Though orchestras may lose a few players to other orchestras, these are usually due to promotions to better-paying jobs and/or title positions. In the case of the Minnesota Orchestra, many of the departures would, in normal times, be seen as lateral moves at best.
Principal Clarinet Burt Hara left for Associate Principal in LA. Principal Second Violin Gina DiBello moved to Section First Violin in Chicago. Acting First Associate Concertmaster Peter McGuire left for a Concertmaster positions in Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra. He’s a Minnesota boy who won his dream job, and never wanted to leave. He contributed to the surrounding community as a chamber musician and educator, and should have been viewed by management as an ideal legacy player. Instead, MPR wrote:
McGuire said he started to feel uneasy long before the orchestra made its first contract offer this past spring. “There was this kind of ‘the bully’s going to meet you at lunchtime’ feeling for at least a year and a half.” … “You say I’m much less valuable than I have been, and what choice do I have but to prove that’s not the case?” he said. “A 42 percent cut — would you not look for work the next day?” … McGuire said he doesn’t want to stay with an orchestra he feels is moving in the wrong direction.
“Leave of absence” is both true and misleading. It is standard in orchestras and other professions to take a year’s leave on accepting another position. This is not indecision about leaving; it is personal insurance. A new job may not work out as planned. The only other reason for these players to want to return to Minnesota is if they hold out hope for drastic changes in MOA management policies, direction, and/or leadership in the coming year.
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