The readers’ forum

Ochoa was dedicated to South Florida’s classical music


David Fleshler’s comments in his Oct. 20 article, Growing its talent despite challenges, on the founder of the Miami Symphony Orchestra, my late father, Maestro Manuel Ochoa, were downright disrespectful. Anyone who knew my father would find Fleshler’s derisive characterizations far from the man who was a passionate and professional musician who dedicated his life to bringing classical music to South Florida.

Despite many mean-spirited reviews, the Miami Symphony Orchestra persevered with a supportive audience and support from local governments, including Miami-Dade County, local business leaders and, of course, the public. The article makes no mention of my father’s extensive studies in Europe and mistakenly says that he left pre-Castro Cuba when, in fact, he left in 1966.

There’s also no mention of the positive reviews from Daniel Fernandez of El Nuevo Herald nor does it highlight any of the positive comments from Bernard Holland’s review regarding the Carnegie Hall concert, which was no embarrassment as purported in the article. The writer never bothered to mention that Maestro Ochoa was invited to conduct in Vienna and Rome, and in Brazil and Peru during his tenure as conductor. The biggest oversight, however, was that Fleshler did not interview my mother, Sofia Ochoa, who was fully involved in the day-to-day administration of the orchestra.

I am sure my father would have found some fault with some of his performances because he was his own worst critic. But he did the best he could with limited rehearsals and resources. This, by no means, makes him a hack, as Fleshler insinuates in the article.

Musical quality is debatable and, perhaps, better left to the experts, but there was no mention of the many sacrifices my father made for his art and his dedication to the community.

Although I’m glad the Miami Symphony still endures, I’m saddened that this occasion was used to make unfair and erroneous characterizations of my father. Rather than just dismiss this letter as a son’s attempt to defend his father, I invite readers to view a WLRN interview posted on the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection’s blog site,, so they can judge the article for themselves.

Manuel T. Ochoa, Jr.,

Chevy Chase, Md.

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    All eyes turn to Florida’s gubernatorial debate

    When it comes to election time, one state is almost certain to garner national attention.

My drawing of Mr. Wyroba in 1978.

    Tribute to a teacher

    Re the Aug. 28 obituary Thomas Wyroba, 64, beloved teacher at Miami’s New World of the Arts.

  • Dismal voting day

    A lone voter at 9:30 a.m. faced 16 poll workers at the Coral Gables Congregational Church, where four precincts were open on Election Day. As this was only a primary, there were no long lines.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category