It was a sad and triumphant night last Thursday. That was when the locked out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra began their first sold out concert and perhaps ended their season.
My first thought was "where are the internet billionaires"? Bill Gates famously said he will never support the arts, Apple is well known for doing nothing for charity at all.
This bring me back to Deanna Durban and her movie.100 Men and a Girl
It looks like the depression all over again. Except.....
When I spoke to the orchestra members they told me this is not about the funding issue as the orchestra is not broke, or anywhere near broke. Rather it is about bringing modern business practices to orchestra management prioritizing business over art. The recent successful fundraising campaign for a new lobby will pay for itself as it will allow enhanced catering/restaurant possibilities. The musicians of the orchestra represent nothing but costs. Management see the orchestra as replaceable widgets. The unfairness with which the musicians have been treated can be directly related to the fact that maintaining relationships and loyalty are expensive. This is all about the musicians working for a lot less. It was on the local TV news how much the musicians are paid and it seems like a lot, yet for the hours put in not really. If the best musicians leave for better jobs so much the better. That is the dirty secret here; what matters is price point only. If the integrity of the orchestra suffers, fine, we simply go for a lower price point. Fewer tours less expense.
What is an orchestral arts institution anyway? Just the management? Just the orchestra? The sum of its parts? What does the management manage other than the orchestra itself?
The Minnesota orchestra represents the aspirations of all who love classical music.
An orchestra is a living thing. It takes years to build and sorry to say only moments to destroy.
Support the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.