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Locked-out musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, led by conductor Osmo Vanska, center.

, Star Tribune

Minnesota Orchestra cancels more concerts

  • Article by: KRISTIN TILLOTSON
  • Star Tribune
  • February 8, 2013 - 10:18 PM

Four months after locking out musicians in a labor dispute, the Minnesota Orchestral Association has canceled or rescheduled all concerts through April 7.

In January, management agreed to a longstanding musician demand for an independent financial analysis, but the sides have not agreed on the precise terms of that review.

"Realistically, we are all aware that it will take some time to complete this review. ... If we are able to come to an agreement within a time frame that allows us to reinstate some of these concerts, we will make every effort to do so," board chair Jon Campbell said in a statement released Friday.

"There is absolutely no reason we could not return to the stage under some sort of temporary agreement and continue to perform while doing the independent financial analysis," said musician spokesman Tim Zavadil on Friday. "Certainly, we hope they have not agreed to the analysis so they can prolong the lockout."

The cancellation of five more weeks of concerts came two days before the Grammy Awards, where the orchestra's recording of Sibelius' Symphonies Nos. 2 and 5 is one of five nominees for best orchestral performance.

In a statement, the musicians said the concert cancellations have "further eroded the public trust," and challenged management's intentions: "Through these cancellations, management has taken another step toward throwing away the entire orchestra season, leading us to ask, 'Was this the plan all along?'"

As previously scheduled, the 2012-13 season would end June 2.

Some concerts will be rescheduled into the 2013-14 season beginning in September. Max Raabe and Palast Orchester, scheduled for April 7, will still play that date, but at the Dakota Bar and Grill.

All ticket holders for canceled concerts will be contacted by the orchestra to go over options. Those with tickets may also handle changes online at minnesota orchestra.org/change.

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra's musicians, who are also locked out, continue negotiations with their management. On Monday, a group of supporters calling themselves Save Our SPCO will present findings and proposals, including arguments for raising some ticket prices, to board chair Dobson West and other leadership. The next meeting of the full SPCO board is Feb. 19; musicians have been invited to attend the first half-hour.

The SPCO musicians would like to perform more "lockout" concerts, said Save Our SPCO chair Mariellen Jacobson, a goal made difficult because many musicians have had to take part-time gigs elsewhere. With a smaller ensemble like the SPCO, Jacobson said, "you can add or substitute only a small percentage of musicians without losing the absolute magic that is the SPCO sound."

Kristin Tillotson • 612-673-7046

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