Jonathan Yardley's column "Art and the Mingus Example" {Style, Sept. 10} was a welcome appreciation of the difficulties Charles Mingus transcended in a lifetime of uncompromising commitment to his art. But because Mr. Yardley concludes that art "gets done" not by government or foundation bureaucracy, let me bring to his attention the important role our cultural foundations have played in reviving the Mingus legacy. Without grant support from the National Endowment for the Arts and without a grant from the Ford Foundation, we would never have been able to bring his masterwork, "Epitaph," to light.

The preparation of his 500-page score for performance -- following three years of cataloging -- required 30 computer operators and musicians who worked for half a year with two separate computer programs, countless hours on the part of conductor Gunther Schuller and musicologist Andrew Homzy and a week of full-day rehearsals with 30 musicians.

The help from the endowments and from festival sites such as Wolf Trap and Tanglewood, which have been willing to set aside commercial considerations for such an event, as well as the support of large jazz festivals like Cleveland and Chicago and the summer series at Lincoln Center, have allowed "Epitaph" -- 30 years after it was completed -- to reach the audiences it deserves.


New York

The writer is the widow of Charles Mingus.