Osmo Vänskä’s return seems inevitable if the Minnesota Orchestra is to recover

Photo by Greg Helgeson
Prior to the lockout, the board understood how important Osmo Vänskä was to its mission.

The long lockout may be over, but the Minnesota Orchestral Association board of directors still is under tremendous pressure.

Given the realities of public and political pressures, it appears certain that Osmo Vänskä must be asked to return as music director if the Minnesota Orchestra’s process of healing is to move forward.

That, however, cannot be an easy task for the board or current management.

It was Vänskä, after all, who put so much pressure on the board to resolve the lockout. Rather than remaining neutral in the dispute, Vänskä, by his actions, became the symbol of choosing artistic excellence over bottom-line business calculations. On Oct. 1, he followed through on his threat to resign from his million-dollar post. 

No other event during the dispute created so much attention in the media or from the various classical-music fan organizations that were created during the lockout than the departure of the 60-year-old Finn.

Vänskä became a symbol of artistic ‘loss’

He came to represent all that was being lost in the dispute.

Given Vänskä’s international stature, comments by Michael Henson, the MOA’s chief executive, and by board leaders Jon Campbell and Richard Davis seemed shallow and cold.

In a Minnesota Public Radio interview, for instance, when Vänskä was in the process of leaving, Henson made statements that became a public relations nightmare for the MOA.

“Ultimately, if Osmo decides to go, it is his decision,” Henson said in the interview. “We want him to stay through the end of his contract (2015). … We have had many distinguished conductors in the past.”

Henson’s point, of course, was that conductors come and go — which is true. But under Vänskä, the orchestra had achieved an international stature that it never before had enjoyed.

Even Minnesotans who wouldn’t walk across Nicollet Avenue to see the orchestra perform had been able to take pride in the prestige the assembly brought to its home state. 

Prior to the lockout, the board understood how important Vänskä was to its mission. 

Hausman: Vänskä sold Hall makeover

Rep. Alice Hausman, a DFLer from St. Paul, recalled Vänskä’s role in winning state bonding money for the rehab of Orchestra Hall.

“When our House committee visited Orchestra Hall for the bonding pitch,” Hausman said, “it was Osmo Vänskä on the stage making the pitch. I think he was alone on that stage. We never would have done this for a board of directors, but we built it for the musicians and the director.”

Hausman is among those who believe that the board must ask Vänskä to return, noting that the music director seems to have made it clear that all the board must do is ask.

“We will look just as foolish as we did during the lockout if we don’t ask him back,” Hausman said.

It was Vänskä who set the stage for a return when a Finnish newspaper reported that he had posted on Facebook“I’m going to try! But they have to ask me!”

On so many levels, that would seem like such a simple thing for the board to do: Call up the maestro and say, “Please come back.”

Most musicians have made it clear they would see that as a very positive step in putting the pieces back together. The musicians believe that it was Vänskä’s vision and discipline that moved the orchestra to an elite level.

Orchestra fans — those who joined such organizations as Orchestrate Excellence and Save Our Symphony — also have been clear: A return of Vänskä is a necessary step to begin the healing. 

Those “fans” are vital to the future of the orchestra. They may not be the big hitters in terms of donations, but they understand and love the music and they buy the tickets.

Kelley cites ‘energy’  of musician supporters

Additionally, as Doug Kelley, who ended up as one of the key negotiators for the MOA, noted, they created “energy” during the lockout. These were the people filling various concert halls to hear the locked-out musicians perform.

On the evening that the board and musicians voted to ratify the new contract, Kelley acknowledged that the “energy” of those followers is needed at Orchestra Hall.

“It seems to me that returning him to the podium would be a PR win-win for the MOA,” wrote Nils Halker, secretary of Save Our Symphony, Minnesota, in an e-mail.

 “It would hugely benefit musical rebuilding/restoration and I suspect would also really help in rebuilding/restoring trust of donors,” he wrote.” Getting Osmo back would send a message to the community that the MOA is truly committed to continuing a world-class orchestra. I’m not under any illusion that getting Osmo back would solve everything but without him I think the challenges of rebuilding the orchestra will be much greater.”

On one hand, people such as Hausman and Halker — and presumably many, many more — are surprised that the MOA hasn’t already reached out to Vänskä.

But Hausman has been told in conversations with board members and those associated with board members that this is not as easy as picking up the phone. There is a sense among at least some board members that Vänskä “burned his bridges” with his passionate resignation.

