Musicians have played their role to put ISO on its feet: Richard Graef, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra– Indianapolis Star

I am not a born Hoosier. Twenty years ago, as a young horn player I was an
audition finalist for orchestras in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Columbus,
Ohio. I had already held positions in the orchestras of Memphis, Honolulu
and Durban, South Africa.

I chose to come to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and play under
Maestro Raymond Leppard for the people of Indiana. The ISO was known as a
“destination orchestra,” one of the top 17 in the nation – one of the few
orchestras that toured, recorded and performed year round.

I chose Indianapolis. I chose to live here, to raise my family here, and to
make music here. I am now a Hoosier.

My story is similar to other transplants within our community, including
many of the musicians of the ISO. We are part of an international talent
pool that chose Indianapolis. The ISO musicians come from all over the
world, yet we are now Hoosiers.

When the ISO musicians were locked out for five weeks last fall, the
community support was uplifting and sustaining. Countless individuals signed
petitions, wrote letters, attended our concerts and offered encouragement
during our lunchtime concerts outside Hilbert Circle Theatre. It became
clear that our community wants, needs – and deeply values – a full-time
major symphony orchestra.

In order to return the music to the people of Indiana and Read More

SPCO violinist wins job with the New York Philharmonic

SPCO Principal Second Violinist Kyu-Young Kim won a position with the New York Philharmonic in their most recent audition held on Saturday February 16.  The SPCO musicians have been locked out by their management since October 21.

“While I am thrilled at this opportunity to play with one of the world’s great orchestras,” said Kim, “I am saddened to be leaving the SPCO under these circumstances.  In the space of four months, the lockouts of both orchestras have changed the Twin Cities from a destination metropolis for musicians to a place that many of us are actively trying to leave. ”

Kim and his wife Pitnarry Shin, a cellist who won a job with  the Minnesota Orchestra in April 2012, moved to the Twin Cities in the fall of 2011.  “The last thing we wanted to do was displace our family again so soon after moving here, but this is the reality of the lockouts,” said Kim.  “Our friends and colleagues throughout the music world are shocked at what’s going on here.  It really feels like the managements of both orchestras are just ripping the heart out of the cultural life of this great community.”

Kim was also very actively involved with the negotiations at the SPCO.  Said Carole Mason Smith, chair of the Musicians Negotiations Committee, “It’s a great loss for the SPCO. We’ve said repeatedly to management that we will not be able to recruit or retain the talent that this orchestra needs to remain Read More

Minnesota Orchestra and SPCO musicians learn to play the field – Graydon Royce, StarTribune

Tim Zavadil normally plays clarinet with the Minnesota Orchestra. This week, he will pull out his saxophone and join the Minnesota Opera orchestra for a production of “Hamlet” at Ordway Center in St. Paul.

It’s a welcome chance for Zavadil to play at home after chasing gigs across the country since he was locked out at the Minnesota Orchestra on Oct. 1.
He is one of about 120 out-of-work Twin Cities musicians caught up in unprecedented labor disputes dragging into their fifth month. For the first time in their professional lives, they are patching together a living from unemployment compensation, union welfare benefits, friendly donors and freelance work.
Musicians at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have been locked out since Oct. 21. Like their Minneapolis colleagues, they are watching expenses and racking up frequent-flier miles.

“One week I moved three times,” said Rebecca Albers, a violist at the Minnesota Orchestra, describing how she relies on friends in other cities for lodging. “The travel can be expensive, but I’m extremely grateful for the work.”

The two major Twin Cities orchestras, with combined annual budgets of about $40 million, sell about 380,000 tickets annually.

While orchestras elsewhere in the country have had labo Read More

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra after the storm–Letter to Pioneer Press from Brad Eggen

The musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra reluctantly accepted a shorter season and a 19 percent wage cut, the contract their employer insisted was the only chance to restore them to the stage.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman described the move as adopting “major concessions,” and the musicians’ committee representative called this a contract needed “to assure that there will be a 2013-2014 season.” It is now time to digest the impact of management’s dissonant six-month lock-out of artists recognized by many as the finest chamber musicians in America.

Let there be no doubt about the severity of this uncommon attack on our Minnesota cultural heritage. This lock-out was a course that no orchestra board should aspire to follow. While SPCO management will remind you of the challenges faced a few years ago in Detroit and Philadelphia following the banking industry fiasco and our nation’s economic setback, great orchestras that we in Minnesota would compare ourselves to, including the orchestras of Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, have in the last year proven their financial resilience and uncompromising commitment to artistic quality with healthy contracts and modest salary Read More

Update from Journal of the House, appropriation for Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

One of the most FAQ’s we get submitted to us here on our site – how is the
lockout impacting public funding on the renovation plans for the
Ordway…and until now that has been a difficult question to respond to or
even try to quantify.  The cut and pasted document that was released and
shared with us today confirms that until a new contract is ratified and
signed by SPCO musicians – the public financing dollars are on hold for the
Ordway.  The stakes and incentive to finalize a new contract now has city
hall anxious too.  Stay tuned! of the House – 35th Day – Monday, April 15,

2013 – Top of Page 2376
(b) Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

This appropriation is added to the appropriation in Laws 2010, chapter 189, section 21, subdivision 16, paragraph (b), and is for the same purposes.  This appropriation is not available until the commissioner of management and budget determines that the labor contract dispute between the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the musicians has been settled.

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