St. Paul Chamber Orchestra cancels more concerts

  • Article by: CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2013 - 9:57 PM

Talks in the lengthy labor dispute are terminated, and shows are scrapped through late March.

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The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in concert in Stillwater in 2011.

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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Management and musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra met twice at the beginning of January, but those talks appear to have gone nowhere.

Management announced Thursday evening that it would cancel concerts through March 23.

The talks on Jan. 2 and 3 were conducted under a mutually agreed-upon media blackout.

Dobson West, SPCO president, blamed the musicians for breaking off talks over pay and work rules, saying "unfortunately, the union has terminated these off-the-record discussions."

Trumpeter Lynn Erickson, a member of the musicians negotiating committee, said the musicians "are deeply disappointed in our management's unwillingness to compromise on key issues in these negotiations." She said that lacking any progress, the musicians "decided to end the off-the-record negotiations and the media blackout."

The SPCO locked out musicians Oct. 21, after talks broke down with no new labor contract. Management proposed a 32 percent reduction in the minimum annual salary and a reduction in the permanent size of the chamber orchestra from 34 to 28. It previously had canceled concerts through the end of 2012, and then through Feb. 8.

The musicians have performed their own independently produced concerts at several locations this fall and winter, with guests including former music directors Hugh Wolff and Pinchas Zukerman. They have Baroque concerts scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25 in Mahtomedi and Minneapolis.

West, in a statement, left the door open to reinstate canceled concerts in case an agreement is reached.

Claude Peck • 612-673-7977 Twitter: @ClaudePeck

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