The music director became a US citizen. Then they did this to him …

The music director became a US citizen. Then they did this to him …


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2015

martin majkut

18 Apr 2015

Rogue Valley Symphony surprised recently naturalized American citizen, Music Director Martin Majkut, with a surreptitiously planned & rehearsed audience-flag-waving rendition of “God Bless America” at their concert in Ashland, OR on April 17, 2015. Kudos to organizer Tom O’Rourke & tip of the cap to arranger Bruce Dresser.

h/t: Galen Johnson


  • Anon says:

    Nationalism in the 19th century was reasonable. In 20th century understandable. Nationalism in the 21st century it is tragic.

    • Doug says:

      Says a sheep happy to comply with orders from the Global Elite. So, what has the UN and EU ordered you to think today?

    • Tom O'Rourke says:

      While Nationalism may be both dated and myopic, a good dictionary delineates the dramatic difference between Nationalism and patriotism. Our honoring of Dr. Martin Majkut ( with two PhDs) was clearly patriotic, as it should be for an additional citizenship. It was NOT nationalistic! Be kind enough to do your homework before making cynical judgements.

  • RW2013 says:

    Hate the song but I prefer this rendition (at 5:23)

  • Peter says:

    But it’s wonderful Rogue Valley has a Symphony.

  • Peter says:

    I wonder if this was a wise decision to take on the US citizenship as an internationally traveling conductor, since the US is the only among the developed countries that does double taxation to its citizens for earnings abroad, even if already taxed by the country of employment.

  • William Safford says:

    What a lovely gesture! (The nattering nabobs of negativism notwithstanding….)

    • CDH says:

      I’m with you. I’m not a fan of the eternal American flag-waving thing, and to some extent I think it was surplus to requirements here, but it may have been seen as a way to get everyone involved. As gesture to their young conductor on an occasion that, in my experience of Eastern Europeans, was very meaningful to him, it was touching and charming. Whatever else, Americans can claim some great anthemic music when it is wheeled out at appropriate times.

      • Alexander says:

        Please note that Slovakia is not in eastern Europe.

        • Anon says:

          Of course it is. Look up the definition of Eastern Europe.

          • Alexander says:

            Slovakia more properly belongs to central Europe. I have degrees in history from the universities of Oxford and London and don’t need to look up a definition of eastern Europe.

          • Peter says:

            And in Oxford they didn’t teach you, that stating a personal opinion, dissident to the agreed scientific standards, but worded like a matter of fact, is a fallacy?

    • Galen Johnson says:


  • Leslie says:

    Why any negativism? Why! This was a lovely gesture to a person who wanted to embrace the USA as his own country.

    Shame on the naysayers.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Martin is a warm, generous and fine human being and first rate musician. That he is respected and loved by his orchestra to move them to do this for him is an honorable and appropriate gesture. We have worked together several times, and in getting to know Martin, it is easy to understand why they did this for him upon becoming a US citizen. How nice is that! Bravo, Rogue Valley Symphony musicians and staff!

  • Alpinedude says:

    I love the (no doubt Slovakian) guy “with degrees from Oxford” who is wearing his Eastern European insecurity on a sleeve.

    First, haven’t they taught him at Oxford that anyone who needs to justify a point of view by making reference to his or her academic degrees, or worse, to the alleged prestige of these degrees, is probably a fraud who wasn’t deserving of said degrees in the first place?

    Second and more importantly, the “xxx country is not Eastern European, it is Central European” is a very old chestnut and the preserve of people who lack the confidence of being who they are (or where they’re from) and who need to associate themselves with a perceived “better” brigade, to validate their inadequacy.

    Hence, Slovakia is Central Europe for Slovakians, but Slovakians probably look down at arch-enemy Hungary, who is more to the East, and think *them* to be Eastern Europeans. Of course, Hungarians won’t have any of that since they know that the “real” Eastern Europeans are Romanians and Bulgarians, so Hungarians must be Central Europeans. Not to be outdone, Slovakians will come back and say that, no, Hungarians are then “Central-Eastern” Europeans. But here come Austria, who’s never been a Communist country, saying to Slovakia, “you wish – if you, Slovakia, are Central European, then what does that make us – Western European? ’cause, hon, Slovakia, you and we are definitely not the same”. (Switzerland and France, upon hearing of Austria suggest it may be Western European, just died laughing.) So, unless Austria is Central-Western European, because it can’t be Western, nor can it be the same as the peasants living in concrete 1970s apartment blocks over in Slovakia, then it’s surely Central European, meaning Slovakia is at best Central-Eastern, if Slovakia can deign to share a rubric with Hungary, who can’t possibly be Eastern, lest it be in the same category as Romania.

    Capisce? Or they didn’t teach you all of this at Oxford? Or perhaps in your childhood, in the Bratislava branch of the Czechoslovakian Young Pioneers Organisation?

  • Tom O'Rourke says:

    For the benefit of the ‘One World’ folks who relish cynicism as well as anonymous comment: this was simply a way for us to honor Martin Majkut’s decision to ‘sign up’ as a dual citizen of both his home country of Slovakia and his more than ten-year-long residency here. We love what he has done, musically and socially, for our communities here in the Rogue Valley (in south-central Oregon). Being the organizer of this event, we never thought of this effort as ‘marketing’—we wanted to honor and to demonstrate our love for a caring, talented musician. Five hundred flag-waving members of the audience and of the orchestra obviously felt that way!