Minneapolis City Council Supporting Continued Negotiation and Resolution for Minnesota Orchestra and Orchestra Musicians – By Glidden and Hodges

By Glidden and Hodges

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra, founded in 1903, is a cultural icon, historic resource, and economic resource to the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota; and

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra, originally named the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, has contributed to the vitality, competitiveness, reputation and pride of the City of Minneapolis and our state for generations; and

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra significantly contributes to the City of Minneapolis’ reputation as the region’s art center; and

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra, described as “the greatest orchestra in the world” by The New Yorker’s Alex Ross in 2010, has established Minnesota as a premier destination for artistic excellence; and

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra has influenced the development of contemporary music by commissioning and performing new works and supporting emerging composers, ensuring Minnesota’s reputation as a center of music innovation and growth; and

Whereas, the Minnesota Orchestra and its world-class musicians have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Minnesotans through orchestral performances and educational activities of the Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians; and

Whereas, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have contributed to the development of music and musicians in Minnesota, as well as the reputation and competitiveness of many organizations and institutions including the University of Minnesota School of Music; and

Whereas, symphony orchestras across the United States, including the Minnesota Orchestra, are facing significant financial challenges including reduced attendance and operating deficits, with the Minnesota Orchestra expecting to post a $6 million deficit for fiscal year ending August 31, 2012;

Whereas, the City of Minneapolis accepted a 2010 state bonding grant of $14 million on behalf of the Minnesota Orchestra for the purpose of maintaining and improving this performing arts center and contributing to its competitiveness as a world-renowned symphony orchestra; and

Whereas, in 2012, the City of Minneapolis issued $15 million in 501(c)(3) revenue bonds and lent the proceeds to the Minnesota Orchestra for the purpose of the Orchestra Hall renovation; and

Whereas, the cultural and economic benefit of the Minnesota Orchestra depends on, in addition to its financial condition, its continued ability to attract and retain top caliber musicians, music directors, and artistic staff, retain and grow its audience,  provide music opportunities to residents of all ages, and other factors; and

Whereas, during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout concerts are cancelled, concert revenue to the Orchestra is eliminated, tax revenues to the City and State will decrease, and musicians are without pay or health benefits; and

Whereas, revenue to the Convention Center (acting as the temporary performance hall of the Minnesota Orchestra), restaurants, bars, hotels, small local businesses, and the entire hospitality industry  is impacted by the lack of concerts during a lockout;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the City of Minneapolis encourages that measures be taken to ensure that both the Minnesota Orchestra and its musicians have a common understanding of existing financial information and future projections; and

Be it further resolved that the City of Minneapolis discourages “lockout” as a means to resolve the existing labor dispute and requests that both sides work to find options for rebuilding trust and engaging in bargaining in order to ensure the continued vitality, reputation, and economic benefit of the Minnesota Orchestra as a pre-eminent cultural institution of our City and State; and

Be it further resolved that the City of Minneapolis encourages continued negotiation and resolution of the labor dispute between the Management and Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra.

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