Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Board’s obligation is to protect and nurture the Minnesota Orchestra

The directors’ actions are far more likely than not to end in the destruction of the much-beloved Minnesota Orchestra.

The Minnesota Orchestra built its worldwide reputation over many decades.
Courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra

Dear Members of the Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors,

In the beginning I was prepared to give you, the directors of the Minnesota Orchestra, the benefit of the doubt. After all, I understand the financial perils of deficit funding. However, you have now worsened the financial base of the Minnesota Orchestra with your duplicity and lack of ethics. You have deprived the musicians of a living and denied them health insurance for almost a year.

Even at this last Tuesday evening’s community forum, on the advice of our eminent guest, Alan Fletcher, I was in a mind to grant you some further indulgence. Now it appears the Minnesota Orchestral Association bought 13 domain names on, such as “” These purchases were made May 24 of 2012. These purchases appear to have been intended to frustrate the advocacy of citizen groups. They are absolute proof of your lack of integrity and indicate malice aforethought.

The Minnesota Orchestra did not build its worldwide reputation in recent years. At the dawn of the stereo era in 1958/59, I was 10-11 years old. At that age I was already an avid music and audio enthusiast.

Article continues after advertisement

In those years in the UK we used to gather at the Grand Old Hotel Russell, on beautiful Russell Square in London, every April for the annual Audio Fair. The fine recordings of the [then-named] Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on the Mercury Living Presence label, recorded by Robert Fine, were at the top of the demonstration discs.

The orchestra’s reputation was worldwide then as it is now. Now you have caused financial loss and problems across the oceans frustrating the BIS recording, and completing the Grammy nominated Sibelius symphony cycle under Osmo Vänskä. Given that this is coupled with appearances of the orchestra at the BBC Proms and Carnegie Hall, it should come as no surprise that the eyes of the nation and the world are on you. A mighty chorus is rising up questioning your actions and judgment.

Worse, at the time you were drawing up your infamous plans, the musicians of our orchestra were involved with A.C.M.E to bring El Sistema to the children of North Minneapolis. In addition to frustrating attempts to replace guns with instruments in North Minneapolis, your actions denied your organization funds from philanthropists looking for a social-justice element in their donations. This is now a big consideration in direction of philanthropic donations.

Your only recourse to salvage any personal honor is for you all to sincerely apologize and resign. If you think there are not competent individuals of probity and integrity to replace you, then you are additionally guilty of monumental conceit.

Your actions are far more likely than not to end in the destruction of the much-beloved Minnesota Orchestra, whom you have a sacred obligation to protect and nurture. In the event of the destruction of this orchestra, all your names will live in infamy down the ages.

Yours Faithfully, Mark Carter , M.D.

Dr. Mark Carter lives in Laporte, Minn.


If you’re interested in joining the discussion, add your voice to the Comment section below — or consider writing a letter or a longer-form Community Voices commentary. (For more information about Community Voices, email Susan Albright at