Minnesota Orchestra in the news

Posted on: February 10, 2014

In Saturday’s (2/8) New York Times, James Oestreich writes that on Friday night, in its first concert after a sixteen-month lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra “did itself proud, against long odds.… Of the 89 players on stage, only 55 were full-time musicians of the orchestra, the other members being widely dispersed, on leave or fulfilling engagements taken on during the lockout; 34 were substitutes. Clearly, a wizardly and respected veteran was needed to pull these motley troops together in a few days of rehearsal, and happily, one was at hand: the orchestra’s beloved 90-year-old laureate maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra from 1960 to 1979.… The program stuck to basics: Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony, Strauss’s ‘Don Juan’ and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, in Mr. Skrowaczewski’s own arrangement…. At the start, the players took the stage European-style, as a unit rather than individually, and were greeted with a full-minute standing ovation.… The point of the evening was to celebrate the orchestra as a whole, and to all, welcome back indeed.”

In Sunday’s (2/9) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce reports, “After a homecoming concert Friday at Orchestra Hall, musicians and board members were met Saturday with the first direct comments from former music Director Osmo Vänskä on the state of his old orchestra. Speaking with classical music host Brian Newhouse of Minnesota Public Radio, Vänskä reportedly said, ‘For any healing to begin at the orchestra, [Executive Director] Michael Henson must go.’ … ‘We are surprised Osmo chose to register his comments with the news media when those conversations belong within the Orchestral Association,’ Gordon Sprenger, new board chair of the orchestra, said in a statement Saturday night.… Vänskä did not return phone calls Saturday. Henson, through a representative, declined to comment, and a spokesperson for the musicians had no comment.… Vänskä, who became music director in 2003, resigned in October to protest the failure of the board and musicians to reach a new contract.”

Posted February 10, 2014

Photo of Minnesota Orchestra by Jenn Ackerman / The NewYorkTimes