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Just in: Minnesota board reject mediator George Mitchell’s move

A proposal by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell that the Minnesota Orchestra end its 11-month lockout of musicians while negotiations are held to end the dispute has been shot down by the hardline board and management.

Mitchell, the former Northern Ireland and Middle East peace negotiator, had been seeking a way to avoid the threatened resignation of music director Osmo Vanska if the orchestra are not back in their seats by the second week of next month.

The musicians had previously accepted Mitchell’s proposal.

A source close to the board say they would be unbothered by Vanska’s departure.


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  1. If the board would not be upset at the departure of Mr. Vanska, they have truly lost their marbles…:-0

  2. Samuel Adler says:

    Of course they’re going to reject it. How many different ways can the orchestra say they don’t have any more money to pay the musicians what they want?
    Glorified mediator or not, I don’t see this ending well.

    • No “orchestra” without the musicians.

    • Joe Hazlett says:

      $140 million endowment = have no more money to pay the musicians? Only a handful of orchestras have a larger endowments then the MO. The Minnesota Orchestra is a gem for our community. I think it would be better to retain the Gem, even at the cost of the endowment. The orchestra ran $12 million deficits during the worst 2 years of the worst recession in almost a century. Perhaps, pay cuts are expected, but not 35 to 45% pay cuts. Then we will get what we have with our Minnesota twins. year after year 100 game losers. unwilling to pay for their talent and watching it all go away.

      • The Minnesota Orchestra’s endowment is on par with some other major orchestras. Song of the Lark did an extensive analysis of this awhile back. However, this is all but meaningless without placing it in the context of the orchestras’ operating budgets. Chicago, the orchestra that seems to most often comes up when doing comparisons, has a somewhat larger endowment but approximately twice the operating budget (approx. 65M v. 30M). Unless Chicago’s rate of return is signifacantly higher, they are making up the difference through tens of millions of dollars in donations they feel they can count on year after year that the MO does not get.

        I find your comparison to the Minneostra Twins particularly apt. The Twins occasionally have really good seasons and All-Star players. However, as with orchestras, there is no salary cap in baseball and if the Yankess want to “buy” our players they can. Twins ownership has made the decision to try to be competitive with a low total salary. The MO board has made an analogous decision. But they do not ultimately decide how much money there is to spend, the donors to the orchestra do. As of right now, the donors are not willing to pay to maintain the level of excellence the MO has attained. The musicians have said as much, though usually in an (understandably) inversted way such as “We just don’t believe that our amazing community of ticket buyers and donors is not willing to pay for great music.”

        So, the question becomes: Is the Minnesota Orchestra doing everything it can to maximize donations and more specifically significant (7-8 figures) donations? If it is, the MO may have just passed through its golden age. If it isn’t, that is obvioulsy a problem that needs fixing.

        • Kyle, the question, as you pose it in your final paragraph, presupposes that Minnesota Orchestra management is acting in good faith. Their behavior over the past ten months indicates that they are not.

    • If this is Sam Adler the composer, your music will never sound the same to me again.

    • R. James Tobin says:

      With a Board attitude like this I don’t see it ending at all. And from here I don’t see any interest in the artistic side of the problem from the Board, either. They seem to care only about the money. But if money were the only issue then negotiations would be possible. The Board doesn’t show any interest in negotiations at all. Even Israel and the PLO seem ready at least to pretend to negotiate!

      • Er, but that’s because it does boil down to cash. If there’s only X per year coming in, then you’ve got to pay people a total that fits within X, not more. If you had a board who ignored that and ran the orchestra into financial ruin whilst handing out ever bigger cheques to the players, you’d be shouting for the board’s heads for -not- watching the money, right?

        • R. James Tobin says:

          Paying for the music is one of the board’s responsibilities but providing the MUSIC is primary. Shutting down the orchestra repudiates that responsibility. Labor negotiations are hard but the board is not even trying.

          • You nailed it.
            (Unless you count having their feet on the necks of the musicians. That takes some real dedication to one’s ideals, you must admit.)

          • I agree with the need to negotiate. But the bottom line remains. You’d rather the board provided a bit of music in the here and now if they felt that could mean losing the last of the cash and totally eradicating the orchestra? The current situation could be a hiatus in history if it goes right, and that’s better than extinction.

  3. So he can bring peace to Northern Ireland, but the Minnesota Orchestra is a bridge too far.

    • Well said.

