Opinion: Facing facts about the Minnesota Orchestra

Posted on: September 12, 2013

In an opinion article in Wednesday’s (9/11) Minnesota Star-Tribune, Bruce Ridge, chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, responds to a recent story in the newspaper about the negotiations between the Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians: “In a Sept. 4 article in the Star Tribune, Minnesota Orchestra Board Chairman Jon Campbell was quoted as saying, ‘We’re the only city supporting two professional orchestras.’ Campbell’s assertion is simply and indisputably wrong.… And now, the Star Tribune Editorial Board has joined in, repeating management’s inaccurate rhetoric that leaves musicians and fans everywhere scratching our heads. The assumptions appear to be that the orchestra is unsustainable and fundraising unachievable. But to believe that, numerous facts must be ignored. The editors state: ‘The sad truth is that times have changed for classical music. Its business model is under stress worldwide.…’ Let’s explore the truth with facts.… Numerous orchestras have seen increased attendance and record fundraising. The true story to be told is how well orchestras have weathered the recession, demonstrating once again the viability of our nation’s artistic organizations.… The good news is that a solution is at hand this very day. One of America’s most respected citizens, Sen. George Mitchell, has graciously provided a solution that has been accepted by the musicians. It would simply be folly for the board to continue to ignore the wisdom of this great man, especially when he was their choice for mediator in the first place. Let the musicians return to the stage.”

Posted September 12, 2013