Email writing time, guys. The musicians want us to email and/or call Jon Campbell and Richard Davis. Click here for details. So…you should probably do that.
For the record, here’s the email I sent:
Hello Mr. Davis – Mr. Campbell –
If you’ve been following media coverage of the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, you know exactly who I am. My writing on the lockout is read internationally, and has been cited by MPR, the Pioneer Press, and the most widely read blog in the classical music business, Slipped Disc. I unfortunately have not heard back from you, despite repeated requests to talk to you, so I contact you again. It certainly does not speak well for Wells Fargo or US Bancorp that their leaders are so unresponsive to impassioned community outcry.
Alex Ross, the critic at the New Yorker, whose words you used to trumpet on old season brochures, wrote about you the other day… http://www.therestisnoise.com/2013/05/amplification.html He is the most influential music writer in the business, and he does not lightly write something like what he writes below.
“The Minnesota Orchestra, whose musicians have been locked out since the beginning of the season, is veering toward catastrophe. A number of players have departed for other ensembles; the orchestra’s use of state funds has raised serious questions and is under review; powerful board members have created a fearful atmosphere; and, as Graydon Royce reports, Osmo Vänskä, Minnesota’s brilliant music director, is threatening to resign if the situation is not resolved soon. In his latest piece, Royce alludes to a column I wrote in 2010, in which I said, “For the duration of the evening of March 1st, the Minnesota Orchestra sounded, to my ears, like the greatest orchestra in the world.” The idea was not to issue a hard-and-fast superlative but to undercut the entire business of ranking orchestras. Still, I stand by the statement, at least as far as the musicians themselves are concerned. As for the board and the management, I am tempted to apply a superlative of a quite different kind. I’ll simply say this: do the board and management actually wish to destroy the Minnesota Orchestra? So far, their actions seem to be moving steadily toward that end.”
Until you demonstrate a renewed commitment to dialogue with both musicians and patrons, I will continue to share Mr. Ross’s views. As you are no doubt aware, not a single person in the music business supports your position. A counter-proposal is not and never has been necessary for negotiations; indeed, in November, independent industry expert Drew McManus called your insistence upon a counterproposal a “trap.” Other orchestras with more dire financial problems have agreed to submit to binding arbitration. I’d hope you’d never make a major investment, as you are asking the musicians to do, without knowing how the board and staff of the companies you invest in performs in comparison to other boards and staff (especially if said board and staff were simultaneously and independently being investigated by the state legislature for potential mis-use of funds). And despite what you have heard, the musicians are not going to cave any time soon. And even if they eventually do, by that time, there will be so many vacancies, it will take literally years to hire replacements…and good luck hiring any subs with the pay you’ve proposed. The orchestra will be comatose and paralyzed, if not liquidated altogether. This is not the teachers’ union, and you are not Scott Walker. Today you face two options: stepping away and letting others try for even a little while, or driving the orchestra – Minnesota’s orchestra – over a cliff. There are no alternatives.
If you destroy the Minnesota Orchestra, I can promise you, as a historian, that it will be a legacy that will long outlast any donations you made to the lobby. This community – in fact, this country – will never forget your names, or what happened on your watch. There would be absolutely no harm in stepping aside…or at the very very least, soliciting ideas from others about how to proceed. I urge you to consider doing so.
Emily E Hogstad
Well, that was therapeutic.
So. Write Richard Davis and Jon Campbell. They won’t reply to you, but it will feel good. Share your emails in the comment section as an inspiration to others. And if you call Davis or Campbell, do let me know who you hear from, and what you said, and what their secretaries said to you in return. Remember, be firm, but be polite. We don’t want to stoop down to other people’s level…no matter how angry we are. Best wishes in your activism…