The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Ear gives a hearty “shout out” to the politically progressive musicians in the Minnesota Orchestra who publicly support marriage equality and oppose a proposed state constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. | August 6, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

Here’s a well-deserved shout out!

The Minnesota Orchestra has done some remarkable work and made noteworthy and prize-winning recordings in recent years under the direction of Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska (below). They  include acclaimed cycles of Beethoven, Jean Sibelius and Anton Bruckner symphonies and concertos.

But to The Ear, the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra (below) were especially brave when, as a group that depends on public sponsorship and public patronage, they publicly went on record as supporting marriage equality and opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state of MInnesota.

Here is a link to the story:

That is the enlightened and compassionate stand to take, and I say congratulations to them for taking a progressive stand in a progressive state that has lately earned a reputation as a conservative Republican state because of Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann and possible Mitt Romney vice-presidential choice, Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Minnesota Progressives, including Hubert Humphrey, would be proud!

And so is The Ear.


  1. Nice quote from Marcuse, I like it. I recently saw a FaceBook posting of a picture of Jazz Founding Father and New Orleans Black Native Son Sidney Bechet, with the tagline, “Great enough to sit in with any band in the world, but not good enough to sit in the audience in America,” circa 1950 or so.

    The same analogy could be used for gay musicians and composers. Great enough to fill the history books and concert halls with glorious sounds, but not fit to take their places with couples listening in the audiences.

    Here’s to Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Peter Pettinger, to Garrick Olson, to Ned Rorem, John Cage and Merce Cunningham, David Del Tredici, and historical figures like Camille Saint-Saens, Ricardo Vines, Frederick Delius, and Erik Satie. Also to all the gay performers and composers whose private lives were sublimated to Music.

    Had there been even a glimmer of daylight for gay people in the 20th century, people like Horowitz and Leonard Bernstein would have felt free to be themselves, and find gay love openly, instead of marrying an opposite-gender person, to everyone’s detriment.

    Comment by Michael BB — August 6, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    • Hi Michael,

      I completely agree with you with one qualification: We should allow for those who are bisexual and find love with either sex.

      As the novelist John Irving explore sin his latest work, we do a disservice to bisexuals when we assume they are really closeted gays.

      Many may be that, but many may not. People should be free to define themselves within the very complicated world of human desire.

      But it is indeed a question of civil rights and human rights, of equality for all and freedom to be oneself.

      As always, thank you for your perceptive comments.


      Comment by welltemperedear — August 6, 2012 @ 10:31 am

      • Thank you, Jake. Well-said.


        Comment by Steve Rankin — August 13, 2012 @ 10:50 am

  2. It’s no surprise that tyrants try to control artists, including musicians and writers: Great art has the capacity to ennoble the human spirit, engendering courage.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — August 6, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    • Hi Susan,

      You make a great point.

      I would only add that great art also fosters tolerance, compassion and empathy — qualities that undermine dictators and totalitarian mindsets of all kinds, from governments to religions.

      The late philosopher Herbert Marcuse emphasized that fact that the “aesthetic” has its roots in subversive sensuality and values. It replaces an inferior institutional order with a superior, more humanist order.


      Comment by welltemperedear — August 6, 2012 @ 8:55 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,266 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,368,012 hits
%d bloggers like this: