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November 13, 2014IM -
It was only a year ago that the Minnesota Orchestra was locked out, but with a new hire they are getting back into the swing of things. Kevin Smith – currently the interim president and CEO – agreed to stay on through the 2017-18 season as the official Minnesota Orchestra president.
Smith took over from Michael Henson, the former CEO who became the main target and criticism for many issues in the organization. The board was searching for a new president, and Smith wasn’t even in the running. However, he turned out to be so extraordinary the board asked him to remain in his position.
“It was not in my original plan, but I thought: Why not, it’ll be an adventure,” Smith commented.
Board Chairman Gordon Sprenger said, “Kevin exceeded my expectations and we felt that if there was anyone who could help us find solutions, this was the guy right now.”
Smith has to deal with new contract talks with the musicians whose deal ends in 2017, and music director Osmo Vänskä. While Smith said he enjoyed working with Vänskä, it is the board’s decision whether he stays or goes.
Either way, it sounds like Smith is working hard for the orchestra.
“We want to start sooner rather than later with the musicians.” He said, “We need to have a clear financial picture moving forward to show what we can offer. They know that, we know that.”
Principal cellist Anthony Ross said in a statement regarding Smith’s hiring that “the musicians are delighted.”
This all sounds like good news for an orchestra that hasn’t been having the best time recently. Hopefully, things will only improve from here on.