      Most people have no understanding of the grave differences between NI and free Ireland. One is the land of guns and bombs, the other the land of leprechauns and shamrocks.

      With Sen. Mitchell’s skills and experience, this may not be over yet…

  4. James Brinton says:

    The board has turned this into a penis-measuring contest.
    The mediator’s proposal was quite modest and rational.

    • If your reply wasn’t in bad taste, it would be hilarious.

      What if the board is, in its own awkward way, trying to do what they consider best in the long run? I find it hard to believe that educated people would just be pig-headed, as they say, for no good reason. That is not to make excuses, just to wonder if there is more going on than everyone has been told.

      • Bad taste, as in characterizing “free Ireland” as the “land of leprechauns and shamrocks”?

        • Did I mention a body part?

          Seriously, when your father calls you every year, the evening before St. Patrick’s Day, (the clan is from Belfast) to get you to promise yet again you will wear orange and not green, one can tend to show a tad of sarcasm every now and then toward the lush and lovely — and free–SI. :-0

          • Well, Pamela, not everyone agrees that penises are in bad taste.
            (Some even think they taste good, or so I hear.)

            “when your father calls you every year, the evening before St. Patrick’s Day, (the clan is from Belfast) to get you to promise yet again you will wear orange and not green,”

            Dear God, are you serious?

      • tom foley says:

        Dear Ms. Brown,

        This board has refused to address the public and openly discuss the situation. This being so, we can only judge them by their actions.

        • In that light, could one not say the board has behaved in such a way as to try to protect the MO endowment and trim expenses while paving the way for a sustainable future for the ‘orchestra’. :-0

          • I believe that the board believes that

          • And that’s seems to be a big stumbling block. The fact that the players are making demands to give them access to financial information seems to be contributing to their digging in on this position.

  5. He failed in the Middle East, what makes him think he’ll do better in Minnesota?

  6. No point having a conductor whoever he or she is if the musicians are unwilling to play because they’re not paid enough money. If there’s no more money, how is the orchestra supposed to find it? And in America of all places where there is so much philanthropy which we don’t have in England and further East you go. Everyone and particularly singers and all kinds of classical musicians have had to tighten their belts in our country, and I certainly haven’t had a pay rise for years as a solo singer. They can only pay what they have. There just isn’t enough money around in today’s world unless you are a celebrity of some sort. The Eastern world from Eastern Europe to Taiwan will happily come in and play for less, and very well too. After all they are the ones over here in our music colleges, pushing the boundaries of technique. We all need money to live on and we have all spent years perfecting our voice or instrument, and should be recompensed accordingly, but that’s not the economics of today. It is terrible that an American orchestra will fall like this,and leave a whole bunch of players – not all but most with no work at all. That’s the reality, and they may all end up working for far less in a supermarket or a restaurant, unless they are lucky to find a teaching post! Sorry to sound so pessamistic but seen it all before.

    • Minnesota IS in America, NOT Great Britain. We, the audiences and musicians, don’t want our orchestras to operate like those in GB. The system in GB Sucks! We Americans don’t aspire to be like Brits!

    • The MOA managed to spend nearly $14 million this past season without putting on any concerts. There IS money, and more can be found. It’s more about total absolute control – that and oversized egos on mediocre managers.

    • “No point having a conductor whoever he or she is if the musicians are unwilling to play because they’re not paid enough money.”

      Una, you do know, don’t you, that this is not a strike? The musicians are willing to play. This is a lockout by management.

      As for there not being enough money, the musicians have asked repeatedly for an independent auditor to review the Minnesota Orchestra Association’s accounts so as to determine how much money there really is. Management – the same management that was caught having lied to the Minnesota state legislature about the orchestra’s finances a couple of years ago – has consistently refused.

      Yes, there are a number of orchestras in trouble because the musicians want more pay than their community seems willing or able to provide. Minnesota is not one of those cases.

      • You’re right. It is a lockout. I constantly correct people regarding this point. However, if the musicians were not locked out they would have gone on strike. No question about it. I have often wondered if the board wishes they had let the musicians go on strike and if that would change any of the casually interested public’s perception of the situation.

