jan McCarthy


Episode was great for ‘Us’

Regarding: “Key to All of ‘Last of Us’” [Jan. 31]: I am quite fond of the HBO series “The Last of Us,” starring the stunning Pedro Pascal. Then came the episode “Long Long Time,” which featured Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in a gentlemen’s pas de deux of complexity, tenderness and craft.

It was a beautiful pearl set so unexpectedly in a rough landscape of death and despair, with the beautiful motif of Linda Ronstadt’s “Love Will Abide” sustaining it.

Thanks to HBO, the cast, the writers and producers for having the guts to do this so creatively and tastefully.

Megan Willis

San Pedro

‘All you have to do is act naturally’

I was a looping/ADR editor in TV and motion pictures for years and worked with many actors. I always admired those who were, as Charles McNulty said in his column, “natural” [“A Natural at What He Does,” Feb. 5]. Those actors were few and far between.

I’m reminded of a conversation between Spencer Tracy and a young actor. The actor said, “Mr. Tracy, I’m an actor too. I love acting.”


Tracy replied, “That’s fine, son, just don’t let anybody catch you doing it.“

Richard Friedman

Santa Monica