Minnesota Orchestra Offers Musicians Negotiation Dates; Cancels thru 6/2; Adds July Concerts


The Minnesota Orchestra Board Negotiating Committee has offered three proposed dates to the Musicians' Union for negotiating sessions at the end of this month. The Orchestra also announced the cancellation of two final weeks in its classical subscription season through June 2, as well as the addition of three weeks of classical concerts in July at Ted Mann Concert Hall.

"Although the musicians have repeated their refusal to bargain with us, we hope that the SPCO's ratification of a new contract can demonstrate a way forward," said Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell. "Members of that excellent orchestra, also based in this community, acknowledged the need to reset costs in order to ensure their organization's financial stability. In that situation, board and musicians came together and bargained throughout a long lockout in order to reach a resolution that the community can afford. We again ask our musicians to return to negotiate in good faith so that we can do the same."

On April 26, the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians' Negotiating Committee addressed the Board in a special meeting and stated that they refused to negotiate until the lockout was lifted. Lifting the lockout under the existing contract would result in the orchestra incurring losses of $500,000 per month. Three days later, the locked out Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra ratified an agreement that calls for 19 percent salary decreases and a 20 percent reduction in the size of the orchestra, ending their seven-month lockout. "Over the five years of their previous contract, SPCO musician salary increases were substantially less than the 19.2 percent increase Minnesota Orchestra musicians enjoyed-making the SPCO's now-ratified concessions comparable to the reductions we've asked of our musicians," said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson.

The Board's proposed negotiating dates fall toward the end of the month on May 20, 21, and 22, in order to allow for the completion of the independent financial review and fundraising feasibility studies that are currently underway. All negotiating sessions would be held with the assistance of a federal mediator. "We look forward to discussing the results of these reports with the musicians," said Board Negotiating Committee Chair Richard Davis. "The musicians have questioned the state of our finances and the additional fundraising capacity that might exist in this community to support their salaries, and these reports will address those pertinent issues. We hope this will be the gateway to further communication that will allow our summer concerts to proceed."

Contract talks between the Orchestral Association and its musicians, who are members of the Twin Cities Musicians' Union (Local 30-73) began a year ago on April 12, 2012. The Orchestral Association's proposal offers a total package averaging $119,000 per musician, including an average salary of $89,000 with $30,000 in benefits per musician. The proposal also includes 10 weeks of paid vacation and up to 26 weeks of paid sick leave. Musicians have not yet put forward a contract counterproposal. In December, the Orchestral Association made public its annual independent audit, conducted by CliftonLarsonAllen, which revealed an operating deficit of $6 million for Fiscal 2012.

Concert Details:

The Orchestra announced cancellation of the two final weeks in its classical subscription season, running from May 16 through June 2, as well as the addition of three weeks of classical programs in July at Ted Mann Concert Hall.

"It is with great regret that the musicians' refusal to negotiate has forced the Orchestra to cancel the final two programs of our subscription season, but with no negotiations currently underway, it is clear that we will not be able to offer these programs," said President and CEO Michael Henson. "We are not willing to give up on our entire season, however, and we've created a summer line-up that draws highlights from the 12-13 classical season. We ask our musicians to return to the bargaining table, so that we have the option to present these summer concerts for our audiences."

The summer concerts are slated to run from Saturday, July 20, to Saturday, August 3, at the University of Minnesota's Ted Mann Concert Hall, conducted by Music Director Osmo Vänskä and Sommerfest Artistic Director Andrew Litton. Concerts, all drawn from the previous classical season, are as follows:


Andrew Litton, conductor
Natasha Paremski, piano

ELGAR Enigma Variations
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3
RESPIGHI The Fountains of Rome

Osmo Vänskä, conductor

SIBELIUS Symphony No. 3
SIBELIUS Symphony No. 6
DVORÁK Symphony No. 9, From the New World

Andrew Litton, conductor
Andrew Staupe, piano

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 7
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2
STRAVINSKY Suite from The Firebird (1919)

Tickets to all concerts are $45 with general admission seating. Concertgoers who held tickets to the 2012-13 season can exchange these for summer programs online at minnesotaorchestra.org/change, or via phone at 612-371-5656. Tickets go on sale today.

Concert Cancellation Detail: All ticketholders will be contacted directly by the Orchestra to outline ticketing options.

Cancelled Concerts:
• Varga and Mozart, May 16-18
• Dvo?ák's New World Symphony, May 31-June 2
• Inside the Classics, July 25 (This program was announced as part of the 2012-13 Inside the Classics season but will no longer be presented as part of the Orchestra's Summer 2013 season.)

The Minnesota Orchestra Box Office will be directly in touch with concertgoers who hold tickets to cancelled concerts to share the following:

• Ticketholders may exchange their cancelled tickets now to a future concert. All related fees will be waived.

• Ticketholders may keep their tickets until a new contract is in place and performances resume. The Orchestra will bank the value of these tickets in the ticketholder's account and keep in touch by mail. When a settlement is reached, the Orchestra will contact ticketholders to reactivate the value of their tickets for a future concert. Subscribers may also request to roll over their unused series tickets and apply the full value of these tickets to their 2013014 season renewal.

• Ticketholders may exchange their cancelled tickets now to a future concert. All related fees will be waived.

• Ticketholders may consider the full face value of their unused tickets a tax-deductible contribution to the Minnesota Orchestral Association.

• Ticketholders may request a refund for the full value of their tickets or series including related fees.

Minnesota Orchestral Association Ticket Services Representatives will be available to assist with ticket accommodations for cancelled or rescheduled concerts via phone at 612-371-5656. To save time, ticketholders are encouraged to conduct ticketing activity online at minnesotaorchestra.org/change.