Dear Mayor Rybak,
I am a violin professor at the University of Georgia and have many musical friends in the Minneapolis area, both in the Minnesota Orchestra, and connected with the University of Minnesota.
Many years ago I played with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the UK. At that time, the conductor of the orchestra, Simon Rattle(now Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic) had already helped to secure the financial turnaround of the city of Birmingham that had still been suffering post-war gloom. With the building up of the Arts there–music, theatre, and the rest– Birmingham suddenly grew in its international reputation as a world class city. Business leaders now had places to entertain their colleagues from around the world, and the locals had something of which to be proud.
In brief, the opposite could well happen in Minneapolis if there are no high class arts there. Sadly the international image of the city has already started to take shape due to the short-sighted, unenlightened board of the Minnesota Orchestra. It is not too late to make amends, but it is going to need some inspirational involvement from outside at this point.
Music DOES matter! The Arts DO matter! Investment in such an orchestra is clearly one of the best investments you can ever make, financially, culturally, and ethically.
Thank you for reading this and considering how you personally can inspire others to challenge the apparent accepted norms of financial crisis thinking.
Dr. Michael Heald
Associate Professor of Violin
Hugh Hodgson School of Music
University of Georgia