UCLA Professors Are Trying to Stop Dennis Prager from Conducting Orchestra

Rio de Janeiro's Theatro Municipal symphony orchestra reheases on June 14, 2017

Two UCLA professors are trying to derail an upcoming performance of the Santa Monica Symphony because conservative commentator Dennis Prager is scheduled to conduct.

UCLA Professors Michael Chwe and Andrew Apter, both violinists with the Santa Monica Symphony, penned a letter urging others not to attend an upcoming performance because conservative commentator Dennis Prager is scheduled to conduct.

“Please urge your friends to not attend this concert, which helps normalize bigotry in our community,” the professors write. They call Prager “a right-wing radio host who promotes horribly bigoted positions” and add that he “is not a trained conductor and there is no musical rationale for his participation.”

“I conduct orchestras because I love making music,” Prager wrote in a recent op-ed for National Review, “but I also do so because I want to help raise funds for local orchestras (I have never been paid to conduct) and because I want to expose as many people to classical music as possible.”

Prager is a seasoned conductor who has studied classical music since high school. He has conducted notable orchestras such as the West L.A. Symphony Orchestras, the Pasadena Lyric Opera, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl.

Speaking to Campus Reform, Apter claimed that performing in an orchestra conducted by Prager would equate to a direct endorsement of bigotry.

“I am not saying that Spencer and Prager hold the same white supremacist views, but they espouse the same logic and language of political purification, which can have deadly consequences,” he said. “From the standpoint of a violinist in the Santa Monica Symphony, to subject ourselves to the command of [Prager’s] baton is an implicit, if not explicit, endorsement of his bigoted ideas as a public figure.”

The concert, which is scheduled for August 16, is still scheduled to proceed with Prager at the baton.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com

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