Minn. Orchestra cancels more concerts

Osmo Vanska and orchestra
Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vanska and musicians receive a standing ovation during a concert celebrating a Grammy nomination at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr

With a musicians' lockout now in its fifth month, the Minnesota Orchestra today cancelled or rescheduled concerts through April 7.

One of the rescheduled events is a week-long Common Chords residency in Bemidji, now planned for September 2014.

While the two sides have made some progress on their contract talks in recent weeks, orchestra management says the cancellations are necessary under its arrangement with the Minneapolis Convention Center, where the orchestra was due to play.

Orchestra President Michael Henson says the two sides are working on how to do an independent financial analysis requested by the musicians.

"I imagine once we have agreed on the the parameters, it' going to take at least a couple of weeks to undertake," said Henson. "After that review has been completed, we will need to evaluate a counter proposal that we hope the musicians and the union place before us and then begin a negotiating process."

Musician negotiator Tim Zavadil said the players are now wondering if management has ever intended to play the concerts.

"Was this the plan all along, to not have a season?" Zavadil said. "It certainly is disconcerting to us that things have been cancelled through April 7."

The cancellations come as the Minnesota Orchestra looks forward to the Grammy Awards on Sunday. The orchestra is nominated for a best orchestral performance Grammy.