Although Vänskä never point-blank said the actions of the board were wrong-headed, it was clear that he stood with the art, not the bottom line. At a “farewell” concert following his resignation, Vänskä asked the crowd to not applaud in a closing encore piece.

“I ask you to hold your applause after this encore. I have to say that the situation here is terrible, and the orchestra is in so terrible and … and … like almost hopeless situation right now, and that situation doesn’t need any applause.”

These were bruising words to a board that had hired Vänskä to a rich contract.

Henson’s fate, role uncertain

Additionally, there is the complex situation with Vänskä and Henson. It’s almost impossible to imagine that the two could work together again.

For that matter, it’s difficult to imagine how Henson, with or without Vänskä, can be part of a healing scenario among musicians, the board and the community.

Yet, the board seems to face a dilemma: Can it reasonably fire the guy whose strategy it embraced and then rehire the person who, through his actions, said the strategy was folly?

Perhaps, recent weeks have created enough new leadership on the board that Vänskä can be called back and Henson either pushed out or at least pushed into a corner, far from public eye.

But so far, Kelley — who for the moment is the face and voice of the board — is trying to juggle both. Henson, Kelley has said, will remain as CEO. The Vänskä situation will be dealt with another day, he said.

The board, though, is expected to elect a new board chairman — replacing Campbell — soon. Presumably, that move will set off a series of moves, including a phone call to Vänskä.

Save Our Symphony’s Halker doesn’t think the board has any option.

“The alternative, starting a search for a new music director, would be incredibly hard,” he said. “The entire musical world has been watching us and I imagine that most potential candidates would be very hesitant to step in right now.”

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Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by elliot rothenberg on 01/21/2014 - 10:47 am.

    how about a trade?

    It is obvious that Kelley and Henson don’t want Vanska back. It is either Kelley-Henson or Vanska. So let’s do a trade: Kelley and Henson and cash for Maestro Vanska. It would be of enormous benefit to our community and far better than any recent Twins’ deal.

    • Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 01/21/2014 - 01:13 pm.

      Exactly

      Who contributes more to the bottom line here?

      • Submitted by Elizabeth Erickson on 01/21/2014 - 04:43 pm.

        Who contributes more to the bottom line?

        Exactly. All I’ve heard from the MOA for the past 16 plus months is “financially sustainable” blah blah blah. They set their bottom line in stone at the beginning of these “negotiations”. They didn’t care if their outrageous proposal and behavior sent our superstars packing; they didn’t care how many families were split up during the year; they didn’t care the rest of the music world watched in horror as they tried to drive the whole bus over the cliff. They were simply right about everything but of course, they were not.

        I have never in 30 years of attending concerts heard so many people openly sob as I did at Osmo’s farewell concert. The loss for those of us who love our orchestra and understand the huge role Osmo has played, was incalculable. Yet, no one that I know blamed Osmo for his departure. The hell that the MOA created for the musicians and for him is not often discussed. Few know the dirty little details. But for Osmo to have sat back and watched as his orchestra was being destroyed and not say anything is unimaginable to anyone who possesses a basic sense of common decency. As the musicians tried over and over again to relay, these were not normal run of the mill negotiations. This was nothing short of a cultural war and an attempted artistic coup’d tat on the part of the MOA.

        So, some of the people with the big guns (ie millions and in some cases, billions of dollars) and a sense of ownership of something that didn’t belong to them are a little bruised because the people with the bows and arrows and quills fought back hard; even though the big guns were trying to starve the serfs into submission and callously ignored their demand for being treated fairly and with respect. If it weren’t so serious, it would be laughable that some of the board members feel slighted by Mr. Vanska. 2 years ago, someone close to the orchestra but not in the orchestra, told me that the MOA wanted to get rid of Osmo. I thought they must be exaggerating. Nobody could be that stupid. In the end, I sadly understood that they were right. For those of us who have followed this story very carefully, it is pretty much accepted that the MOA wanted Osmo gone. So for some of those people to be whining like prima donas and accusing Osmo of burning his bridges is ridiculous. They practically burned down the whole barn. MOA—- you have a unique opportunity –an opportunity not often granted to an organization who screws up this royally. The patrons love Osmo; the donors love Osmo; the musicians love Osmo; the state legislature doesn’t like Michael Henson; the city council doesn’t like Michael Henson; the musicians, patrons, and most importantly for your bottom line thinking, the donors don’t like him or trust him. He created such a toxic environment that I as a musician and teacher, cannot imagine how anyone could have created great art under his thumb. And yet, our musicians and Osmo did. Do the right thing’–swallow your pride, bring Osmo back at let the healing begin. If you keep on Michael Henson, you are not going to recover financially or artistically from the disaster that you helped create.

