The sound of music in the Twin Cities

The University has a role in developing strong relationships in the arts community.

Editorial board

 

Last Monday, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra ended a 191-day lockout when musicians agreed to the latest terms set forth by management. The Star Tribune reported April 30 that the details of the new contract agreed upon include a nearly 19 percent pay decrease for musicians and the cutting of six full-time positions in the ensemble from 34 to 28.

The lockout resulted in the cancellation of about 80 concerts, and the relationship between musicians and management remains understandably strained.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Orchestra is now in its eighth month of lockout, and no sign of progress in negotiation efforts has been made since January.

Both of these lockouts have become embarrassing sores on the face of the Twin Cities’ arts scene. Our reputation as a world class arts hub has been soured and not only have our nationally renowned professional musicians felt mistreated, but students at the University of Minnesota and across the state who study music are discouraged as well.

In these circumstances, the University can play a role. If we are truly invested in the career choices of each University student, we should commit to forming stronger and more supportive relationships within the arts community as we have done with various medical and biotechnology firms. The future livelihoods — and thus the educational experience — of music students should not be treated with any less significance than those of equally talented science and engineering undergraduates. We owe it to all students to establish the best career networking opportunities we can provide.