        I’m sure you know that the state auditor exonerated the MO’s numbers. They told a carefully cultivated version of the truth as pretty much everyone does. As a citizen of MN it irks me that after the fact a bunch of representatives put on a dog and pony show (without question wasting state resources) rather than actually looking at the MO’s publicly available financial information before voting to approve bonding money. Or simply asking “Your organization depends largely on its endowment. How’s that going?”

        Also, when people write that the MO lied to make their finances look better they are defacto saying that MO was losing money years in advance of this contract (non)negotiation. You can’t have it both ways.

        There have been two independent audits conducted. The first was the annual audit. The additional audit was not agreeable to the musicians because management refused to broaden the scope to include artistic matters in additional to financial. The firm used had been acceptable to both sides.

    • tom foley says:

      The Minnesota orchestra currently has an endowment somewhere between 140 and 170 million dollars. That’s a lot of money. That’s right up there with many American orchestras that are doing very well, that have given modest raises to their players, and have not engaged in lock outs.

      Further, in the midst of the past recession, the MOA board raised enough money to refurbish the lobby of Orchestra Hall at a cost of 52 million dollars. That’s $52,000,000.00 raised and spent during the worst recession in memory.

      It’s not about money.

      • Tom, if I recall rightly, the $52m was raised specifically for the purpose of, and expenditure of it ringfenced towards that lobby. That sum, whether it’s $1, $52, or $52m has little to do with the current situation (and if any board had decided to hell with promises and ring fencing, we’ll spend the cash elsewhere, I imagine many here would be the first to criticise).

  7. PS

    Just seen this on Norman’s post, and the musicians are not even complaining, just plain scared they might not have a job after next Monday.

    UK orchestra needs £10,000 more to avoid disbandment

    August 17, 2013 by Norman Lebrecht Leave a Comment

    The Brighton Philharmonic, which has suspended payments to players, says it has raised £60,000 of the £70k needed to avoid insolvency. Upbeat report here. The board will meet on Monday to decide whether the company can continue.

  8. Privatization in the banking sector and of community assets like the MSO has created a mess for the U.S. economy and the nation’s municipalities. So, there is nothing wrong with using Eminent Domain and in the present environment assigning low values to the assets at issue here. (It was not so many years ago that Eminent Domain was used to take over a large neighborhood in Bridgeport, Conn which was then transferred to private developers on the theory that the improvement of the economic health of that city by the private sector, was a “public benefit”. In that case the process was perverted in a series of back room deals and by an inflexible plan that failed to recognize the small property owner, while here it would be entirely in keeping with the public benefit purpose of a Constitutional taking.) In the case of the banks, they and the looting of them by top management and losses in risky trades, are already subsidized by billions of taxpayer money, so better to take them over and retain the best of their management while dumping the bloodsuckers at the top. Just the viable threat, or serious public discussion of it, might make Wells Fargo and US Bancorp which seem to dominate the MOA Board more amenable to bargaining. Alternatively, look at the mechanics of the ownership of the new concert hall and, since (apart from the MOA brand which really means nothing without its musicians) that seems to be what they consider their crown jewel, exercise eminent domain over that. This may sound like pie in the sky, and we may have been indoctrinated with the notion that public institutions are inefficient but private ones are often turn out to be less efficient when one audits their operations and financials, counts the welfare they receive, and recognize the control they exercise over the government and the economy to stay solvent, to the detriment of the great majority of the public.

  9. Tom Gossard says:

    Whoever had the bright idea of appointing George Mitchell in the first place has earned h(im)erself the booby prize.

  10. John Colvin says:

    Michael Henson was Chief Executive of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra before, some years ago, he made the move to Minnesota. I recall him saying at the time that the decision to cross the pond was a difficult one.

    The BSO’s home in Poole, the Lighthouse, holds only 1,250 so the orchestra runs on a tight budget. With the benefit of hindsight, Mr Henson must see his old Dorset job as a doddle compared with the unenviable situation which he now faces in Minnesota!

  11. Anonymous says:

    The MO board will only engage in negotiations if the outcome is predetermined, as in Sen. Mitchell’s first proposal. There can be no doubt that the MO board will refuse any play-and-talk windows, as this will pad the musicians’ coffers and make it harder to bring them to their knees.

    There can also be no doubt that the board would rejoice at the news of Vanska’s departure, as they no doubt rejoice with the news of each departing player (particularly principals). With the musical leadership gone, they surely hope to fracture the resolve of the remaining players.

    • That is an interesting insight — nothing else matters but bringing the players to their knees?

