It is criminally ironic that the supposed “executive” leadership of the Minnesota Orchestra Association is disenfranchising its own world-class talent and team: the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. Members of a top-tier orchestra are not “run of the mill” musicians. Instead, the enormously gifted musicians of world-class orchestras are disciplined, highly-trained and effective “executives,” each in their own sphere of the orchestra.
Many players in wind and brass sections, as well as percussion and lead strings, are soloists, meaning that as individuals and as cooperating elements of a larger artistic mechanism, they are genuinely responsible for the success or failure of every musical endeavor in every concert, whether in Orchestra Hall or in New York’s Carnegie Hall, or great halls anywhere. The classical music business is tough — criticism and critical assessments are constant. Only genuinely and unusually high performing musical organizations receive the consistently lustrous praise that the Minnesota Orchestra has reaped under the baton of Osmo Vänskä.
The musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, whose compensations are well within industry standards, are a dynamic, first-class executive team who function and interact seamlessly to get “top of the world” results. It is brazenly ignorant for corporate leaders who profess expertise in executive management to trash such unique and effective talent. If they want to manage a B-level organization, there are many to choose from; let them go elsewhere.
I had the privilege of hearing the Minnesota Orchestra in Carnegie Hall not long after Osmo Vänskä began his leadership. After the final piece on a wonderful program, Vänskä and the orchestra were called back for FIVE encores — in New York City, a town saturated with great music. Five encores for Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra. May the people of Minnesota make it still be so.
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