    • Submitted by george jaquith on 01/22/2014 - 04:46 am.

      An abreviated letter that was sent to Michael Henson

      Dear President Henson,

      We have no guarantees that in three years the same labor conflicts and obtuse activities may not return. For the distrust existing with the management, many of the musicians are planning to use the Orchestra as a place holder while looking else where. After concluding that the lockout engineered by Campbell, Davis and yourself was without redemption. I came to support Rep. Phyllis Kahn´s proposed bill to create community ownership of the Orchestra. I called for your resignation based on expert analysis from different circles.

      Aside from any deficit, the greatest liability to the organization´s financial and possibly artistic survival is yourself. Many patrons have written to say that you must be sent packing and that they are not inclined to donate until you are replaced. You sadly revealed poor judgement and ethical bankruptcy when you took a $200,000 bonus on top of an annual salary of $400,000 plus benefits in a declining economy. At the same time you were planning to cut wages from thirty to fifty percent. You resisted suggestions of returning the bonus. To me anyone in non profit arts management should never expect private executive level compensation. It makes a retired public school educator on a modest pension like myself repelled at the idea of giving to the endowment fund, no matter how much I deeply love classical music.

      In the negotiations you said you would take the same percentage cut as the musicians. I wrote to Ms. Pappas and the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra to see if that indeed happened but am still waiting for an answer. Your authority being deeply compromised by failed strategies, how can you even stand before the public or lead a fund drive?

      Various American presidents have said the buck stops with them. Should not the MOA President take the responsibility for this nightmare that damaged so many lives? Esteemed music industry analyst Alex Ross in the NEW YORKER (11/25/2013) concluded: ¨The swift plunge of this magnificent orchestra looks to be one of the most flagrant cases of mismanagement in the recent history of American classical music. ¨

      I trust that Board and you will reflect deeply, making in the final analysis the most morally courageous decision.

    • Submitted by Doug Gray on 01/22/2014 - 09:44 am.

      Throw in a second viola to be named later and I think we have a deal. Seriously, I think Maestro Vanska will be too expensive for this MO Board regardless of who else stays or goes.

      • Submitted by Elizabeth Erickson on 01/22/2014 - 12:54 pm.

        I think it is in the MOA’s best interest, to consider how very expensive it will turn out to be to NOT have him come back.

  2. Submitted by Arthur Horowitz on 01/21/2014 - 11:31 am.

    Let’s now work on undoing the damage

    It goes without saying Osmo Vanska must return. As for Mr. Henson, at this point, assuming he is a skilled administrator (after all why would he have been hired-certainly not for being a visionary), he could be useful in the near term in helping to restore what he has helped to tear asunder. And remember his new business model for the orchestra was commissioned by his employers, Mr. Davis, Mr. Campbell and a coterie of likeminded board members who had hijacked the board from otherwise clear thinking people. Unfortunately, Mr Henson, despite his English accent, has a way of sticking his foot in his mouth, and like Mr. Davis and Mr. Campbell has become a “Poster Boy” for the mean spirited actions that resulted in the lockout. My guess is that Mr. Henson will go away in the longer term as his actions have dictated that he should.

  3. Submitted by Barbara Burt on 01/21/2014 - 11:47 am.

    What is the goal?

    If the board’s goal is to support and strengthen a vibrant artistic endeavor with deep community ties, then the choice is clear. Being on a nonprofit board is about service–serving the organization’s mission, serving the public. It’s not about prestige, and it’s definitely not about saving face or being “right.” Maestro Vanska belongs onstage in Orchestra Hall. Perhaps Mr. Davis or Mr. Campbell can find a place for Mr. Henson in one of their banks?

  4. Submitted by Stephen Dent on 01/21/2014 - 12:29 pm.

    Henson should go

    I am not kind to Mr. Henson. He is a poor administrator and leader. I base my statement on the actions of the board and management. I, personally, will not be setting foot into the newly remodeled Orchestra Hall (I have previously been a season ticket holder and donor for two decades) until Vanska returns the the “Three Musketeers” have departed – Henson, Campbell and Davis. Their poor judgement, right wing ideology, as in breaking unions, the PR mishaps demonstrates to me that unless there is deep change in the Board and management, I will not reward the Minnesota Orchestra Association. I will continue to contribute to the SOS and Orchestrate Excellence to help the artists.

