Management’s lockout and lack of a realistic offer continues to damage our community’s reputation as a leader in the arts.
Our talented musicians are departing the Minnesota Orchestra to pursue positions with higher financial compensation, better benefits, and a respectful atmosphere focused on artistic excellence. It is highly unlikely that departing musicians will choose to return to work under the conditions proposed by the MOA. Under those terms, twice as many orchestras would offer better compensation and working conditions, leading to a further increase in the turnover rate. Newly hired players will continue seeking better opportunities from the moment they are hired.
The Minnesota Orchestra now has an unprecedented number of unfilled positions, nearly a third of the string complement, and a quarter of the orchestra. Even more Musicians have won auditions and are considering new offers at this time. Please visit A Guide to Ghosts – Musicians Lost to the Lockout for a detailed listing.
The Musicians are heartbroken to announce the loss of the following amazing colleagues. We congratulate them on their new positions and thank them for sharing their talents with our orchestra and our community. We wish these musicians well in their musical journey ahead. They will be deeply missed.
Burt Hara, Principal Clarinet, begins his new position as Associate Principal Clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in July. In April, Burt celebrated his 25th season with the Minnesota Orchestra in an acclaimed performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Musicians under the baton of Conductor Laureate, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. Burt has also appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performed solo recitals and chamber music around the nation, and been a guest lecturer at numerous esteemed music schools. He moves to Los Angeles with his wife, Julie Schlegel Hara, a former MOA Development Director, and their children this summer.
Gina DiBello has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra, having held the position of Principal Second Violin since 2008. After winning auditions for both the Boston and Chicago Symphonies, she joined the first violin section of the Chicago Symphony in June. Highlights of Gina’s career with the Minnesota Orchestra included solo performances of Mozart’s Violin Concertos Nos. 3 & 5 with Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Andrew Litton conducting. Known for her gentle leadership and lyrical playing, Gina was previously a member of the Detroit Symphony. She has made her home in Chicago with her husband, percussionist, Ian Ding.
Violist Kenneth Freed will move to Seattle this summer with his wife, Gwendolyn Freed. While continuing his position as the Music Director of the Mankato Symphony, Ken will take this opportunity to pursue new career options. Both Ken and Gwen have been significant leaders in our community, in both arts and education. In addition to his contributions to the Mankato community, Ken was the Founder and Board Chair of the Minneapolis non-profit, Learning Through Music. Other board service included the Yale Alumni Association of the North West, St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, the McNally Smith College of Music Foundation and the American Composer’s Forum. Ken played 2nd violin in the McKnight-winning Rosalyra String Quartet. Gwen served as the Executive Director of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, Vice President for Marketing and Communication for Gustavus Adolphus College, and most recently as the Executive Director of Wallin Education Partners.
Thomas Turner, Principal Viola, is now serving as Acting Principal Viola for the San Diego Symphony, and is committed to that position through at least the end of 2013. Before joining the Minnesota Orchestra, Tom served as Principal Viola with the Berlin Radio Symphony, and he has been a principal with the Oregon Bach Festival for many years.
Matthew Young has been granted tenure for his position as violist with the San Francisco Symphony and has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra. A winner of the Grand Prize in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and as a recipient of a McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, Matt visited many Minnesota and Wisconsin public schools, teaching and talking about his love for music and the Minnesota Orchestra.
First Associate Concertmaster Sarah Kwak has assumed the post of Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony and has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra. She served as the acting concertmaster for two seasons and performed numerous lauded solo works with the Minnesota Orchestra. Sarah has also performed as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship as a member of the Rosalyra String Quartet.
Vali Phillips served the Minnesota Orchestra as Principal Second Violin for eleven seasons before joining the first violin section. Vali was featured as soloist on many occasions, including performances of the Bruch First Violin Concerto, the Dvorak Romance, and Bach Double Violin Concerto. He has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra and has joined his wife, Sarah Kwak, in the first violin section of the Oregon Symphony.
First Violinist Peter McGuire has begun his position as Second Concertmaster with the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, under the direction of David Zinman. Solo performances with our orchestra included works by Kreisler, Massenet, and the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. A native Minnesotan, Peter moved with his family to Switzerland in February.
During the many months of the lockout, the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have been in demand as guest musicians. Our players have been repeatedly engaged to perform with the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and other great American orchestras.
Three new players, who have previously won auditions and were offered positions in our orchestra, were unable to begin their tenure this season:
Following an International audition, Gareth Zehngut, viola, was offered a position in our viola section. Gareth is currently a member of the viola section of the San Diego Symphony. Gareth’s artistic experience includes principal positions with the Festival Mozaic Orchestra, California Chamber Orchestra, and the conservatory orchestras at Juilliard and Tanglewood. Gareth has undergraduate and Master’s of Music degrees from Juilliard.
Yun-Ting Lee was offered a position in the second violin section. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Yun-Ting joined the Musicians for three of our concerts this season. He has since won an audition with the Cleveland Orchestra and has joined their violin section.
Hyejin Yune was offered a one-year position in the second violin section. She received her bachelor’s degree from Seoul National University and her master’s degree from the New England Conservatory. We were honored to have Hyejin join the Musicians for our concerts this season. Due to the lockout, Hyejin has now returned to her native Korea.
Fond Farewells: The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra expressed our deepest appreciation to the following musicians who resigned or retired in 2012: Julie Ayer, Mina Fisher, David Herring, Janet Horvath, Chou-hei Min, Basil Reeve, Edward Stack, and David Wright. These long-time musicians brought the irreplaceable experience of playing under music directors Skrowaczewski, Marriner, de Waart, Oue, and Vänskä, performing historic concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, and Tanglewood, as well as tours to Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. We are grateful for their service to the orchestra.