Orchestra lockouts affect music education

While the cancellation of concerts is the most public result of the lockout of musicians at both the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, music educators are concerned about the lockouts’ long-term impact on their students.


Julia Bogorad-Kogan, the SPCO’s principal flutist, and David Wright III work through scales and pieces during a lesson in her St. Paul home. Bogorad-Kogan and many more locked-out musicians at both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra are taking on extra students as a way to earn some income during the lockout. (MPR Photo/Euan Kerr)

As MPR’s Euan Kerr reports, many orchestra musicians are taking on more lessons, but young musicians no longer have the major orchestras to look to for inspiration:

An important part of being in the Minnesota Youth Symphony is regularly hearing the Minnesota Orchestra and the SPCO play.

“My kids don’t have any concerts to go to,” [co-director Manny Laureano] said with a frustrated laugh. “This is like having a class that studies Shakespeare, and never taking them to plays.”

Laureano acknowledged that missing a few weeks won’t hurt, but he worries about the dispute dragging on and the orchestras not playing for months.

Back at McPhail Center for Music Paul Babcock is worried too about the long-term impact of the contract fight. He sad if the orchestras are weakened, it’s going to hurt everyone in the arts.

“If the two orchestras end up in a less-desirable state than they are today, or for some reason the orchestras don’t exist, that will be a real tragedy for the Twin Cities,” he said. “The whole ecosystem of the arts community needs both of those orchestras to exist and to be strong.”

But with concerts at both the Minnesota Orchestra and the SPCO cancelled through the end of the year, and no negotiations currently scheduled at either, there is little to ease Babcock’s concern.

You can find out more about the effects of the orchestra lockouts here.

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