Response to Minnesota Orchestra column

The writer’s assertion that it’s too bad (though understandable) that the orchestra musicians weren’t willing to take less pay to perform is misrepresentative of what actually occurred. The reason the players need to keep the salaries higher is to remain a top-tier orchestra and attract the best musicians to save the orchestra.

Furthermore, the issue wasn’t only about pay — the board wanted too much control and wasn’t willing to negotiate in good faith, even disregarding former Sen. George Mitchell’s proposals, such as deciding which musicians to hire, what music would be played, etc. Moreover, they raised millions of dollars to build a new venue to play in but apparently wanted the players conveniently locked out — saving them money — while this building was going on.

I don’t like to rehash the whole matter particularly, as the worst board offenders are now gone, but there is new leadership in management and Kevin Smith is great. Now, the community, musicians and board are finally working together, with the orchestra sounding fantastic.