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July 17, 2000

New oral history sheds light on the evolution of Santa Cruz cultural life

By Barbara McKenna

A new oral history on a prominent member of the Santa Cruz music world has just been released by the Regional History Project of the University Library.

Ernest T. "Bud" Kretschmer
Photo: Shmuel Thaler
The volume, titled, Ernest T. Kretschmer: Reflections on Santa Cruz Musical Life, 1993-1999, was composed by Regional History Project Assistant Editor, Irene Reti, who conducted the interviews with Kretschmer and edited the volume.

This is the project's second publication on Kretschmer, a notable presence in Santa Cruz musical life for more than 30 years. In this volume, Kretschmer reflects on the significant local cultural developments of the last decade and his role in those events. He describes the coming-of-age of the Santa Cruz County Symphony under Maestro Larry Granger, the need of the symphony and other musical organizations for a performing arts concert hall in north county, and recent efforts to establish such a facility.

Kretschmer also discusses the Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts, the premiere cultural venue in south Santa Cruz County, which Kretschmer was instrumental in founding.

Kretschmer discusses the world-renowned Cabrillo Music Festival, which he has participated in since its inception. He recalls the festival's acclaimed 1999 production of Leonard Bernstein's "Mass," and the innovative tenure of the festival's Music Director/Conductor, Marin Alsop. He also gives a lively history of Santa Cruz's New Music Works, directed by Phil Collins, which has highlighted the work of local composers, including Lou Harrison.

Kretschmer's philanthropy over the years has included the donation of concert grand pianos to local venues, the establishment of music scholarships for UCSC students, the support of UCSC's resident student ensemble program, and, most recently, the establishment of a permanent endowment to enrich musical archives in the University Library's Special Collections.

Krestchmer's memoir demonstrates the importance of dedicated volunteers in local cultural organizations and how their contributions have created in our small community unusually diverse and thriving performing arts and musical organizations.

Bound, indexed copies of this volume can be ordered from the Regional History Project at (831) 459-2847, or via e-mail to ihreti@cats.ucsc.edu. The volume is also available for viewing at Special Collections, McHenry Library, and at Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

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