  5. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 01/21/2014 - 12:56 pm.

    PR

    After this debacle, you’d think the MOA would be a little cautious. But I got a call the other day from a professional fund raiser (someone who is paid to try to guilt people into giving money) to give above and beyond buying tickets. They really need ME to provide that extra funding after all. And considering the extra expense of the musicians (not in so many words, but close) they need so much (started with $250). The message was tainted. I didn’t give and I won’t until I see more positive direction. A good one would be to rid the MOA of certain leadership. Another one would be to have Board members volunteer their time to beg for forgiveness rather than hiring a fundraising company. I might consider giving to an appropriately contrite board member with all funds going to the Orchestra rather than a piece going to some random fund raiser. I was also told by the fund raiser that he was a professional fund raiser and that all funds would go to the Orchestra. Uh…isn’t the definition of “professional being paid to do what you do? Unless these “professional” fund raisers are doing it for free, making them volunteers, not all the money is going to the orchestra.

  6. Submitted by Richard O'Neil on 01/21/2014 - 01:12 pm.

    Oh really!

    Vanska left to further his career regardless of the fate of the other musicians who had no other alternatives. I can’t fault him for doing something most of us would do in a similar situation. He is neither hero nor villain. Can’t we agree on this? As for management, they faced a continued series of budget short-falls regardless of “world-class” performances. There were deficits because ticket sales revenue did not cover expenses. I have a hunch that sales didn’t even cover total musician salaries and benefits. I credit management for taking on this challenge and they deserve our appreciation. Will the return of Vanska change this? Will ticket sales magically increase to cover costs? I don’t think so. Perhaps Arnie Carlson’s suggestion of state funding is the only practical solution?

    • Submitted by Carl Voss on 01/21/2014 - 02:41 pm.

      Why did Vänskä leave?

      Vänskä left because he promised he would if a settlement wasn’t reached by last October. He made that promise because he believed, I think justifiably, that it had a good chance of making the management see reason and give the musicians a contract commensurate with their abilities. Had he broken the promise, he would have seemed discreditable. And had his motive been to further his career, he would have taken another job; he has not.

    • Submitted by Stephen Dent on 01/21/2014 - 03:02 pm.

      There could have been a thousand other ways…

      for the Minnesota Orchestra Association to raise funds…a thousand, without taking it out on the backs of people that really generated the revenue – the musicians. Management does not deserve our appreciation. They, in fact, deserve our scorn because they were we so short sighted, so clumsy, so retro in labor-management practices and beliefs that they drove our beloved institution – one of the finest orchestras in the world – into the pitiful state that it is currently in. And you think they deserve our appreciation? Appreciation for what?

      One element not talk about is the obvious link between what the board and management did to the musicians and the parallel to what Republicans are doing in state governments around the country – luckily, not in Minnesota. (They wreaked their havoc in 2010.) Bust unions, scale back pay, increase work load, take away benefits, act in an autocratic manner as if they ruled the world as any progressive Wisconsinite about it.

      And, one might note, the past two board presidents have been bankers. Have we forgotten the destruction of our economy and the greatest recession since the 1930’s was kicked off by bad leadership and policies in banks?

      I am all about forgiving, but not about forgetting and we should learn from our mistakes. Get rid of the “Three Musketeers” and let’s get some people who aren’t driven by ideology in positions of leadership at the MOA so we can all go back to listening to excellent live, orchestral music once again.

  7. Submitted by EP Barnes on 01/21/2014 - 01:29 pm.

    Bravo, Doug Grow!

    Right on the money here!

    Let me also add my voice to those who believe the “3 Musketeers” have to leave if there is any hope of rebuilding trust in the MOA “brand.” Nobody believes that the historical model of professional orchestra governance and performance is workable in the 21st century. However the Musketeers failed tragically in their belief that they had the One and Only vision for a new model. Saying they need to leave is not saying that change is wrong. But crafting appropriate change — one that includes fiscal responsibility AND artistic aspirations — is a job for all stakeholders to be part of, and the Musketeers have proven time and time again that they have absolutely no desire to engage any other thoughts than their own. They must go if it is possible for the MOA to move forward. I have lived my life in orchestra music and have been to almost every one of the MOMO concerts, but honestly hesitate to return to Orchestra Hall at this point because of who is continuing to call the shots.

  8. Submitted by John Toren on 01/21/2014 - 03:01 pm.

    Faulty Headline: inevitable?

