11. July 2013 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

Classical music in the United States depends on four groups working together: musicians, donors, administrators, and listeners. No one of these groups “owns” the music, and no one or even two of them can keep the music going without the others. Too often we’ve been hearing from one group or another that someone else is unimportant, or worse, that “they owe us.” But everyone involved here is making a free choice to be involved, and is mutually obliged to make the enterprise work.

We’ve been seeing some terrible fractures in the historic cooperation that is needed to create music.

For me, the very worst of it has been in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where two great orchestras were locked out of their halls. [The musicians of Minneapolis’ Minnesota Orchestra have been locked out since October 2012, with no resolution in sight; the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra lockout lasted more than six months before ending in April.—AT]

This is not the place to try to describe fully what has happened — the complexity of the problem is intense — but what happened, and is still happening, has no place in our art form. A strike is a very unhappy thing, but a lockout is unworthy of us all and unworthy of our beautiful profession.

In almost all of the problematic cases in recent years, one or more of the “sides” in a dispute is saying that they can’t, or won’t, recognize another side’s good faith, and the rhetoric all around the country has been remarkably poisonous and negative.

We really must find a way to work together, and this fracturing makes that seem impossible.


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