Matt Peiken’s SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra Podcast

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…


Filed under My Writing

5 responses to “Matt Peiken’s SPCO and Minnesota Orchestra Podcast

  1. HOLY CRAP. Emily, we’ve finally hit the mother load. I must say, hearing *directly* from musicians is putting a whole new spin on things, and frankly, giving them a whole lot more credibility. Ellen and Carole, Daaang, you ARE rock stars (and I’m still a young young adult, so you can trust me!)

    I plan on writing more on this later (2am is much too late) but all I can say is that I am Absolutely DISgusted! At the beginning of this fiasco I tried to keep an open mind: maybe both management and musicians have problems to work out, maybe management’s proposals are a little harsh but also necessary, etc etc blah blah blah.. No. I simply cannot believe that anymore. Management is the scum of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It’s officially war, and something needs to be done.


    • Yes, dear SOM! I am so sorry we didn’t get to connect more at the concert; I was busy at intermission – and tried to look for you afterward, but couldn’t find you – you may have left already, understandably! Hopefully there will be more events.

      I know for a fact that there is pressure being applied behind the scenes, although I don’t know what exactly. There is a unity of purpose, and a real defiant passion being harnessed. I don’t know for sure what this passion is all capable of doing…but I can say that I sure wouldn’t want such a force aligned against me!! And it’s so comforting to know we aren’t the only ones who care. It seems like a wide slice of Minnesota, from poor kids like you and me, to the most influential people in the state, is totally PO’d. So let’s see what an angry intelligent public can accomplish…

  2. lee4713

    I am absolutely disgusted with Dobson West. Eight months ago, when Sara Lutman left the SPCO, there was to be a “transition” period to search for a new President/Director. Well, Dobson West is still the Board President as well as President/Director of the SPCO. Mr. M&A Lawyer. Something is not smelling too good right now.

  3. Emily — I am writing a story for the Pioneer Press, to include the views of orchestra fans on the situation. Would you be wiling to chat with me, fairly soon, for the story?
    Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press

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