    I’d only like to observe that the word “inevitable” is out of place at the top of this article. Vanska may or may not come back. His return is far from inevitable. Nor would he be difficult to replace. I believe the head-line writer meant to suggest that Vanska’s return is an essential component of the orchestra’s swift return to health and greatness. Essential? Perhaps. Inevitable. I fear not!

    • Submitted by Elizabeth Erickson on 01/21/2014 - 07:52 pm.

      Not easy to replace

      I actually do agree with you that the word “inevitable” might not have been the correct one–although I hope to God that Osmo does return. But to say that it would not be difficult to replace him—I think you are way off for a couple of reasons. I have been a Minnesota Orchestra concert goer since 1979. Each of the 3 music directors before Osmo had many fine qualities and I fell in love with the orchestra under their batons. But the audience did not have the same kind of connection with these conductors as it has with Osmo. There is a chemistry, just like in any great and strong relationship that’s hard to define—you just know it’s there. And he has it with the musicians. This is not easy to replace. The other obvious reason he will not be easy to replace is–after this disaster in which the board and CEO tried to strip the music director of artistic control, I’m thinking that perhaps top tier conductors might not want to walk into the ashes and also risk this happening again. But this is Osmo’s band. And given a chance, I think he would want to save what he has worked so hard to build. Magic does exists. You just have to listen very carefully. What we all had with Osmo and the orchestra was magical and I want it back.

    • Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 01/21/2014 - 09:02 pm.

      We’re not talking widgets here

      There is a tremendous bond between Osmo and the musicians, and between Osmo and the audience. Any other conductor would not have this essential appeal, which is badly needed to get things back to “health and greatness”. Yes, he would be very difficult to replace.

  9. Submitted by Roger Brooks on 01/21/2014 - 05:51 pm.

    I’m just your average season ticket holder, but I have followed the classical music scene since the late 50s and I have witnessed greatness stirring in Orchestra Hall over the past several seasons. This is a result of many factors, but at the top of the list is the artistic leadership of Osmo Vanska. He has led our orchestra to some kind of pinnacle which, if sustained, could put the Minnesota Orchestra in the top tier worldwide. I hope this is still a possibility. It is simply a joy to hear them play!

    But we have some problems. Writing about the Minnesota Orchestra, The New Yorker’s Alex Ross expressed this opinion: “The swift plunge of this magnificent orchestra looks to be one of the most flagrant cases of mismanagement in the recent history of American classical music.” I agree, and I think we need a housecleaning at the management level, starting with the executive leadership and the board. I’m sure that everybody involved has been acting in good faith and that they thought they were doing the right thing during the lockout. But the result has been a disaster, and we need to move on.

    I do not think it’s inevitable and the board has to make some tough decisions, but I hope that we can rebuild this cherished institution with Osmo Vanska back at the helm.

  10. Submitted by Marko Velikonja on 01/21/2014 - 06:30 pm.

    Who Would Replace Vanska?

    Another reason Osmo Vanska needs to be asked back is that I can’t imagine another conductor of comparable stature would come to Minnesota under current circumstances. He/she would be coming to the group knowing the musicians and public really wanted someone else. I often feel that all the comments about how Mr. Vanska raised the orchestra to international prominence sells short some of his great predecessors, but in the near term he needs to come back, so this terrific partnership can dig the orchestra out of the hole the MOA has dug itself.

    OTOH, I am confident that there would be no difficulty to recruit a new President/CEO of comparable stature to the incumbent, who, unlike a new music director, would walk into a very welcoming environment.

  11. Submitted by Amy Adams on 01/21/2014 - 06:51 pm.

    There is nothing Henson can bring…

    …to the Minnesota Orchestra any longer.
    The damage was bad enough. Why spend big money letting the man break a precious treasure? (For that matter, why reward him bonuses…!)
    Get an interim manager and take care of the healing. Create the conditions that might entice Osmo back.

  12. Submitted by Nick Wood on 01/22/2014 - 10:48 am.

    Kudos to Doug Grow

    For a guy who started out as a sports writer (many years ago), Doug Grow has been one of the most insightful and thoughtful commentators on this whole sorry mess with the MOA. I hope he stays with the story as the orchestra goes through the rebuilding process in the next couple of years.

    Like others, I think getting Vanska back in the fold is crucial to the rebuilding process, but I can’t imagine this will happen as long as Henson and Richard Davis remain in place. Fortunately, one of the “3 Musketeers” (Campbell) is leaving the board, but the bitterness will linger as long as the other two continue to be involved.