      Do you see this as a strategy applying only to the MO or as the mandate orchestral management intends to use from now on?

      It is utterly ironic, considering what happened to me in regards to a handful of the players some years ago.

      • “Do you see this as a strategy applying only to the MO or as the mandate orchestral management intends to use from now on?”

        Pamela, do you mean orchestral management everywhere (or at least everywhere in the US)?

        Fortunately, it seems clear that there remain some symphony orchestra boards in the US whose primary concern is maintaining a good orchestra.

        The Minnesota Orchestra honchos seem bent on their idea of reinventing the orchestra business model.

        • And what they’ve become is an example of what not to do and where not to go. “Pulling a Minnesota” has entered the negotiating lexicon.

        • They are attempting to change their business model. That is what this is all about.

          We all know that spending far more than you can possibly earn while relying on donations is a pretty bad model. Yet it has worked. Of course saving Nashville from their unbelievably irresponsible actions took many tens of millions from one donor. That’s scary. MO used to have Ken Dayton who, among many other things, saved the European tour that was a precondition of Vänskä’s tenure. They don’t seem to have that person now. So maybe they do need to change the business model. I do not know if they need to or not, but there is certainly a great cost in saving money.

        • “Pamela, do you mean orchestral management everywhere (or at least everywhere in the US)?”

          Yes, in the US. There seems a dire possibility that whatever management can do here to bring the players to their knees and try to keep them there could become the norm from now on.

  12. David Chickering says:

    A member of any board who would admit to being unbothered by Vanska’s departure is someone who should not be on ANY board….ANYWHERE! We’ve just experienced him for the first time here in New Zealand. He is a revelation and should be appreciated for the fine musician/conductor he is. There is a part of me that wishes he were free to pursue other opportunities but I also feel his heart is in Minneapolis. Your orchestra deserves him!

    • I fear Osmo will be free to pursue other opportunities soon enough.

      It’s too bad, because he had indicated a number of times over the years that his heart really is in Minnesota (perhaps because it’s the Nordic peoples’ redoubt in the New World?) and that, rather than moving himself up from Minnesota to a top-tier orchestra, he wanted to lead the Minnesota Orchestra into the top tier.

  13. PK Miller says:

    Well, kids, I have reached the point where I no longer believe this to be a 50/50 proposition. Who comprises this board: House Republicans??? I have never seen such intransigence–and stupidity. I guess their aim right along has been to end this orchestra as it now stands & hire all new non-union replacements, people of far less quality than the current members–who knows junior high school players–no wait–that would insult the Jr. high kids. Who knows–maybe they’ll resurrect Tiny Tim to be the new orchestra’s Music Director. I cannot imagine any capable, professional musician taking the job.

    Obviously what the Board has wanted since day one is to dissolve the orchestra as it is constituted and they will stop at nothing to achieve that aim. But woe betide any musicians who accept an offer to be part of a reconstituted Minnesota Orchestra. (Or Music Director). You too can be history without notice.

    Shame on the orchestra board. And you all may break out the wet noodle because pig-headed moi refused to see the situation for what it was. it was NEVER a 2-sided affair. The Board has nullified every legitimate attempt not just at mediation but good faith offers/bargaining.

    • I agree. The board seems weirdly intransigent. They may well be the only segment of society that thinks Michael Henson has a future in the orchestral industry.
      Should Osmo abandon ship, I predict Henson crowns himself Artistic Director, at least in the interim…and just hires random unknown guest conductors from the (short) list of people that might agree to such work.

  14. Rolf Erdahl says:

    It’s not about the money. Here in Minnesota we have over 100 years of empirical evidence that the people of the state, from farmers, teachers, and shopkeepers to railroad barons, financiers, and Fortune 500 companies, are willing to give all sorts of support for the Minnesota Orchestra (plus over 50 years of additional proven support for the SPCO). Any short-term present financial crisis, whether due to manufacture, misfortune, or mistakes, should only be seen as a bump in the road that should easily be overcome in short order.

    The anomaly is having people in charge of these organizations for the past handful of years that either don’t believe in that, or are pursuing separate agendas that have no use for funding world-class orchestras or their historical mission to serve, engage, educate, and uplift the community with great music.

    There is no precedent for success, and lots of precedent for disaster (Honolulu, Columbus, Louisville) for the course being followed by those in power over the fate of Minnesota’s orchestras.

