6 thoughts on “Almanac, Friday November 30th, 2012,

  1. The impasse persists. Doug Kelley leaves no doubt for this viewer that the Board is satisfied with its refusal to agree for an outside independent analysis: (1) of the present and recent finances and (2) future prospects for the MO if present management remains in charge. He cites the annual tax returns of the MO as verifying the integrity of the Board’s financial disclosure, but does not address the atmosphere in the workplace that the Board imposes on the musicians, and does not address(so far as I could determine) proposed future finances for the MO.

    Tony Ross is, for this viewer, by far the most persuasive participant in this Almanac program. He reports threats being made continuously by management against musicians and their MMO. He accurately reports that 3 counter-proposals have been made to the Board, none of which the Board accepts as valid responses by the MMO. He reports that the MMO cannot proceed with more detailed responses to the Board until it has the necessary independent analysis.

    For me the question is: how long will nothing be done to replace this Board and its management style? The Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Rybak have made appeals to the Board, as have also 3 distinguished former Music Directors and Osmo Vanska himself, but to no evident avail.

    The future of our MO is consequential for our state and for our reputation as enthusiasts for the arts and for this superior orchestra in particular. Will Governor Dayton and some body in the state Legislature come forward to break the logjam?

  2. Honest question–What power do city and state government have to make a difference in this instance? I’m not educated on what, if any, power they might have to force negotiations. I’ve always been confused in the past when governments get involved in union disputes, because I don’t understand what rights/powers all 3 parties (management, unions, government) have. It wasn’t part of my education as a student or as a worker. I feel maybe some of the spectators of this situation don’t understand that either.

    I still just don’t see any indication that the board and management of the orchestra _want_ to maintain a resident orchestra in the Minneapolis area. It feels too much like they’re trying to “run out the clock” by waiting until a critical mass of people leave. They still show no signs of wanting to keep concerts booked in their alternate performance locations.

    What might listeners and donors support without the participation of the current management? As mentioned on another blog, is a long term “orchestra in exile” possible or desirable? If it’s desirable, what do we have to do to help make it possible?

    I feel really helpless as an observer.

    • Thanks for your question/comment. We, too, have been learning about the power of public opinion, and we believe that the outpouring of public support and letters like yours demonstrate that our region both wants and deserves to have great classical music. We hope you will keep in touch via our website and Facebook. We’ll keep posting opportunities to sign petitions, write letters, attend rallies, donate, or whatever is in your power to do. Each and every letter or signature will help us eventually to reach a tipping point.

      Thank you!