    • Submitted by Amy Adams on 01/23/2014 - 11:27 am.

      Agree. The Minnpost’s coverage of this story has been exemplary

      …unlike the Star Tribune, with its thinly veiled (or even barefaced) support of MOA and the board’s actions. With its publisher on the orchestra’s board of directors, I suppose one can expect bias…but it would be good if that were more generally and consistently acknowleged.

      Yes, for a good workout of one’s creative imagination – picture Michael Henson striding out on stage to welcome back the musicians. It’s difficult to conceive.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/22/2014 - 11:56 am.

    Vanska

    I am sure it would be nice to have Mr. Vanska back, but if that doesn’t happen life will go on. As Charles De Gaulle once observed, the cemeteries are full of indispensable men.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/25/2014 - 10:36 am.

    Depends

    MOA has a choice assuming it’s even interested. Regardless where you place the blame for the damage done to the orchestra, the damage is undeniable. You can try to fix it quickly and back on track towards an exceptional orchestra, or you can take a slow approach either builds the orchestra over time, or leaves it as something less than exceptional.

    I would think a quick recovery would be best if you want the best orchestra you can have. However that would be more financially challenging and more expensive than lowering the bar to a new status quo and hoping for better in the future.

    Given this management and their record, all bets are off as far as I can see. Bring Vanska back would be the best way to repair managements image and rehabilitate credibility.

    For what Hansen and Vanska get paid, I think they can get along if they have to. I’m not sure this should be converted into an ongoing demand for Hansen’s resignation or dismissal. As far as I can tell, Hansen was already pushed into a corner, I’ve actually been wondering whether or not some board memebers were more responsible for the lock-out than Hansen was. It doesn’t look like Hansen had a lot do with the negotiations but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was the lead.

  15. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/26/2014 - 09:00 am.

    Quick recovery

    There aren’t any buttons to push that would make recovery either quick or would return the orchestra to it’s former. At the moment, my guess is that they are in the shifting through the wreckage stage, with no clear idea how to start who should be in charge. This may well be the case both on the management side and the artistic side.

    With respect to management, we don’t know whether the team currently in place retains the confidence of the board or Mr. Vanska. If they don’t, the management may not be able to negotiate successfully for Vanska’s return. While I don’t view the return of Vanska as absolutely essential to the future of the orchestra, I would think it would be very difficult for a management team who cannot negotiate effectively with their star conductor can continue in place. However, if management is sacked, the question is who will take their place? Can a board without a management team in place negotiate with Vanska themselves, or find a new management team in these chaotic circumstances that could quickly gain the confidence of all the many and fractious stakeholders.

    Artistically, the orchestra has suffered losses. Who is in charge of filling the gaps? Without an artistic management in place, how can the orchestra make the kind of commitments top flight players will want? With the cuts in salaries and benefits, are they still in the market for such players?

  16. Submitted by george jaquith on 01/26/2014 - 12:26 pm.

    Mr. HENSON, please communicate with your public

    At the concerts in February, it would be appropriate for MOA members and yourself to be in the lobby to meet and greet the patrons. The musicians have already said they would be there. This would be an opportunity for you to get the pulse of the people, take questions and as necessary give apologies. Yes, you may be uncomfortable, but it is part of the healing process. You must be accountable for all the lives you have damaged, not even to mention the reputation of our august Orchestra.

    Taking a neutral position, I never said anything until Osmo´s resignation, which served as quite a wake up call. I begin reading many web sites, and the international press. Presently my investigations make me conclude that we have an MOA which, through various rule changes, no longer represents the people of the State, nor serves music as a non profit. I urge people to get behind the proposed bill of Rep. Kahn to change the governance of the Orchestra. The MOA ought to be open to any sincere person interested in promoting music, and not just those who contribute at the minimum level of 10,000 dollars.

    Thank you Doug Grow and the MN Post for getting the whole story out.

  17. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 01/27/2014 - 06:08 am.

    Henson

    Everybody has their role to play in healing the wounds. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone attending an orchestra concert is interested in seeing some otherwise unrecognizable management suit like Henson. For audience goers, the orchestra members are the the stars. Reaching out to their audience, various ways, is something they might consider doing. The folks Henson needs to reach out to are the people who gave him his orders. He needs to explain to them how the deal entered into makes satisfactory progress toward the goals that were set for him, or that he set for himself. If he wants to keep his job, he also needs to persuade his bosses that he can work effectively with the orchestra going forward.

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