Hey peeps; listen up. I’ve got 50 minutes of juicy arts journalism for you. Matt Peiken from MNuet has produced a podcast you must listen to. I don’t care what you’re doing; drop it, and listen. Here’s a summary:
In this revealing and provocative conversation, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith of the Minnesota Orchestra and Carole Mason Smith of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra talk with MNuet’s Matt Peiken about the labor stalemates happening with their respective orchestras, their perspectives about what led to the musicians’ predicaments and steps they see going forward. Among other charges, the musicians make the case that the management of each orchestra is looking to transition from an orchestral focus to one of presenting a wide array of events. MNuet has asked to conduct a similar interview and devote an episode of “Whole Note” to representatives of each orchestra’s management.
Thank you thank you thank you, Mr. Peiken. I’m so thrilled we have an independent journalist in our midst.
Here are some teaser questions from the podcast: What are the missions of the SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra boards? How were certain individuals laid off at the Minnesota Orchestra in spring? Who gave back what when? Is there a kind of collusion happening among administrators at the highest echelons of American orchestras? Are musician-led ensembles in the Twin Cities’ future? Where are our local politicians in all this? And what about the children? Juicy stuff, huh? See, I told you you’d want to drop everything and listen.
If the managements at both orchestras refuse to take up Mr. Peiken’s generous offer to conduct in-depth interviews with them (and I’m guessing they will refuse), then I suggest that he post an mp3 of an hour of total silence. Or an hour of him asking questions to dead air. If those in charge can’t handle the heat, and won’t step up to answer their public’s questions, then let’s hammer home the void of leadership and vision and accountability as mercilessly as we know how. No offense to the good reporters who have been working on these stories over the last six weeks, but I’m so tired of the sound bites in 700-word articles in the mainstream press. This is the kind of in-depth conversation we need to be having. These are the questions we need to be asking, again and again and again, until those in power can’t bear to hear the sound of our voices anymore. Management, if you’re not going to answer the questions I’ve raised, or even acknowledge my existence, then at least sit down with someone like Mr. Peiken. If you don’t, we’ll assume you’re hiding something (what else are we supposed to do?). And we will act accordingly…