The nervous silence maintained by the US music industry over the 10-month lockout of musicians at the Minnesota Orchestra has finally been broken.
Alan Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Festival, has used his convocation address to describe the lockout as unacceptable:
What happened, and is still happening, has no place in our art form. A strike is a very unhappy thing, but a lockout is unworthy of us all and unworthy of our beautiful profession.
He went on to say that musicians are not interchangeable:
Let’s start with one of the most wrongheaded ideas: that, since there are so many good musicians out there, the particular composition of any given orchestra doesn’t matter….. An orchestra management looking for drastic concessions that says, “Let them go, and hire musicians who will!” is making a terrible mistake.
And he lashes out at the mediocrity of certain orchestra administrations:
It is clear that some managements have made catastrophic mistakes, and some boards have supported these mistakes, instead of helping correct them. There’s no excuse for this.
You can read the speech in its entirety on NPR, here.
It may take a day or two for the significance of these comments to sink in. But now that one thoughtful US chief has spoken out, let’s hear from more. And let’s push for an end to the outrage that has occurred in Minnesota.