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Just in: Minneapolis calls town hall meeting on orchestra’s future

Ken Huber, a local pianist recently retired from Carleton College, has summoned a public forum tomorrow: musicians for minn

Dear All,

Please excuse this mass email as this is not usually my style. But I wanted to alert you to a huge Community Forum that I will be partially hosting in Minneapolis this Tuesday evening, August 20, at 6:30 pm CDT. It is sponsored by Orchestrate Excellence, a coalition of Twin Cities citizens who came together in December to try to bring the voice of the community to the very difficult situation facing our world-class Minnesota Orchestra, which has been locked out by management for 11 months. It is indeed a most difficult and trying situation and has garnered the attention of the media and music lovers from around the world. There is still no glimpse of negotiations going on though George Mitchell is trying to bring both sides together as I write to try to come up with terms to begin talks.

My committee is hosting a Community Forum to bring citizens together to try to weigh in on the future. Through my efforts we have secured Dr. Alan Fletcher, the President and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School to be our Keynote Speaker. I shall also be giving opening remarks and introducing Dr. Fletcher, who will be interviewed on The Daily Circuit on MPR ( the news show which is streamed on line on Tuesday from 9 AM-noon CDT should you be interested.

You can also watch a live stream of this Forum if you log on to about 6:25 pm CDT that evening, Tuesday. And as I understand it, it will be available for viewing at that website for a week or two after.

So please take advantage of this opportunity to hear Yours Truly speak and moreover to hear Alan Fletcher’s address about one of the most difficult situations facing the cultural life of this nation. He promises to bring a very tough but optimistic message.

Let me know if you have questions, although as Chair of this Forum, life around here is like Grand Central Station, as you can imagine!


Thanks and stay tuned,

Ken Huber

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  1. R. James Tobin says:

    So WHERE is this huge forum to be held?

    According to the Orchestrate Excellence website the forum is taking place at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Avenue South, Minneapolis from 6:30-8:30.

  3. At Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1200 Marquette Ave. S., Minneapolis.

    More information:

    This event has been planned for a few weeks; this is not a “sudden” calling of an event.

  4. James Brinton says:

    Judging by the comments, likes, and dislikes here and in the Minnesota papers, sentiment is with the musicians.
    I hope the forum reflects that.
    I must admit, though, that given some of the statements coming out of board members (and members of the San Francisco board during that orchestra’s time of trouble–e.g., replacing musicians with high school band members) I think the class of individual we are dealing with here is not only ignorant of music, but ignorant of the proper way to manage a non-profit cultural asset.
    The more I think about this, the less I think it’s a matter of finding agreement than of ejecting the barbarians and bullies from the board.

  5. PK Miller says:

    I hope it does some good. We assume you will keep us posted, Norman. I am, alas, beyond hope of “happy ending.” Negotiations are a two-way street. If the orchestra was, indeed, in dire financial straits, management should have been candid w/the orchestra members, worked w/them as PARTNERS. This whole thing stinks worse than a cesspool. I am, of course, no fan of unions. But this is the shabbiest way to treat people. The children have taken over the kindergarten if not the inmates the asylum, the latter probably being horribly poli8tically incorrect but, if you’ll pardon a hoary cliché, frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn!

  6. We have two orchestras about to collapse here in England, and that’s without any management problems or orchestral players refusing to play or allowed to play or whatever. This is simply through a genuine lack of money. Be interested to see what the outcome is.

    • Jack Becker says:

      The Brighton Philharmonic was “saved,” and the Lancashire Sinfonietta have only been around for 17 years and have largely thought of themselves as a music education organisation; something Lancashire’s academic community already provides. I think if they wanted to save the group they would do well to reestablish themselves as members of education and get more government funding.

  7. Rolf Erdahl says:

    In Minnesota, we have 100 years of empirical proof that the community has the will and means to support a world-class Minnesota Orchestra. For the last 50 Years, we also saw fit, in addition, to support one of the world’s premiere chamber orchestras, the SPCO. It’s not about the money. The conflict is about competing views of what kind or orchestra we want to have going forward.

    For those who want to attend the forum, streamed live, via The UpTake, here’s the link.

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