Before each performance Bill Bennett sounded the A to which the San Francisco Symphony tuned. He was an incomparable oboist, with a range of dynamics and shading beyond any I, at least, have ever heard; but he was also an incomparable man. He was a treasured guest DJ on classics without walls several times; he was warm, witty, passionate about music and about radio, exceptionally articulate, and possessed of a graceful, easy delivery I envied – not to mention his charismatic good looks. It was a privilege to hear him making music for the last three decades, and even more of one to get to know him even a little; but to know who Bill was, one had only to watch him interacting with his colleagues on the Davies stage, and see the depth of love and esteem they so clearly held for him. As my wife put it, it’s hard to imagine another loss that could so rip the heart out of our orchestra. The San Francisco Symphony truly has been tuning itself to Bill Bennett these many years, and it is heartbreaking to lose him so young.
As you probably know by now, at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18, as the result of a complex transaction with even more complex backstories, the University of San Francisco abruptly and permanently shut down KUSF-FM, which had been in continuous operation as a community service since 1977.
It is too soon to speak definitively about future broadcasts, whether on the University’s planned web stream or elsewhere; but all other classics without walls projects will of course continue, including (”as soon as it’s ready”) the new version of the Gurre-Lieder Project (bringing to bear upon the translation the original Danish of J. P. Jacobsen for the first time in English), liturgical experiments at Loper Chapel in Berkeley, and, as always, anything our disjointed minds can dream up in the service of pointing toward the substantial reality of music-making.
This site, which has lain unupdated since three weeks before forever (for a long time pending the new official KUSF site that never quite came about), will carry whatever news is essential; if you wish to receive mail updates, just drop me a line at m t h e o a t a m u r a l d o t c o m .
In the meantime, I heartily recommend stopping by the KUSF Archives site for several reasons:
With a huge backlog of playlists accumulated while the posting mechanism was broken (several months now), it may be a while before we’re current. We may go ahead and install a completely new site in the hope of preventing a recurrence (or, as 99% of the populace now apparently believe is the word, “reoccurrence”). Don’t let it throw you! For now, though, we’re in catch-up mode.