Management’s lockout and lack of a realistic offer continues to damage our community’s reputation as a leader in the arts.
The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are heartbroken to announce the loss of more of our amazing and talented colleagues. We congratulate them on their new positions, and thank them for sharing their abilities with our orchestra and our community. We wish them well in their musical journey ahead. They will be deeply missed.
Musicians who have left:
Gina DiBello, Principal Second Violin since 2008, has won a section violin position with the Chicago Symphony. Highlights of Gina’s career with the Minnesota Orchestra have 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 and is married to 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.
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.
Cellist Pitnarry Shin will move to New York with her husband, Kyu-Young Kim, who is leaving his position as Principal Second Violin with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra to join the New York Philharmonic. A Fulbright winner and accomplished chamber musician, Pitnarry has the unusual distinction of having won two national auditions for the prestigious cello section of the Minnesota Orchestra; when she first joined the orchestra in 2001 and when she returned as a member in 2012. Pitnarry and Kyu had planned to raise their two young children in Minnesota.
As the Musicians and legislators continue to wait on a full-disclosure of the financial status of the Orchestra, most Musicians are continuing to find work in other orchestras throughout the world.
“It has been nearly one year, and management still has not shared all of the financial information we have requested. Endless delay followed by regular canceling of entire blocks of concerts cause us to suspect they never wanted a season. Now, of course, 100 legislators are asking those kinds of questions as well,” Tim Zavadil chair of the Musicians negotiating committee and clarinetist.
The Musicians have offered binding arbitration to the board and management as well as three other counter proposals to try to break the stalemate created by management’s October 1st, 2012 lockout of the “world’s greatest orchestra”.
“Perhaps the Henson scheme to move the Minnesota Orchestra out of the Top 10 to a regional minor league Orchestra is acceptable to the Board,” Zavadil said. “We know it’s not what Minneapolis leaders want, and is totally unacceptable to our dedicated fans.”
While each side has agreed to the independent financial analysis, the scope and depth of the review will now be explored by outside parties. The Musicians have been trying to come to an agreement since January with management about which outside party will conduct the joint-independent financial analysis. The Musicians first asked for the joint-independent financial in August 2012 and management finally agreed to discuss the agreement in January 2013.
Meanwhile, on March 7th, 100 legislators wrote to Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles:
“Therefore, in representation of the state’s interests and assurance of the value of and return on its investments we the undersigned members of the Minnesota legislature request that the Legislative Auditor audit the books of the Minnesota Orchestra Association, including a review of its feasibility study for the remodeling of Orchestra Hall, a review of the use of all public funds, and of testimony of Orchestra principals before legislative committees for and about securing of those funds.”