    • “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”
      Mark Twain

      Of course it is about the money, but If by “it’s not about the money” you mean to say that the money required to solve this problem exists within the community (if in the hands of a select few), then I agree with you. Your assertion that this problem “should easily be overcome in short order” is more perplexing. Talks have been (not) going on for more than a year. That ship seems to have sailed long ago.

  15. Well if the MO can’t resolve the issue and Osmo Vanska goes, I wish the Boston Symphony post was still open for him. However it is not.

  16. Reading the proposal, I might have to wonder why Sen. Mitchell would agree to anything connected to “play-and-talk” when the board has already balked at that more than once. If that were taken off the table, as a show of ‘faith’, (regardless of the fact that it is logical) might that create an opening for actual dialogue?

    • The musicians have repeatedly said they will not negotiate terms of a contract while the lockout persists. “Play-and-talk” is their current line in the sand.

      • Agreed. But ‘play-and-talk’ seems to be a big red flag to the board. I wonder what the board would do with a proposal that didn’t include it.

  17. It seems to me that the goal of the board is to let the orchestra twist in the wind until it’s small enough to combine with the remnants of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, making a new, non-union ensemble. Busting the union has been the only reason for this whole sad farce.

    • Both orchestras are currently union. But agree there is definitely an agenda in place.

    • The contract that has been offered to the musicians does significantly curtail some union powers, and that is a fair point of criticism. However, union membership is required. It is far more likely there will be no Minnesota Orchestra than a non-union Minnesotra Orchestra.

      As to a combined MN Orch and SPCO: SPCO has ratified a union contract (such as it is)-so no. Also, I don’t know it you are from the Twin Cities but many people from St. Paul are for some reason loath to cross the river into Minneapolis. The cultures can be very different. Threatening the combination may have been a great way to open St. Paul donor’s wallets.

    • Bassman, you’re right. The upcoming SPCO concerts will likely have so many MO musicians featured that it’ll simply prove their point: the Twin Cities orchestras can be interchangeble. It’s streamlined…sleek…cost-effective! Next up, football and hockey…Why pay for both?

  18. I spent a few minutes at to review the IRA 990 tax forms the orchestra filed in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and after having seen them, I can understand the board’s sense of alarm. For instance, in 2011, the orchestra’s fundraising events lost more than they produced, Mr. Vanska’s 7-figure income represented one-fifth of the orchestra’s entire annual profit, and the first horn, trombone, and clarinet musicians collected more than $200,000 per year for what is admittedly part-time work. Add to that, the 25% decline in revenues from the previous year, and the intractable position of the musicians with respect to accepting pay cuts that would bring its degree of shared pain in line with that of the people who pay money to come to hear them perform, and the board’s apparent flippancy begins to seem less flippant.

    The board had put a proposal on the table some time ago, but the musicians’ union, which negotiates for all musicians in all major orchestras across the country) never responded, forcing the lockout. The board in its public pronouncements has made it clear that it wishes to negotiate, but the union has made it clear that it doesn’t wish to speak at all.

    Insofar as the board not being concerned if Mr. Vanska left, it has to be borne in mind that there are quite literally more conductors available than at which one can shake a baton. They are masterful, talented, inspiring, and all the other adjectives that are thrown in the direction of a currently sitting conductor, and they are almost always available for far less money than that commanded by a conductor under a multi-year contract. This is not to say that Mr. Vanska’s departure would not represent a real loss for the orchestra since it is not any individual that “makes” an orchestra but rather the synergy of all involved that yields a world class organization. His catalytic presence in the orchestra is measurable, but it is also not irreplaceable.

    The real problem with the orchestra in Minneapolis and in every other location around the country is the increasing irrelevance of classical music to the general population and the increasing intolerance of classical musicians and aficionados of interpretations of classical repertoire that deviate from the generally accepted standards. I find this to be a curious and deleterious trend that goes counter to the musical adventurism of legends of the past such as Leopold Stokowski. Some accused him of pandering to the public, and while it may indeed be true, I would hasten to ask then who indeed the objects of our pandering should be. The critics? Those who come to concerts to listen for mistakes? Hardly. Combined, their revenue wouldn’t even begin to pay for the coffee at the musicians’ rehearsals. The public, that vast unwashed mass of humanity that is looking for something other than a steady diet of reality TV and unconscionably violent movie fare, is the determinant of the future or the fate of symphonic music organizations.

