Making the case for two orchestras in the Twin Cities

Posted on: August 28, 2012

Monday (8/27) on the Minnesota Public Radio website, Euan Kerr writes, “Both the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are in the middle of negotiating new contracts with their musicians. Both organizations face multi-million dollar deficits, and no one involved in the talks expects quick resolution. But even as the bargaining proceeds, some people are asking whether Minnesota needs two world-class orchestras. It seems like a simple enough question to answer, depending on how one feels about classical music. But it’s more complicated than that. … The Minnesota Orchestra began life as the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra in 1903, and now enjoys the reputation of being among the world’s greatest. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra launched in 1959 with the specific mission of performing chamber music, a repertoire written for a small ensemble, usually with only one musician to a part. … The two orchestras have very different sounds, and they don’t see each other as competition. … ‘It’s one of our best competitive advantages as a metro area,’ said Joe Spencer, director of arts and culture in St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s office. … No one involved in the talks denies the difficult financial issues facing the orchestras. The disputes are over how to resolve them in the short and long term. The contracts for both orchestras expire at the end of September.”

Posted August 28, 2012