From his eminently rational speech last night to the group Orchestrate Excellence: “I will go so far as to be definite about one thing I believe, and that is that the current lockout of musicians should end, and it should end unconditionally. I have recently read the point of view that the lockout can only end as part of a larger bargain, because the [Minnesota Orchestral] Association must have the leverage of this tactic. And even the word ‘leverage’ in this context signals that the plan has failed. That plan should now be abandoned ... The lockout ... is not symmetrical. Only the musicians are living without salaries, without a means of supporting their families, without access to the hall that is their home ... But then, the musicians must also come to the table in earnest, and deal with who is at the table. Another side to much poisonous rhetoric we’ve experienced is the view that the management, or the board leadership, or both, must go, before discussions can begin for real. A rhetoric of exclusion is a rhetoric of failure.”
The speech begins at 28:00 in the video linked above. It's a subtle, nuanced argument, resistant to soundbite-style thinking, and I'd encourage readers to listen to the entire thing. While Fletcher criticizes several of the musicians' talking points, he places more pressure on the board and management. I hope they listen. I cannot bring myself to believe — despite mounting evidence — that they actually want a drastically reduced orchestra, its assets stripped, its ambitions narrowed, its activities no longer relevant to the outside world.