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Continued: Vänskä threatens to resign if Minnesota Orchestra lockout isn't settled

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 3, 2013 - 8:41 AM

He said he actually believes the orchestra needs to rehearse and perform the week of May 27, which would be the last week of the 2012-13 season.

He also expressed concern about a recording project scheduled with pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, beginning Sept. 16. “I consider it extremely important to make the recordings in September as planned — both in terms of maintaining our record-release schedule with BIS [his record label]; and as a part of the preparation process for Carnegie Hall.”

Critical praise, financial woes

Vänskä, 60, is contracted through the 2014-15 season. His 2010 Carnegie engagement with the orchestra was a signal moment, as critics raved over a performance of Sibelius’ epic work “Kullervo.” New Yorker magazine critic Alex Ross said that on that evening, the Minnesota sounded to his ear like the best orchestra in the world.

However, Vänskä and the orchestra have not been able to leverage their artistic success into a sterling box office. “Kullervo,” for example, drew only 52 percent capacity at Orchestra Hall before it went to New York. Ticket sales have declined in each of the past four seasons — though partly because the orchestra has reduced the number of concerts to keep expenses down.

Hara, who has been principal clarinetist for 25 years, said he would not have considered the Los Angeles job had the orchestra not been locked out. But he said he’s looking forward to playing with celebrated conductor Gustavo Dudamel. “Times have changed and it’s time to look to the next chapter,” he said. “Dudamel is a hot commodity.”

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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