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Minnesota loses another soaring star

Gina DiBello, principal 2nd violin of the Adminnesota Orchestra, has won an audition to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra.


She is part of a swelling exodus of musicians who have fled the state during the present endless lockout. By the time Michael Henson and his board are done with demolition, there won’t be many left.

Reminds me of the old Soviet-era joke:

What’s the Leningrad String Quartet?

It’s the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra returning from a tour of the West.

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  1. Steve Wogaman says:

    Strike or no strike, Boston is a step up for Gina.

    No doubt the runner up in Boston (and the second runner up, third runner up, fourth runner up, etc.) will be auditioning for Gina’s position.

    Sadly, it’s a buyer’s market.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      I disagree. For top level violin talent it’s a seller’s market; and no one will be auditioning for MOA until the current mess is settled. Those runners-up would be wise to avoid locked-out orchestras even after the lockout ends.

      • Wouldn’t the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) give a stink about it anyway? No one will be auditioning unless they wanted to be considered a “scab”?

    • Michael Adams says:

      Sorry Steve.
      T’aint so. She’d rather have stayed here w us in the Mn Orch had the board not embarked on their current self destructive course.

    • Elizabeth Erickson says:

      I seriously doubt that the runner up will shoot for Gina’s position. Who in their right mind would come to Minnesota? The management has taken care of completely wiping the Minnesota Orchestra off the map as a destination for fine talent. It will take years if not decades to repair the damage.

      • Amy Adams says:

        Experienced professionals lining up to audition for Minnesota in the near future…I don’t see that happening, except in denial-fueled fantasies. It will take years of work to repair the damage done.

  2. Steve, you may be right. On the other hand. . .

    I don’t know Gina, but maybe she really liked living in Minneapolis, had family there, had put down roots, whatever. Maybe she had hoped never to take another orchestra audition and would have happily stayed in MO. After all, lots of first-rate players chose just that.

    And I don’t know the runners up for the Boston job, but quite likely they already have orchestra jobs and won’t want to audition for her old position in MO, given that it’s such a toxic place. Even someone without a job at all won’t be going to Minneapolis/St. Paul any time soon, with no orchestral music at all happening there right now.

    Then there’s the period of adjustment for the new principal (again, we’re assuming the MO is playing again) with the music director, the other principals, and the section.

    These issues aside, the point of the article is that the management and board are gratuitously damaging the MO.

  3. Maybe they’re thinking like school boards. Get rid of all the long-term, most-times incredible out of the box thinking educators, and hire kids just out of school. Save money.

  4. Sadly in my opinion Mr. Wogaman misses a main point. Ms. DiBello will be missed in Minnesota. She takes with her all her experiences and expertise, something not all new players on the audition scene have.

  5. Amy Adams says:

    @Steve Wogaman…the musicians are locked out, not on strike. The terms are not interchangeable, and it contributes to public misunderstanding of management’s actions, and the position in which they placed the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.

  6. Paul D. Sullivan, Boston US says:

    I’ll look forward to seeing Ms. DiBello at Symphony Hall when she comes here to Boston.

    Sad times indeed for MO’s concert goers and supporter’s. They are the real losers in this whole mess.

  7. It is crucial the public understand the difference between a lockout and a strike. A lockout is an hostile act on part of management. It prevents workers from reporting for work. . A strike is called when nothing else will move contract talks forward. Workers do not call strikes lightly. It is a last resort when all else including mediation fails.

  8. Reggie Benstein says:

    He’s a self-proclaimed music lover but can’t tell the difference between a high school student and a seasoned orchestral musician?

    Wouldn’t trust this guy with my money, that’s for sure ……

  9. Get rid of Henson he was a boring CEO in Bournemouth before I retired and we did nothing exciting during his tenure. Like Tony Woodcock before him he is now destroying the US music scene

    • Amy Adams says:

      Would you please take him back? Surely there’s some benign placement for a former CEO.

  10. I would generally agree that moving from a titled position in Minnesota to an equivalent position in Boston would be a step up that someone would probably take even with no lockout. But moving from a titled to a section position probably wouldn’t. Mr. Lebrecht doesn’t indicate what position she won in Boston. Makes a difference to the validity of the narrative.

  11. We in Tonhalle-Orchester Z├╝rich now have a player who escaped the Minnesota Orchestra┬┤s lock out.

    • Amy Adams says:

      Bless you for being there for him and his family….Minnesota’s loss is your gain.

  12. Such stories offer quiet proof that musicians who are able win auditions for such positions do indeed possess rare skills on a rarefied level. Otherwise one of the frequently-cited “excess musicians” “churned out” by “top conservatories” would have won the Boston audition.
    All applicants are created equal behind the first-round curtain, after all.

  13. Daniel Polowetzky says:

    I would imagine that young members of the MO have in the back of their minds the idea of auditioning for orchestras in major cities regardless of the labor situation in the MO. A position in the Boston Symphony is a move up for anyone.
    Benefits: Boston, the East Coast….

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is three titled violinists that have left MO in the last 1-1 1/2 years. Horrifying. Incredible that management doesn’t take this exodus of leadership seriously.

    I’m curious–SPCO received a new contract offer which, while still not great, is an improvement from their previous offer. I wonder if this fact, plus Gina’s audition victory, will put pressure on MO management to make a new offer.

    • Amy Adams says:

      That would be great…but no, they don’t seem to value the specific musicians that belong to (what’s left of) the Minnesota Orchestra. A player is a player…aren’t there hundreds of willing and grateful musicians who’d be HONORED to work for this deceptive management in its world-class lobby?
      I understand the board resents being “vilified” …but they actually hold the power in their hands to do something about it. They do. They won’t use it…but they do. And more musicians will leave, and the line to replace them (by qualified peers) is not exactly stretching around the corner…

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