Osmo Vanska threatens to quit Mn Orch if musicians' lockout isn't solved

Osmo Vanska
Osmo Vanska, music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, in a file photo from February 1, 2013. Vanska has threatened to resign if the musicians' lockout is not resolved by September.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vanska has told the Minnesota Orchestra he will resign if the musician lockout isn't resolved.

In a letter to orchestra board chair Jon Campbell and president Michael Henson, Vanska said he will resign if the lockout isn't settled by September.

Vanska said the orchestra needs to be rehearsing by early September to have enough time to prepare for an appearance at New York's Carnegie Hall in November.

He called the Carnegie Hall performance one of the most significant goals of his tenure, and said if the appearance is cancelled because Carnegie Hall officials "lose confidence in our ability to perform those concerts as a result of the extended lockout," he will be forced to resign as music director.

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Vanska said the orchestra also needs to begin playing again soon to get ready for a fall recording committment.

"It is public knowledge that several orchestral musicians are leaving their posts," Vanska also wrote, specifically mentioning the concertmaster who he said has two job offers elsewhere in the country.

Principal clarinetist Burt Hara has auditioned for a position as associate principal clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, according to a spokeswoman for that orchestra. Hara was offered the position, she added, but was unsure whether he has accepted the offer.

Orchestra management has proposed a contract that would cut the musicians' average salary by more than 30 percent, to about $89,000, but add two more weeks of vacation to 12 weeks. They're also proposing a reduction in benefits.

The musicians have not made a counterproposal, and said last week they will not return to the bargaining table until management ends the lockout, which began on Oct. 1, 2012.

Minnesota Orchestra concerts have been cancelled through May 12.