Written by Emily Hogstad
Published: June 29, 2013 at 11:26 PM [UTC]
The opening of the new $50 million lobby has been delayed. “Summerfest”, which was originally scheduled to take place in the hall, has been shortened to three programs, and Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis rented out for the purpose...assuming, of course, that a settlement can be reached within a couple weeks, which is a major stretch. The MOA has said that the hall renovation is not, in fact, behind schedule, and that they chose to spend the money renting out Ted Mann because it “worked well last year.” Rumors from well-placed (albeit obviously unnamed) sources indicate that the hall construction has in general been a bit of a fiasco. I’ll hold back on specifics for the moment, but if what I’m hearing is true, many donors may be disappointed in the quality of the orchestra’s renovated home.
In the face of overwhelming institutional dysfunction, it’s good to see one group of stakeholders working together to bring great symphonic music to the Twin Cities: young people! In May a group called the Young Musicians of Minnesota (YMM) formed to “help preserve the Minnesota Orchestra’s 110-year legacy of fostering music students.” Their enthusiastic efforts have so far been greeted by total silence by the MOA leadership and board. Nonetheless they soldier onward. They’re banding together to create an orchestra, and on July 27th, they will be presenting an ambitious program of Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Beethoven in Minneapolis. If you know of any young musicians around 25 or younger in the Twin Cities (especially string players!), please check out the group and lend a hand to support it. Their concern for their teachers, mentors, and friends in the Minnesota Orchestra - and for the mighty institution itself - is inspiring. It’ll be a great night. Tell all your music-loving Minnesota friends! Their website is at youngmusiciansofmn.org, and you can follow their activities on Facebook.
Also mark your calendars for September 20, when the Minnesota Orchestra's annual Symphony Ball will be held in the brand new lobby. (Tickets on sale in July!) I found out about this event after the wife of a locked-out musician was sent an invitation in the mail. It’s hard to tell if the MOA is playing mind games with musicians and their supporters, or are just brutally incompetent. (Maybe both...?) At the Ball, board members and their friends and clients will gather at a lavish party to benefit an orchestra that currently does not exist. The theme of the party is “Overture.” According to the MOA, “All proceeds from this event support the artistic initiatives and education programs of the Minnesota Orchestra. Funds will only be accessed when a contract settlement with musicians is reached.” Which, at this pace, will literally be never. Expect to see angry patrons protesting on the streets. We're hoping to finally get a chance to see or talk to MOA board chair and Wells Fargo VP Jon R. Campbell at the ball. Reliable sources indicate he never actually goes to Minnesota Orchestra concerts. He has turned down all requests to speak to patrons to answer questions.
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