Well, we are now halfway through the first month of 2014. As every year does, 2014 holds a great deal of promise for all of us, and it is truly wonderful to have started the new year with the resolution of the longest work stoppage in the history of America's orchestras, that being the 474-day lockout of the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. As of January 14, 2014 an agreement has been reached that is effective on February 1, 2014.
There are so many things that can be said at this point, as there have been many things said by many parties since the lockout began in October 2013. Personally, I sincerely hope that we all make the conscious choice to remain both grateful and vigilant in our respective musical communities as there are many lessons to learn from this situation.
One person who paid very close attention to the unfolding story in Minneapolis is Drew McManus, orchestral consultant and publisher of Adaptistration, a daily blog which contains his analyses of contract negotiations and other situations that have faced orchestras in the United States. Reading his recent column, I am both surprised and pleased to see that Mr. McManus takes the wise position that one finds espoused by those working in social justice:
"What’s critically important to keep in mind at this juncture is that neither side has released a full, unedited copy of the agreement...By all means, that the lockout has come to an end, but wait patiently for the full details before forming conclusions and question everything."
Mr. McManus is not the only person who has, over the past fifteen months, kept a watchful eye on the situation in Minneapolis. For a fairly comprehensive list of those writers who have, please follow this link.
Special attention should be paid to the research and writing done by Emily E. Hogstad, a Wisconsin-based violinist who is also the author of a blog titled Song of the Lark.
In other news, it feels GREAT to be writing again, and I'm very much looking forward to sharing interviews and thoughts on many of the "on the ground" projects that are soon to be released, including at least two new recordings.