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with the comments above. The Board is acting mysteriously silly . They talk (as in the interview) as if their statements were the only view of the situation. And they act as if they believe that once they say something that makes it true. eg. we haven’t received any responses from the Musicians, and so erase-in their own view-the fact that 3 responses have been given. And then appear to be certain that they have made a sensible statement that we, the audience and ‘middle class’ contributing members of the MN Orchestra Association do accept their view. What is this: They don’t hear well? They fear that if they listen or converse about the situation this means they LOOSE? They are totally insensitive? They don’t care about what happens to the orchestra or the audience?
    It certainly feels like arrogance, no matter how I try to understand them.
    There lots more to say, but, for me, it always sounds like they don’t go to the concerts and listen. I think it is great to have our listening experience affirmed by critics from New York and London and. . . .But we knew all of the thrills of the music as well as feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of each concert. I have heard audience members saying “I think I stopped breathing the last part of . . .” There are almost no words to describe the experience of hearing the Orchestra play. I am a 30 year plus contributing member of the MN Orchestra Ass. as well as season ticket holder for all those years. And the way the they play these days is beyond belief. Certainly more stirring and soul fulfilling that any other orchestra any of us have heard. THIS IS THE POINT THAT I BELIEVE THE BOARD MUST FIND A WAY TO UNDERSTAND. This group of artists, including Vanska, give us at each concert a precious gift.
    The Board is really off base whenever they say the orchestra will still be here in 5 or 10 years. No they won’t, if this group of artists leave one by one as they have to choose among the many offers we know they must be getting, what the Board will have left will be just an orchestra who will be playing regular concerts, with an occasional glorious evening.. But they will have lost a big part of the loyal audience, that includes my friends and me, because we will no longer be either season ticket holders nor contributing members of the Association. When I asked a friend to go with me to Musician’s concert at the Convention Center she said: friend of mine said, “I can’t, I just can’t. I just can’t.” This is absolutely the way we all feel. And will follow through with our requests for money back for this season’s tickets. And will not be coming back, though it breaks my heart as much as it is breaking my friend’s.
    To repeat myself: I appeal to the Board to go listen to their music, shut off your mind and just listen. You will be blown out of your seat, I promise you. Perhaps if you can do this you will be able to understand the enormity of what you are doing in destroying our Orchestra and conductor. Their artistry is rarely found. We, the audience are very, very grateful and we do understand what a gift we have here. As I said it is fun to have the New York critic so clearly praise them, but we, the audience have known and felt this for years.
    What we, the audience, the contributing members of the MN Orchestra Ass., and the Board must do is find a financial solutions that does not cost us all the gift of music that is here waiting to feed our souls and set our hearts afire, again and regularly.
    You, the Board, I fear are missing the point that what we have here is here: several times a month regularly, year after year. We don’t get many miracles in our life time. So please stop screwing this up.
    About three years ago the Board asked us to contribute extra and financial times were tough. We did. Our budgets were tight, but we all did. The next year we received requests for a building fund. “Thank goodness, we are over the money scare” I thought. Until this fall when it was announced that you, the Board had locked out OUR MUSICIANS!! This is where you lied to us, the contributing members of the MN Orchestra Ass. WE are the members. You did not tell us that you were starting building when you did not have money to pay our very reason for being in the Association. So, please stop saying that you did not lie to us. You have most certainly deceived us. And, it is time that you listen to us, both the ticket buying audience and the Contributing Members of the MN Orchestra Ass.
    We plea and also insist that you find money in some place that does not include the Musicians Pockets.
    You have very competently collected $110 million. An amazing amount of money to my mind. But you have truly done this. So we are confident and stand ready to help that you can raise the $6 million needed to pay the only people in this organization that are actually earning any of these amounts that are spent. And on top of that they give us the gift of serene and heartbreaking beautiful music at each concert.
    To the Board, thank you for considering our position.
    Very Truly Yours,
    Dori Macek

  4. Responding to Matthew Probst:

    It is arguably no bargain for the state of Minnesota and her citizens to gain an improved Orchestra Hall at the expense of losing the world-class status of our Minnesota Orchestra.

    Yet the present Music Director and three preceding ones have raised that probability as the management’s conflict with orchestra musicians is prolonged.

    In this situation one longs for strong remedies rooted in the state’s legal structure (including the office of governor, the legislature, and the courts). Accordingly I have hoped and suggested that attorneys who personally support the MO would come forward as an organized group to help us save the MO. How that would be done they would decide.

    If we are faced with no bargain for Minnesota, surely the state has the means to protect its interests.

    The following bases for action occur to me: First, the MO is a non-profit, and Minnesota’s non-profits are required to register with this state’s Secretary of State. Second, a pitch was made to the Legislature for $14M, and the “Building for the Future” brochure’s donor listing places first at the top both Julia W. Dayton and “The State of Minnesota” under the category “$10,000,000+.” That is a considerable investment by the state and by this individual. I reject the idea that there may be no way to protect that investment.

    On target is the MOMC-editor’s appeal to “the power of public opinion.” It is altogether heartening to have so many, and such thoughtful, opinions being expressed here by an aroused public. We hope that the pressure of public opinion will continue to build in support of our world-class Minnesota Orchestra, and that this public’s concerns will be conjoined with successful legal actions to protect the state’s 110-year investments in it.

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