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Greenspan Forte: Ducking Big Questions

Panic at the Philharmonic.

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The economy dominated conversation at the New York Philharmonic’s opening-night gala on September 17 (sponsored by Credit Suisse), but Alan Greenspan didn’t want to talk about it. Maestro Lorin Maazel opened the reception with a joke. “I walked by my bank today to see how it was doing,” he said. “The doors were closed, but I picked up some wonderful office furniture.” And the Philharmonic’s executive director, Zarin Mehta, fretted about people not buying tickets. But Greenspan, accompanied by wife Andrea Mitchell, was all about the music. “I was just commenting that the pizzicato movement in Tchaikovsky was the best I’d ever heard,” he said. So what’s the right music for when the ship is going down? “That’s the toughest question I’ve ever heard,” he said. “My wife would answer it better.” She was diplomatic: “What we heard tonight was perfect to elevate everyone’s mood.” And why didn’t the Fed bail out Lehman Brothers? “She’s the expert,” Greenspan laughed again. Do people ask him for economic advice on the street? “Yes!” What does he tell them? “Nothing.”

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