Famed Conductor Resigns From Minn. Orchestra

Updated: 10/01/2013 6:55 PM KSTP.com By: Beth McDonough

The future of the current MN Orchestra is being called into question.

This comes after the resignation of its famed Music Conductor, Osmo Vanska.

During the year long labor lockout, Vanska insisted if the planned concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York were canceled, he would step down. He followed through on his threat.

Vanska joined the MN Orchestra 10 years ago, vowing to elevate music here to the highest of the highs.  He leaves with it at the lowest of the lows. Vanska's departure is emotional and pivotal. And right now, it's the only issue both sides agree on, "we've built up an incredible golden age at the Minnesota Orchestra and to watch that go down the drain is devastating," says Tim Zavadil a clarinist and union member.

Jon Campbell with the MN Orchestra management says, "we struggle with balance, we're sorry to see this wonderful music director leave, we're sorry to see musicians move on, but we have to balance this with our long term future."

Vanska's resignation is immediate. He wouldn't comment on new job prospects in person, but in a letter to the board he "wishes the orchestra all the best in the future."

Vanska is the latest and highest-profile musician to leave. Since the bitter standoff started last year, 23 performers have moved on. Some who remain, took the stage at Hopkins High School practicing in front of budding artists. Afterward, Tony Ross, a celloist, sounded off, "you cannot go out and massively hire 100 new players, play a great repertoire that we play, it does not happen."

At this point, musicians and management are at an impasse: $1.5 million apart in their negotiations.  The newest proposal would make orchestra members in Minneapolis the 12th highest paid in the country, "I'd like to be the highest paid too, but the reality is we can do what the community can afford," according to Campbell.

The first concert of the season was supposed to be Friday, not anymore.

72 musicians are going out on their own, holding concerts instead at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the U of M campus this Friday and Saturday.

No new meetings are planned between management and the musicians.