    I would suggest that the way out for orchestras all across the land, and particularly in Minnesota, is to start spending MUCH MORE TIME focusing on what it is that people want to hear AND TO EXPERIENCE at a public concert if they intend to survive beyond the next few decades. The graying of audiences, the declining attendance, and decreasing inflation-adjusted revenues, and the pathetically bad advertising results for these companies of musicians should ring like the gong in the final bars of the “Great Gate of Kiev” in the ears and minds of everyone who cares about this art form. It should have the same disruptive impact on those in the arts community as the sudden appearance of God would have on mediaeval theologians who are absorbed in arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    • Oh please. In addition to requiring 30-50% paycuts, the Board’s first offer – which it said was absolutely nonnegotiable – contained 250 changes to working conditions. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY. No professional in his or her right mind would offer a counterproposal – which is not necessary – to such an opening. The board said that they would “negotiate” but would not change their minds.

      Please tell me how principle musician positions are “admittedly part-time work”.

      And if mgmt lost more money fundraising then it’s mgmt’s fault and not the musicians – perhaps administration needs to be replaced. And let’s add up the huge hit that the endowment took several years ago through very stupid – only word that applies – investment moves.

      990s tell very little. The MOA has refused to give any more detailed information so that any fair analysis can be made.

      • Sarah,
        If you were running a $12m over-spend, wouldn’t you look for some pretty quick changes to working conditions to fix things?
        Principal players are often on 50% contracts, or less. Working 50% of the time feels fairly part-of-the-time to me. (For example, many orchestras will have more than one concertmaster, or two principal flutes, etc., only one of whom will be in for any given concert or patch of work).

        • “If you were running a $12m over-spend” = specious reasoning. No one has any reason to trust numbers given by this board, since they’re on record as presenting different balances to different audiences.
          The “quick changes” you favor are also related to workplace rules and conditions. You might give a few minutes to Drew McManus’ work on the redline changes to the musicians’ contract….it’s very educational. The actual working conditions of THIS orchestra and its players are what’s at issue.

          • In which case, Amy, neither you nor I can make a judgement, if you won’t even take their 990 submission (presuming possible criminal charges for getting this wrong, I reckon there’s a good chance of it being close to accurate) as input data to help consider the situation.

    • Musicians….part-time work? Thank you for putting your anti-labor troll-bait in the first paragraph, it helps.
      Detailing the number of things about which you’re wrong would be as tedious as reading your entire comment.
      (You’re doing a great “George London” impression, another board apologist around here. Of course, you wouldn’t be the same person…)

      • Careful, Amy. Principal musicians in many orchestras (I can’t comment on MO specifically) are often part-time contracts. Or more accurately, not full-time contacts. To my knowledge this is as true in Europe as the USA. It is quite fair to say that these may be part time positions, I think, unless you can demonstrate otherwise.
        Of course, I accept that a player of appropriate calibre is likely to find themselves with plenty to do all their time, whether that’s another position, solo work, chamber work, teaching, and so on. But is is certainly not a trolling comment made here, it seems completely accurate (unless the OP has mis-interpreted their data, which I haven’t analysed).

    • Anonymous says:

      Principal horn or clarinet, “part-time work”? I can guarantee that the principal horn in my orchestra logs more “work hours” than you.

      • Quite possibly, but I’ll wager that for work hours directly contracted by your orchestra it’s not full-time, and that that player finds other things to fill their other hours with. The point made above is not how many hours an individual works, it reads to be about the size of salaries paid by MO to players who are not contracted, for those (I assume the author feels large) sums of money. I’m not agreeing with the implication that the money is too much for the “less than full-time” hours contracted to any individual principal player; I’m simply pointing out, in answer to comments above, than principal positions are, often, based on part-time contracts, and as such the OP’s facts are correct.

        • Anonymous says:

          Principal positions are certainly not “part-time” in the US! You make your assumptions based on the European 50% model (or even 25%, in the case of Concertmasters). The MO has one principal per part, as do virtually all American orchestras.

    • George London says:

      Sorry Amy this isn’t an “I am Spartacus” moment, besides his prose his much better written, and not full of the slang from the pub, us unwashed masses use.

      But the right honorable gentleman hits the nail on te head, but the again i like jazz, pop concerts and Gershwin.

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