Osmo’s resignation on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the lockout is the capstone on a disastrous year for classical music in the Twin Cities. It is clear to me that the board and management of the Minnesota Orchestral Association was never interested in a settlement on any terms but their own, and I believe that they are happy to have Osmo gone. This should convince any doubters: It was the MOA who abruptly called off the first face-to-face talks in months and then quickly turned around and called Carnegie Hall to cancel the November concerts. I don’t know whether to characterize their behavior as cold and calculating or spiteful. Probably both.
What next? I believe that the new Orchestra Hall will become the metaphorical Chernobyl of the musical world. I have trouble imagining any scenario in which the Minnesota Orchestra can be reconstituted as anything but a third-rate pops orchestra. No conductor or musician worth his or her salt will come near the place for a generation. I can imagine that the current musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra could organize themselves under a new banner and build a new legacy, and I think that with creative minds at work they could overcome the considerable financial and logistical hurdles.
Orchestra Hall will stand as a tragic monument to a board that cared more about protecting the endowment than protecting the music; a board that chose ideology over art; a board that invested its efforts in material “things” over things spiritual. It will be a be a monument to some of the wealthiest people in Minnesota who made the cultural life of our state immeasurably poorer.