The battle between management and musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra has gone on so long that music director Osmo Vanska has resigned. I don’t blame him. A conductor without an orchestra can’t get much done. I sympathize with the musicians as they fight back against a management determined to eliminate its deficit by downsizing the orchestra. On the other hand, downsizing is probably exactly what is needed, in Minnesota and elsewhere. The cost of running the Minnesota Orchestra has simply grown too great for its community. Few orchestras can do what the Cleveland Orchestra has done in similar circumstances. It now spends several months each year in Florida giving concerts because Cleveland won’t support enough of the orchestra’s concerts.
No doubt about it. Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra have done great things together. In this video they deliver the goods in excerpts from Sibelius’ Second and Fifth symphonies at a special concert given earlier this year.
After announcing his departure Vanska returned to Minneapolis this past weekend to conduct the orchestra – or what is left of it as musicians depart for other employment -in three concerts. These were concerts organized by the musicians and not by management.
Paul E. Robinson