Aspen Festival's Fletcher has harsh words for orchestra lockout

In his recent speech kicking off the Aspen Music Festival, Alan Fletcher singled out Minneapolis-St. Paul for a harsh appraisal.

"We've been seeing some terrible fractures in the historic cooperation that is needed to create music," said Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School. "For me, the very worst of it has been in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where two great orchestras were locked out of their halls." The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has settled on a contract; the Minnesota Orchestra lockout continues.

"This is not the place to try to describe fully what has happened — the complexity of the problem is intense — but what happened, and is still happening, has no place in our art form," Fletcher said at the festival. "A strike is a very unhappy thing, but a lockout is unworthy of us all and unworthy of our beautiful profession."

On The Daily Circuit Tuesday, Fletcher explained why he felt he had to talk about the Minnesota situation at the Aspen Music Festival.

"The whole music world cares so much about what's happening in Minneapolis," he said. Students come to the Aspen Festival from all over the country and the world, and "I talk to them about the profession they're entering. It just seemed to me this year that we had to talk about this stuff."

"I really hope that I don't take a side, because I see a lot of validity on both sides," he said. "I think there is room for genuine conversation, and of course we all hope that is happening behind the scenes now. I don't know anything about that. But I think there really is room for agreement here."

Fletcher is in town for an event tonight held by a group called Orchestrate Excellence.

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