Statement From the Musicians Regarding the Upcoming Negotiations

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have accepted the invitation from management to meet next week. Since October 1st, when management locked out the Musicians, we have stated that we are willing to discuss and negotiate in good faith at any time.

Since the management and board are now restoring the mission statement to read: “Our mission is to enrich, inspire and serve our community as a symphony orchestra internationally recognized for its artistic excellence”, and has stated that the meeting will be “without preconditions,” the Musicians will approach the bargaining table with an open mind.

Recent Press

We would like to share links to the three most visible news stories from the past two days:

Lawmakers call for hearing into Minnesota Orchestra Finances | WCCO News, December 20, 2012

MN Orchestra re-opens negotiation talks, cancels concerts | by Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio, December 21, 2012

Minnesota Orchestra invites musicians back to table | by Graydon Rocye, Star Tribune, December 21, 2012

Thank You to All

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are thankful and incredibly moved by our audiences, volunteers and supporters who made our sold-out Ode to Joy concerts truly special and joyful. Pioneer Press reviewer Rob Hubbard perhaps said it best when he said, “This is why we need orchestras.”

Most especially we need to thank Maestro Edo de Waart, our former concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis, superb soloists Ellie Dehn, Adriana Zabala, Thomas Cooley, Philip Zawisza, and our outstanding Ode to Joy Chorus for volunteering their services and fine music-making in support of our cause.

We also wish to show our appreciation to Orchestrate Excellence, a newly-formed coalition of citizens concerned about the lockout and dedicated to preserving the world-class status of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Coverage of our Ode to Joy concerts in the press:

Concert Review by Rob Hubbard
Concert Review by Larry Fuchsberg
Edo de Waart speaks his mind about the Minnesota Orchestra

Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions about the Negotiations

Jorja & Erin

We are thrilled and delighted that Jorja, our longtime friend and colleague, is able to be here, making music with us this weekend.  Seeing our two concert masters, past and present, playing Bach and Beethoven side-by-side, is compelling testimony to the generosity of spirit we have witnessed day after day during this struggle. Musical bonds are strong, indeed.

A huge thank you to our dear friend, Jorja.  We are full of gratitude for your friendship and support.

Photo by William Schrickel

Edo de Waart

When Edo De Waart was the Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra, one of our tours ended in Reading, PA, on a gray Sunday afternoon at the Rajah Theater. The backstage areas were run down, as our concert was the last event taking place in the hall before it was boarded up. We had been on the road for ten or eleven days, and everyone was anxious to get home. Yet Edo, in his cramped dressing room before the concert, took a fresh look at the score to a piece we had already played 5 or 6 times on tour.

Great artists get even better over time because they constantly strive to make the next performance top the last. Edo helped inspire that work ethic in the members of his orchestra. The Beethoven Ninth performances we will play this weekend have been decades in the making.

-Bill Schrickel, Assistant Principal Bass

A Special Gift From Japan

Gift of 96 Paper Cranes from Eriko

Read the story by Kristin Tillotson in the Star Tribune
Eriko Matsukawa, a blind English translator from Miyagi, Japan, sent a package containing the cranes (pictured at left) to the Musicians. She personally folded each crane (96 total) to represent each member of the Minnesota Orchestra. Included in the package was a letter as well as a large donation to the musicians fund. Orchestra member Sachiya Isomura brings the cranes to the full orchestra meetings each week as a reminder of her steadfast courage and hope. The Musicians responded to Eriko’s generous and thoughtful donation by flooding her email with thank you notes, recording voice thank you messages, as well as sending her hand written letters.

Link to the letter (original translation from braille)
Link to the letter (transcribed from the original translation) 

Here is another special thank you to our Japanese “Superfan”:

Dear Eriko,

We want to thank you so much for your very generous and spontaneous donation to our difficult struggle.  We fear we cannot write as eloquently as you do, but we very much want to thank you and to tell how much your contribution—and especially your words—have meant to us.

So often, after a concert, we leave the concert hall unaware of how our music may have affected listeners.  We always try to do our best for the great music we are privileged to play.  And we always hope that audiences are moved and their lives inspired by the music we love.  But rarely do we hear from someone who has been touched so directly and profoundly as you.

We are humbled by your kindness.  We cherish the letter you sent.  Your faith in us and in our ability to make music gives us strength to fight for our orchestra.

We will be thinking of you when we play Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on December 15th and 16th.

With our deepest thanks and gratitude,

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra

Representative Phyllis Kahn speaks out on MinnPost

Minnesota House of Representatives Phyllis Kahn says

At its core, the issue in the MN Orchestra lockout is values, not budgets

“Perhaps this is what I find most disappointing about the Minnesota Orchestra lockout. Recognizing the importance the orchestra plays in enhancing our standard of living, I was supportive of the $16 million in bonding dollars recently granted to the Minnesota Orchestra to renovate Orchestra Hall and Peavey Plaza.”

Read full article on MinnPost