Kevin Smith sets new tone at Minnesota Orchestra

Posted on: December 22, 2015

“Kevin Smith had been answering questions about himself for nearly two hours,” writes Graydon Royce in Saturday’s (12/19) Star Tribune (Minnesota). “ ‘You know, I’m really not that interesting,’ Smith said…. True: His biography contains no dramatic rags to riches arc, no galvanizing conversion experience, no mythic mentor. Yet, there is something curious about a man who decided at age 63 to forsake his retirement and take on the most difficult reclamation project in the American symphonic industry: putting the Minnesota Orchestra back on its feet…. ‘The first thing that struck me about Kevin is that every constituency respects him,’ said Jesse Rosen, president of the League of American Orchestras.… That ethic of transparent communication and respect is perhaps Smith’s greatest asset. It came into play earlier this year when he negotiated a contract extension with the players and [Music Director Osmo] Vänskä—who had quit during the lockout.… Board member Karen Bachman, who has known him for 30 years … [said] ‘There’s a lightness and absence of ego that allows him to be open to other points of view.’ ”

Posted December 22, 2015