Crucial year for Minn. Orchestra

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 13, 2012 - 1:45 PM

As it plays in exile, the state's largest arts group faces a big deficit and enters crucial labor talks with musicians.

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w1n5t0nApr. 11, 1210:43 PM

You know where the absolutely terrific AND most financially stable American orchestra is. Come out and audition.

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jcinmnApr. 11, 1211:10 PM

Judging from the heavy hitters listed as benefactors making up the deficit should be a walk in the park, except that they'll probably be making heavy contributions to their Super Pacs.

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atwardowApr. 12, 1212:46 AM

These musicians are masters of their craft and need to be compensated accordingly. At the same time, all sides need to realize that the simple fact of limited resources requires thoughtful budgeting to ensure the orchestra's longterm viability. I don't think anyone wants to see the Minnesota Orchestra go down the path of Detroit or Philadelphia, and so the musicians would do well to see that a continual rise in salaries would indeed ultimately take the orchestra down that path.

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mamajammaApr. 12, 12 1:19 AM

The Minnesota Orchestra is a state and national treasure, this value cannot be determined in dollars and cents. Our Maestro is second to none and so are our musicians. Hard times threaten our culture in so many ways. Rich people need to step up and do their part. This is one of the things they do best, fund the Minnesota Orchestra. Thank you and god speed is all I can say.

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threed61Apr. 12, 12 4:41 AM

does any group whose minimum salary is a 110 thousand dollars qualify as a union? There is a glut of unemployed musicians,.and a shortage of paying customers, keep that in mind during negotiations.

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fwallenApr. 12, 12 7:57 AM

Where are the leaders and shakers? This is our orchestra, and it is a wonderful asset. It's time to step up with big checks. The mgmt. could take a page from the university sports teams and build more opportunities for donations that result in enhanced seating and other benefits

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newpaperApr. 12, 12 8:20 AM

I love the comments from people who want something to be done -- by someone else. Also, the Minnesota Orchestra has survived on fundraising -- to the tune (no pun intended) of almost $16 million in 2010. You can rest assured that "the rich" are already writing lots of big checks. The question is, will they continue to do so? Also realize that the Orchestra lost more money on its investments than it brought in from ticket revenue. That's a serious issue...

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alr213Apr. 12, 12 8:56 AM

I love the orchestra but have been going less and less over the past three or four years. For my taste, the classical program is progressively loaded with more and more "new" and unknown music. I know the musicians like to play it because it is different, but it doesn't pay the bills. Look at the houses that are full: Mahler, Beethoven, Sibelius, etc. They need to re-balance the program.

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pdxtranApr. 12, 1210:38 AM

I take the opposite position from air213. I can hear Beethoven any time, and actually, I find the Minnesota Orchestra's programming to be rather conservative. I seek out the programs that have music I haven't heard before.

I used to volunteer for a classical radio station in another city, and whenever they did listener surveys, opinions on everything were divided almost 50-50. "Too much new music!" "Not enough new music!" "Too much choral music!" "Not enough choral music!" and so on.

Once when I was working the phones, a listener called in and said, "Why are you playing that horrible contemporary stuff?"The piece she was referring to had been written in 1910.

It's a difficult balancing act.

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pdxtranApr. 12, 1210:41 AM

threed61:"does any group whose minimum salary is a 110 thousand dollars qualify as a union? There is a glut of unemployed musicians,.and a shortage of paying customers, keep that in mind during negotiations."

That's a fraction of what professional athletes earn, and they don't have to pay their own way through college or shell out thousands of dollars to buy professional-quality instruments. (P.S. There are plenty of wannabe professional athletes who never made a major league team, too.)

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