Lutman: Orchestras and the meaning of “place” in Minnesota

Posted on: March 5, 2014

“With the Minnesota Orchestra lockout over and with musicians and audiences re-united in the newly renovated Orchestra Hall, there is a lot conversation in our cities about what sort of orchestra we have and what’s needed for its long-term vitality,” writes Sarah Lutman in a Tuesday (3/4) post at her ArtsJournal blog Speaker. (Lutman, a Twin Cities-based independent consultant, was president and managing director of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 2008 to 2012.) “What if we asked the question, what would a uniquely Minnesotan orchestra look like, and what sorts of things would it do? … the answer to the question of place is different here in Minnesota from what the answer will be in San Francisco, New York, or Atlanta.… You are now hoping that I will prescribe the answers…. But discovering your place is not about prescriptions; it is about empathy and listening.… If I were going to push the re-set button at our great orchestra, I would suggest a series of deep listening sessions all around the state, to ask the people themselves what sort of orchestra they envision and what they are able to do to help make that happen. Ask them what it would look like if the orchestra were Minnesotan. I promise you, their answers will be astonishing and inspiring, and will point the way forward.”

Posted March 5, 2014