Minnesota Orchestra's board walked thin line on finances

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 6, 2012 - 3:51 PM

As deficits worsened, the board worried about the impact of budget red ink on its fundraising.

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alansonNov. 25, 12 9:49 PM

None of this would be a problem if traditional symphony orchestras were not stuck with a repertory older than most people's great-grandparents. It's a shame to make the livelihood of highly talented musicians dependent on what is basically a declining musical genre. But until Osma Vanska or some other genius comes up with a way to provide compelling musical entertainment for the millenials and younger, this decline will continue. It's not the fault of the orchestra, the musicians, or the board of the Minnesota Orchestra. Changing tastes and a stale product make sustaining either of our orchestras a difficult proposition.

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dsfribergNov. 25, 12 9:55 PM

This article shows the orchestra management to be calculating and disingenuous. Over the course of several years, they determined to give the musicians the short end of the stick in favour of the hall remodel and endowment campaign. Hard to believe in light of this that the lockout has not been part of the plan all along as means to gain leverage and reformat the organization.

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kpkooikerNov. 25, 1210:13 PM

The Minnesota Orchestra's board didn't "walk a fine line." This articles makes it clear that we, as patrons and contributers to the Minnesota Orchestra, were explicitly lied to by the Board and management, in order to bolster fundraising for the remodeling project, and those lies continue now. No large arts organization functions on ticket sales. The Orchestra has always been dependent on donors. If the Orchestra's donors had been told, "Hey, we're hemmorrhaging money here, and need more donations or we'll have to take drastic action that might cause permanent harm to the Orchestra," we'd have responded. It is the job of the Board to model and solicit those donations. Most of the members of the board are wealthy influential people within the business community because they are the people best able to get more donations from wealthy people in the business community. They have failed in that job. Now they propose to gut the Orchestra of its best artists, and permanently destroy the reputation of the Orchestra as a world-class ensemble and a career destination for top artists. Mr Henson and the leaders of the Board need to be replaced before the Minnesota Orchestra is crippled by their folly.

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unseeliectNov. 25, 1210:24 PM

Alanson, have you ever actually attended a concert from the Minnesota Orchestra? Or glanced over it's season? It has always been peppered with world premieres of new works and very healthy doses of 20th century music. Osmo is a proponent of contemporary music, and the "Future Classics" concerts are devoted to music so new the ink isn't dry. People assume that nothing has been written for orchestra in a hundred years, but are very mistaken.

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erikj3Nov. 25, 1210:30 PM

Maybe they shouldn't have spent $52 million on that new lobby after all...

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mcjsevenNov. 25, 1211:02 PM

I'm sorry, but I've been to multiple "20th century" concerts there and the people are all stuck up, and if you're under 50 and try to get into the music, you get the stink eye. Out of touch music for an out of touch majority paying crowd....over 50.

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fwallenNov. 26, 12 1:16 AM

Sounds like Board made two errors. First taking too much out of the endowment funds for two years disguisingbtheirvfinancil situation. And then going in the other direction to demonstrate dire need. Both were wrong". No not for-profit can, or should take a per cent age that high. It is akin to eating your young. Ideally they would tak percentage that is less than the investment income, thus allowing slow steady growth in the fund.

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redstateNov. 26, 12 6:22 AM

If the musicians salaries can be supported through revenues that their concerts generate, so be it. No tax dollars.

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martin64Nov. 26, 12 7:13 AM

Campbell said it is not unusual to consult professionals on reporting news and claimed that "there was no attempt at manipulation." = The "professionals" are paid to come up with as-close-as-you-can-come-to-lies as possible. That's why they are hiring "professionals." Campbell should have hired a "professional" to vet this answer.

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porthosNov. 26, 12 7:18 AM

Redstate, very few tax dollars are ever spent on the arts in this country. Musicians' salaries, and the administration that "supports" them, are paid for by revenues, individual and corporate donations, and endowment draw. The problem is that the board manipulated the numbers first to draw in dollars to support its building project, then to give them the upper hand in negotiating with the musicians. Tax dollars are irrelevant, because they simply aren't a part of this equation.

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