George Mitchell, who brokered N. Ireland peace, is mediating MN Orchestra deadlock

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 Feb. 1, 2013.
MPR Photo/Euan Kerr

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell is leading the attempt to begin mediation on the long-running lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Neither side in the Orchestra dispute will confirm or deny that Mitchell, who brokered a deal between the warring sides in Northern Ireland and served as a special envoy to the Middle East, is leading attempts at mediation.

George Mitchell
Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell served in Major League Baseball's performance-enhancing drug investigation, led peace talks in Northern Ireland's Good Friday accords and was appointed a special envoy for Middle East peace by President Obama.
Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

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Musicians representative Blois Olson said, "We are respecting the process that Gov. Dayton proposed and continue to pursue a start to mediation to resolve this dispute." A representative of Orchestra management also had no comment on whether Mitchell is involved.

However, a source familiar with the situation did confirm Mitchell's participation.

This week: Both sides in MnOrch dispute mum over claim of an impending musician vote

Management locked out the musicians Oct. 1, 2012, and the sides are now deadlocked. They face an early September deadline set by conductor Osmo Vanska, who says he'll resign if there is no resolution by then.