Lawrence Perelman, managing director of Semantix Creative Group, is a strategic adviser to performing arts institutions has advised musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra to quit their ensemble and to create a new one. In the newspaper Star Tribune he wrote: « Follow Maestro Vänskä’s lead and resign from the Minnesota Orchestral Association. Immediately announce the creation of the Minnesota Symphony, a self-governing orchestra modeled on the Vienna Philharmonic. Find a charitable organization to give temporary use of its tax status (while you establish a new nonprofit) so you can receive donations from foundations and corporations and from your audience. Govern yourselves, and assign responsibilities to yourselves. Make history by setting an example for other orchestras to follow, and end the labor-management paradigm that leads to these kinds of disputes.

The economics will depend on the operation you establish. Here’s one scenario:

Your salaries will probably take a hit the first few years, but this is part of the risk-reward equation. You will experience freedom you never thought possible. There will be opportunities (many of you already have these) to supplement your Minnesota Symphony income, including teaching and other concerts.

The average player’s salary is $100,000, and that means $10 million for 100 players. It’s not impossible to break even relatively quickly from all the potential concert fees the Minnesota Symphony will receive. Branding won’t be a problem, since this will be big news and you will be a hot ticket. One hundred concerts a year at a fee of $100,000 per concert gets you to $10 million. Then there’s foundation, corporate and individual support, which would be significant and would provide start-up funding and a budget to invite visiting conductors or to hire a music director.

Who will pay the fees for the 100 concert dates? In an ironic twist, it could be your former parent, the Minnesota Orchestral Association, which controls Orchestra Hall. The association will suddenly require a major performing arts partner, since the Minnesota Orchestra will no longer exist. Enter the Minnesota Symphony. Imagine the ovation at the first concert. History.

The spirit of the Minnesota Orchestra will live on in the Minnesota Symphony. You will soon get calls from other presenters, and perhaps, just perhaps, you will get a call from Maestro Vänskä and Carnegie Hall. »

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