Keeping up with Minnesota

If you haven't been following the unfolding network drama that is Minnesota Orchestra Lockout (Season 2!), you're missing out. Let's start small:

Norman Lebrecht posted this short update. Turns out the Minnesota Orchestra Board is more than willing to let their music director Osmo Vänskä walk. And to cancel the Carnegie concerts. And to possibly loose their recording contract for the Sibelius symphonies. Oh, wait, they didn't mention that...Well, without Vänskä it'd probably happen. Oh, and to cut ties with the whole orchestra and hire new players. Here's a link to the newspaper article.  BONUS: you get to see me feed a troll more than he wants to eat.

Of course, during all this, the Minnesota Orchestra Board released their "independent" review and their Full Strategic Plan. Of course, over at Song of the Lark, it's quickly pointed out that, it's not a "full" plan, but a summary. It even says summary all over the document and leaves out tons of details! This is what they call "negotiating in good faith." While covering such a morose subject, Emily's writing has given me plenty of joy--I'm a huge fan of snark and righteous fury. Keep up the awesome writing!

Some of you may want to read the "independent" review. Here it is, from AKA Strategy. Here's a link to their strategic plan, done all "fancy" like (and if I didn't know it wasn't expensive to do, I'd say it's a waste of money. Because I personally do think "schnazzy high gloss interactive page flipping" is a waste. Especially with no internal links to broader information. That'd be way more useful to me).

Emily over at Song of the Lark already beat down the Strategic Plan Summary. But what about AKA Strategy's review? Let's leave that to more of a pro, Robert Levine. And he does quite a bang up job of taking it apart. BONUS: He also did an article about Kennicott. I hope he finds this and reads mine--I can't comment because I can't create an account on Polyphonic right now.

Levine lays into one of the big problems I had reading AKA Strategy's plan: Baumol's law. I think people in my neighborhood thought I was crazy yesterday as I paced around with coffee, talking through exactly why Baumol's law doesn't really apply to orchestras in the same way it applies to for-profit corporations. Worst part is I couldn't remember what Baumol's law was called! I knew it existed, but the name escaped me. Still, Levine nails everything on the head with this. And really calls out the "we've tried everything" point of view. Bullshit! Most orchestras haven't tried even a quarter of the options!

Drew McManus at Adaptistration also nailed all these points in his usual succinct and poignant way. I gotta learn about blogging from this guy.

Over at Case Arts Law (a site I fanboyed during the SFO strike), a great article on logical fallacies and poor negotiating tactics. There is an entire series by professionals who blog going through various issues with the strike. Check the bottom of the article for link heaven! And, yes, I'm still a a fanboy of Kevin Case.

This whole slew of releases by the MOA (I prefer MOB for Minnesota Orchestra Board because the acronym is way better) all revolves around their sudden release of info (after holding some of it for several months, like the AKA report from JUNE) and their new contract offer. And, hey, guess what, it was denied by the musicians. One of the biggest complaints by the MOB is that Musicians aren't offering any contracts offers. That's wrong, as they're sticking to the one proposed by George J. Mitchell who is acting as mediator. The Musicians claim that it's wrong for the MOB to keep sending out crappy contracts without even going through the mediator they agreed to use. I tend to agree with the Musicians. Why have a mediator if you're going to circumvent him and the mediation process?

If you like up-to-date quick posts on the Minnesota Orchestra Lockout and other music things, you should follow Janet Horvath on twitter. She has "ins" with the community (former associate principal cellist with Minnesota) and has led me to some wonderful posts...Such as this one:

Did you know the MOB actually took out a full page ad to defame the Musicians and called for Musicians to just take their horrible offer already? Scott Chamberlain at Mask of the Flower Prince captures the entire debacle wonderfully.

All these links and I'm barely scratching the surface of what's happening. I don't have many readers, but the few I do have, I feel obliged to keep abreast of all these situations.

The last bit is, basically, an "I told you so!" If you have been following this blog, you've gotten a pretty fair sense of my ideas on what orchestras, and musicians in general, need to do to stay relevant and keep the doors open. Well, yesterday, I got some (unknowing) back-up from a big name: Michael Kaiser. His post on HuffPo Blogs backs my assertions up. I'm sure he has no idea who I am, or that this blog exists, but it's still nice to know that my thoughts are shared (even unknowingly).

Well, that's all for now. One side effect of having to structure my own days is I set aside large amounts of time for reading and writing. Which means, this blog will get more regular posts. I've actually got several just sitting around waiting for revision (yeah, I know, scary...me revising something). Hopefully my these things will get popular.

And now, link fest for my own blog posts regarding strikes (because, let's be honest, my labeling system is sort of a joke, a hold over from before anyone read this thing).

Is Outreach the Problem?

Closing Arguments (about SFO Strike)

Orchestras Don't Exist to Make Money

Why You Shouldn't Talk About an Industry You Know Nothing About (over 12K hits!)

At What Cost: A review of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra contract.

Another One Bites the Dust: When I first mentioned Minnesota, and was updating Atlanta and ISO

Silence in the Halls: Chicago's short strike, and more updates

Civil Disagreement: This gives some insight as to why I so vehemently blog and fight for these causes.

to quote myself:

I will not go quietly into the night, sitting in my empty concert hall. You may call it idealism, but music can change the world. The arts are society. I will live in it, breathe in it, and present my views of it...it is being an artist...we do not live in a vacuum.

I will not go quietly... 

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