Inspired by Michael Tilson Thomas;  memories of jeff beck

Inspired by Michael Tilson Thomas; memories of jeff beck

art and science

I enjoyed reading Mark Swed’s column on Michael Tilson Thomas [“I Intend to Make the Most of it,” Jan. 13]. I had the pleasure of being in grades 7-12 with MTT (at the time known as Michael).

We attended Walter Reed High School and there was a year of required science in seventh grade and an elective science course in eighth grade, which we both took. Some people may not know that MTT excelled in the sciences.

We each did a project for that class. The MTTs were a series of overlapping transparencies showing the electron shells of one of the higher elements, perhaps uranium. It should come as no surprise that the MTT project was very artistic.

One day, perhaps in October 1957, MTT was talking to several of us a few minutes before science class and he said, “I am getting close to a decision in my life. I am deciding if I will dedicate myself to science or music”.

MTT would also have excelled if it had chosen science.

John Hoehn
Long Beach

Mark Swed’s interview with Michael Tilson Thomas brought back decades of fond memories from almost 50 years ago.

In the early ’70s, his mother, Roberta Thomas, was my American history teacher at William Mulholland High School. I’ll never forget the day he showed his son’s latest album with his Buffalo Philharmonic to the music of George Gershwin and told the class, “If any of you happen to be in the classical section of your local record store, don’t you would, this is my son’s last album.”

That year my mother and I went to the Ojai Music Festival when Michael was its music director to hear him conduct pieces by Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio.

In the 1980s, Mom and I subscribed to Los Angeles Philharmonic concerts when Carlo Maria Giulini was its music director along with Michael and Simon Rattle as principal guest conductors.

In the late ’90s, I met Michael here in Los Angeles and told him how much I enjoyed having his mother as a teacher and then meeting his parents in their box at the Hollywood Bowl.

This century, I have enjoyed hearing Michael conduct his San Francisco Symphony, as well as our LA Phil. Michael’s resilience and determination since his cancer diagnosis is truly inspiring.

Marco Antonio Melocchi
city ​​study

The greatness of Jeff Beck

Congratulations to Stephen Thomas Erlewine for your appreciation of Jeff Beck’s immense and unique talent. [“Jeff Beck’s Playing Could Still Surprise Us,” Jan. 13].

I had the pleasure of working with Jeff for many years when he was Director of Marketing for Fender.

I remember once introducing him to a model to which we added new electronics and which we hoped to promote since so many guitarists admired it.

I waited about two weeks for him to do a thorough “test drive” and got a call from his guitar tech who told me that Jeff “loved it” and was now using it every night on tour.

I asked him for a quote we could use for marketing and he replied, “No offense to Fender since you make great guitars, but he could pick out the cheapest guitar off the rack at a pawn shop and make it sound like Jeff Beck. ”

desert hot springs

poor little rich prince

On “’Spare’ beats the press at its own game” [Jan. 11]: Mary McNamara has a much more optimistic impression of the “long-suffering” Prince Harry than this reader.

From what I have gathered from bits of the book as further interviews have been reported, perhaps not only his nether regions were affected by frostbite on his North Pole expedition, but possibly his brain as well?

A guess on my part, but how else can one explain this truly bizarre and vicious tome? Our author has expressed that he hopes that sharing his truths can lead to a rapprochement with his family as I understand it. If I were him, I wouldn’t be holding my breath waiting for an invitation to the coronation.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the book, choosing not to help the rich get richer, plus I’ve heard enough.

Jan Judah


You have to wonder about his motives. Unless it’s a need for money or a desire to become attached to other members of the royal family, I think they could have moved to Montecito, had their 2.3 children, gone to the beach regularly, and sailed their boat from Santa Barbara. Harbor (my own personal dream). Within a few months they would have been relegated to the paragraph in the obituary listing the surviving relatives of the deceased.

john snyder
newbury park


It’s interesting that Mary McNamara mentions “The Crown” and an allusion to Dame Judi Dench’s thought that the Netflix show should carry a disclaimer saying it’s a fictional account of true events.

You’re probably right that Dench would suggest a similar tag in Prince Harry’s “Spare” book. It is, in fact, a fictional story that even McNamara bought into.

Harry’s mother wasn’t killed by the paparazzi but because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The sole survivor of the car accident was wearing a seatbelt.

Diana made her bad choice and that has made all the difference in the world to one of her children. And the other son, a few years older when his mother died?

elizabeth ramirez

an incomplete museum

I found Carolina A. Miranda’s article on the Orange County Museum of Art and the architecture of the museum. [“Behind the Seams at OCMA’s Opening,” Jan. 11] quite interesting as my husband and I went there for the first time last week. Was he disappointed that the things Miranda mentioned didn’t seem complete? No, however I was disappointed in the collection of artwork on display.

As a realist landscape artist, I guess I still can’t appreciate the contemporary artwork I was exposed to in college as an art student. And I certainly don’t see the validity of the creations in this new installation. I never liked what was at the old Newport Beach location either. I don’t like performing arts or anything that others consider revolutionary.

However, there were a few pieces that were outstanding examples of skill and ingenuity. Still, it’s not all that impressive of a collection for a facility that was supposed to be much larger than the original space. Exhibit spaces were not full or well used.

But it was worth what the admission was, since it was free. I look forward to any new additions after it reopens after its closure for completion.

sherry marger
newport beach

funny not funny

On “Letters to the editor: ‘Lite’ in any kind of sense” [Jan. 15]: Every day, I (an old person) laugh at the “Reply All Lite” comic.

The reader who wrote about being flabbergasted because “it’s a real comic running in the newspaper” is entitled to that opinion. I think he’s funny and smart and reminds me of a lot of millennials I know and sometimes myself and my peers.

Maureen Disciple
Redondo Beach


The title of “Reply All Lite” fits its content: incomprehensible. The strip is not funny or relevant.

I’d like to see The Times feature more women artists, but not this one.

don zachary

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