Former conductor will lead lockout concert

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
In this photo released by the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Polish maestro Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducts the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra during a concert in Tokyo in September 2002. Skrowaczewski was the music director at the Minnesota Orchestra from 1960 to 1979.
AP Photo/Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, HO

Locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Friday announced that former music director Stanislaw Skrowaczewski will conduct them in what they call a season opening concert on Oct. 18.

Minnesota Orchestra management cancelled all concerts through the end of November shortly after locking out the musicians early Monday.

French horn player Ellen Smith says that having the conductor, who led the Minnesota Orchestra from 1960 to 1979 when Orchestra Hall was built, means a great deal to the players.

"Because we know that it won't be a gesture taken lightly by our management," Smith said. "They won't be happy about it. But it truly shows that he supports us fully in what we are doing."

Smith added that he embodies the orchestra's artistic aspirations. "He was instrumental in us having the hall in the first place," Smith said, "but his spirit lies with the musicians, and I think he is clearly showing that in supporting this concert."

The musicians' negotiator Tim Zavadil said the concert will be at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The performance will replace what would have been the opener for the orchestra's fall season.

Minnesota Orchestra lockout
Minnesota Orchestra members Megan Tam, second from left, and Eugena Chang chat during a rally in Minneapolis on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Minnesota Orchestra management locked out the musicians after contract negotiations reached a stalemate.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson

Management wants wage concessions from musicians to fix what it says are major financial problems. Musicans say the proposed cuts would destroy the Minnesota's world-class sound.

A representative of the Minnesota Orchestra management said it is fully supportive of the musicians right to play. But she said the dispute will be resolved only after musicians return to the negotiating table.

No further negotiations are currently scheduled.

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