Minnesota Orchestra must now recover from ‘a huge hit’

  1. Listen Analysis of the Minnesota Orchestra settlement

    Jan 15, 2014

Now that it’s put an end to 15 months of bitter arguments and stalled negotiations, the Minnesota Orchestra can get back to the job of making music.

But, according to conductor and music writer Bill Eddins, the orchestra’s reputation has taken “a huge hit” artistically:

“Orchestras function on a multi-year cycle, planning things far in advance,” Eddins said in an interview with Morning Edition’s Cathy Wurzer. “If you’re the Minnesota Orchestra calling up management for some soloist or some conductor saying we’d like to book them for October, that management is going to look at you and go ‘you’re crazy! You’re not even playing, we’re not going to hold this week for you.’ There’s this whole process of getting back up and rebuilding a reputation with those people and with your community at large. There’s going to be a whole lot of hard work ahead of the organization – I wish them the best, but it’s going to be a slog.”

Eddins says it’s crucial that the orchestra find an artistic leader that the artists and the community can rally around “to settle the ship after these incredible storms.” Whether that person will be Osmo Vanska is not yet known.

Musicians will return to work on Feb. 1.

  • KTN

    Regardless of whom the orchestra brings in to lead, we are most likely done as patrons. A couple of decades of support, both financially, but more importantly, as butts in the seat, this walkout has changed my desire to continue that support. Both sides were intractable, and in that process they showed about the same maturity as a whinny 3 year old.
    We moved our dollars to other events, seeing and hearing many other groups and performances, and though I do want to see the newly updated OH, I might just take a tour. Hard to write this, but they asked for it. Moving on.

    • BlackLion2

      :-) Wow.
      Talk about being as whiny as a three year old. People were stripped of their livelihood and all you can do is complain about tone. Good riddance to you.

      • KTN

        Your insults are particularly mature, thanks. They were not stripped, they chose not to negotiate, big difference, but lost on you however.

        • akadams

          Again, KTN…who was it that ignored Senator George Mitchell, their chosen mediator? Who was it that said “We’re just going to take a little break from talks…”? Who was it that stalled, delayed and stymied every examination of financial facts?
          (Handing over a thick stack of irrelevancies and calling that “transparency” is chutzpah at its finest….)

          • George Jaquith

            KTN, please review the long history of the lockout on the musician´s web site. Who rejected George Mitchell’s binding arbitration? Did you know that the the MOA spent $885,000 on legal feels fighting and trying to break the union? $200,000 on bonuses, spending 12 million last year without producing a single concert, etc? I agree with you that I will not give to the MOA, that is until we get new blood and a board representing the musicians and the socio and economic diversity of the state (like Cleveland or the Oregon Symphony). To restore creidibility it is essential that Henson go and OSMO return. Support Rep. Kahn´s proposed bill in the house.to have a community orchestra.

    • Jim G

      The musicians were “locked out” of their employment. They never “walked out” on their employer as you state.

    • akadams

      Very sorry to hear that, especially the completely uninformed use of the word “walkout”. It’s spelled with an “L”…as in L O C K O U T and was one hundred percent caused by the incompetent leadership of the MOA and board.
      Minneapolis has a lot of things to choose from – you certainly won’t lack for opportunities. Enjoy them, and your tour, and remember the musicians were Locked Out By The MOA.

  • Ultracobalt

    The comments below are an unfortunate reflection of how this dispute has engendered strong feelings. While it’s obvious that management and musicians must somehow learn to work together, the sad fact is that building trust with their audience is much more vital and not being properly discussed. Firstly this new smaller ensemble must present a product worth paying for: the quality cannot be perceived to be below the value of the ticket price or attendance will dry up. That’s not a criticism, but a market reality. Secondly, if management is perceived to be squandering the endowment, such as paying itself lavish bonuses, community fundraising sources will also dry up. Both problems will make the Orchestra’s return a very short-lived experiment if not resolved fast. By way of example, the Minnesota Wild offered season ticket holders 10% interest and deep discounts on future seasons during their lockout to get fans back. What did I get as a MnOrch patron? A free CD and a string of obnoxious fund-raising phone calls. That is no way to do business. I supported the musician’s concerts during their lockout. However, now that the institution is back on, customer loyalty must now be its #1 priority. Win that back, and the hall will fill. Fail to do so, and the party is over.

    • ArthurH

      Having attended all of the musicians’ self produced concerts I think we can rest assured that the product quality has not suffered despite the various absences of principals and others on temporary and in some instances permanent leaves. This is a tribute to the cohesiveness and fine musicianship of our orchestra, and in no small part due to Osmo Vanska. Hopefully, our musicians on leave will return. We will renew our full season subscriptions which we have had since 1971. However, before we contribute another cent to the Orchestral Association, and we were very generous contributors, we will need to see substantial changes in the board’s leadership and direction. The evil triumverate of Davis, Campbell and Henson are easy and culpable scapegoats for several others in board the leadership. I read with some delight in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune that in addition to stepping down from leadership roles at the orchestra, Davis and Campbell were leaving the board. Hopefully, I interpreted the article correctly. As for Mr. Henson, in a way I sympathize with him. After all his “new business plan” that almost destroyed the orchestra was developed at the behest and approval of the board leadership. On the other hand he was the public face of the board and his combative style and persona are not compatible with a kinder and more responsive board. (I have always wondered why a cultivated English accent so impresses Americans.) AND IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT OSMO MUST BE BROUGHT BACK!