Thursday, January 16, 2014

Possible restructuring of the Minnesota Orchestra

After a lengthy 15 month lockout the Minnesota Orchestra musicians will once again be back in action, with concerts starting in February. While this comes as a great relief to many musicians and music lovers, not all are happy with the way a resolution was developed.  (Three year  Minnesota Orchestra deal ends 15 month lockout)

Following are a few thoughts from a friend, George Jaquith, regarding a possible reorganization, with ownership by residents of the state of Minnesota.

To guarantee the future of this 110 year cultural, social and economic asset, the State of MN truly ought to assume control of the Orchestra and the endowment.  The City of Minneapolis already owns the Hall which could remain as it is or be transferred to the State. Community ownership already serves great performing arts companies on every continent.  Ownership by the citizens would increase good will, remove it from narrow control, labor disputes and partisan politics. 

Unlike other countries, we need not seek public funds, although the State and local level have already contributed millions for the Hall and later for the 50 million dollar expansion.  Perhaps six million of the 500 million dollars appropriated by the Minnesota for the Vikings stadium could have been diverted in the form of a loan to cover the deficit of the Orchestra, as suggested by both former Governor Arne Carlson
 and Gary Gutting in the New York Times of November 30, 2013.

Patron comments may be directed to the MOA:   612-373-9204

Be it further recommended that:
1)      The MOA swiftly appoint a temporary management experienced in concert production and an executive board amenable to working with the musicians.
2)      A coalition be formed including the MOA, musicians and community members to revive a concert season immediately.
3)      That the MOA work with Rep. Kahn and the Minnesota Legacy Committee on the State level to pass the legislative bill and provide a smooth transition to community ownership.
4)      This being accomplished, a committee should approach Director Vanska to return ASAP.   Anyone who heard his comments from the podium at the farewell concert senses that he may be receptive, given a greater stability on the part of the MOA and a more responsive management.  (He already agreed to conduct a special concert at the new Northrop Auditorium in May, 2014.)
Also, House Representative Kahn at: or Write Governor Dayton, Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges (who stands behind the musicians) and your area legislators.
Express now your support for the bill to dissolve the present legal structure of the MOA as it exists, replaced by a community ownership.

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