Musicians Respond to MN Orchestra Canceling Concerts

Updated: 11/08/2012 4:53 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart

Musicians are responding after the the Minnesota Orchestra announced concerts are being postponed or canceled due to contract talks .

All ticket holders of impacted concerts are being contacted and offered a variety of ticket options including the opportunity to exchange tickets for a future concert or receive a refund

The musicians have been locked out since Oct. 1. Negotiations started in April.

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra today made the following statement about management’s decision to cancel more concerts:

“At least the millionaires and billionaires of the National Hockey League are talking.  The board has rejected our offer to meet multiple times, they have rejected arbitration, and they have rejected an independent financial analysis,” Tim Zavadil said.  “Now they have rejected Mayor RT Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council by extending the lockout and canceling more concerts.  The Musicians will now try to ensure that our fans have music for the Holiday season.”

The orchestra's management says contract negotiations with its musicians are at a standstill. Contract talks began in April, but management locked out the musicians on Sept. 30 after the two sides failed to reach a new agreement.

Management's proposal would trim average annual salaries for orchestra members from $135,000 to $89,000.  A union negotiator says big salary cuts would result in a loss of talent.

Minnesota Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell said “We are very disappointed that we are no closer to an agreement today than we were in April. In consideration of the needs of audiences, guest artists and our performance venue to make alternate plans for the holiday season, we feel we have no choice but to cancel performances through December 23. We make this decision with heavy hearts, and once again ask our musicians to return to the negotiating table with a substantive proposal so our concert schedule can resume as soon as possible.”

CEO Michael Henson. “We simply cannot continue operating under the terms of a contract our community cannot afford.”  

Cancelled Concerts:
•    Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, November 30-December 1  
•    Brandenburg Concertos, December 6-8
•    ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, December 8 
•    Tonic Sol-fa, December 10
•    Handel’s Messiah, December 13-16
•    The African Children’s Choir, December 20

Rescheduled Concerts (These programs will be presented during the 2013 Holiday Season with new dates as outlined below)
•    Celtic Woman,  December 7 | rescheduled date TBA
•    Chris Botti Christmas, December 14 | rescheduled date November 29, 2013
•    The Tenors, December 19 | rescheduled date TBA
•    A Scandinavian Christmas, December 20 & 22 | both dates rescheduled for December 21, 2013
•    Jingle Bell Doc, December 21 | rescheduled for December 20, 2013
•    Jingle Bell Doc, December 23 | rescheduled for  December 22, 2013

Minnesota Orchestral Association Ticket Services Representatives will be available to assist with cancelled/rescheduled ticket accommodations via phone at 612-371-5656.  To save time, ticketholders are encouraged to conducting ticketing activity online by clicking here

The Associated Press Contributed to this Report.