Listen: Minnesota Orchestra Hall groundbreaking

MPR’s Lawrence Dulcie reports on groundbreaking for Orchestra Hall. Segment features Minneapolis Mayor Charles Stenvig, Councilman John S. Pillsbury Jr., former Governor Elmer L. Andersen and Maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.


text | pdf |

[MUSIC PLAYING] DULCIE LAWRENCE: While the symphony brass ensemble played joyful music, civic leaders donned hardhats, took up shovels, and turned over a few shovels full of ceremonial ground on which will stand the new concert hall in only about 15 months. All wreaths and smiles were Mayor Charles Stenvig, members of the city council John S. Pillsbury Jr., former governor Elmer L Anderson, and the city's happiest man, maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Well, you can imagine what my feelings are. This is very, very historical great day, not only for the musicians, but to the listeners and to the city. The city will be put maybe second or third time on the map like Guthrie Theater put it.

And this is just marvelous. And this, we expected-- it was expected since 40 years, really. We are late.

But nevertheless, it's better now than ever. And this is, I think, great. I think the Symphony Orchestra and symphony life here will just get immense impulse and Renaissance since the hall is built because we were homeless.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: What is it that the hall contributes to the symphony?

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Well, everything at home-- let's make a simile. Somebody that lives somewhere, doesn't have a home, that lives in the bush or with friends, you know how he feels. He cannot work.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: And does the quality of his playing, though, change in the hall?

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Of course. The right acoustical environment, which we never had, will provide musicians with possibility of improvement of their tone.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Will it also change the programming at all? Will that make a difference?

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Well yes, certainly, because we will be able to play, really, to encompass much wider variety of styles because the better acoustics. In Northrop, we could just play only probably a full orchestra things because the smaller things didn't work. So this would be impact in-- on all sides of our professional life.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: So this is a day that you've been really looking forward to since the time you arrived in Minneapolis over 10 years ago?

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Right. Yes. And I know my predecessors who left before me were looking and were dreaming about this.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Well, congratulations.

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Thank you. Thank you. Congratulations to all of us, I would say.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: The concert hall project will be in the block bounded by 11th and 12th Streets Nicollet and Marquette Avenues. A parking ramp along 11th Street will be built by the city, with access to the hall by skyway. The project includes extension of the Nicollet Mall to Grant Street and a proposed park connecting the hall with Loring Park. Chairman of the Orchestral Association John S. Pillsbury Jr. said it will have great impact on the lives of millions in the region.

JOHN S. PILLSBURY JR.: I think it's also interesting that at this very same time, the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts is pushing to the completion of its new building. A new Walker Art Center was completed not long ago as was the expansion and enlarging of the Guthrie Theater. So we see on every side the burgeoning vitality of drama, dance, music, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and all kinds of human expression. I think it's a credit to the Twin Cities and the upper Midwest that--

DULCIE LAWRENCE: Mayor Stenvig said it shows what people can do if they were just willing to work together.

CHARLES STENVIG: We need to participate in the decision-making of this project. And this shows what-- with good planning and letting the people of the citizens know, and letting everybody know and putting the package together what can happen in a very short time, which is going to be very lasting on Minneapolis culture in Minneapolis.

SPEAKER: And now, I'd like to call on Stan Skrowaczewski, our maestro and music director, to say a word for himself and for the orchestra.

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: I greet you with my overjoyed heart, all of you. The dreams of our musicians, the dreams of my distinguished predecessors, our listeners, and finally, my humble dream since I came here are becoming a splendid reality. The music is the most mysterious of all arts veiled by something solemn, far from the realities of life. Its soul is revealed only to those who desire and are willing to go to certain stages of ceremony and mystery to reach it. A concert hall should be the temple where music leads us gradually from the secular life into the realm of something extraordinary to the life that is innermost.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: As the officials bent their shoulders to the shovels for the benefit of the cameras, maestro Skrowaczewski gave the downbeat crying, presto, presto. We've waited 40 years too long already.

STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Why not? OK. What do you play?


STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI: Presto, presto. You are too slow.

DULCIE LAWRENCE: I'm Dulcie Lawrence.


Materials created/edited/published by Archive team as an assigned project during remote work period and in office during fiscal 2021-2022 period.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>