Management of the Minnesota Orchestra today cancelled all concerts through December 23rd. In a release Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell cited lack of progress in contract negotiations with musicians who management locked out on October 1st. Management cancelled all concerts through Thanksgiving at that time.
"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," Campbell said in the statement. "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."
UPDATE: In an interview this afternoon musicians negotiator Tim Zavadil said the musicians were disappointed by the cancellations. He said it's up to management to end the lock-out and invite the musicians back to the table.
"It's kind of a bullying tactic to blame the victim," he said. "We are the ones who have had our salaries taken away, we've had our health insurance taken away. Our audience is the one who has had its concerts taken away."
Management has tried to reschedule artists booked to perform during the upcoming holidays for roughly the same dates in 2013. Ticketholders can hold on to their tickets for those rescheduled concerts, or turn them in for a refund.
The rescheduled concerts are:
• 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
Earlier this week locked out musicians called on management to avoid any further cancellations.
Meanwhile management and locked out musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are scheduled to negotiate today. Musicians rejected a contract proposal on October 31st, causing management to cancel all SPCO concerts through the end of 2012.
A representative of the musicians said they will be returning to the negotiations with ideas as to how to get talks moving again as opposed to a full contract proposal. There is no end time scheduled for todays meeting.
Can someone please explain why they are cancelling concerts that the orchestra musicians were not playing on like Tonic Sol Fa?
In answer to your question: I checked with Minnesota Orchestra management and learned they felt it was simpler to pull the plug on all concerts. Apparently in similar situations at other orchestras when non-orchestral concerts were left on the schedule there was sufficient confusion and political bad feeling as a result of the labor dispute that the artists usually cancelled the shows of their own accord.
Also while the Tonic Sol Fa show is not on the rescheduled list, the Orchestra is hoping that the group will appear next holiday season. The annual Messiah will also be mounted in 2013, but couldn't be included in the rescheduled list because it is part of the subscription season which complicates re-ticketing.
That is half the story. Management's half. For the other half, go here:
and here (for the unfolding of this heartwarming holiday story, and management's part in it) :
Thanks Amy. We are currently awaiting a response from the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra to today's announcement. EK
What am I missing here? Why isn't management playing ball? Is it time to let the Minnesota Orchestra dissolve and come back as an independent entity? Seems like the MO is being led around by the nose for people who don't appreciate what the musicians do. I know I'm not as informed on this issue as I should be, but what is going on right now really feels wrong to me.
Rex, it is really wrong. Management has decided to destroy the sacred trust they were given, because they can't admit that they lied to the donors the last few years while raising money for the Orchestra Hall remodeling. They kept insisting that they were doing a wonderful job of financial management during the crisis and that all was well, until they'd raised their $100 million. Then, suddenly, we're in a fiscal crisis and the Orchestra can't go on without cutting the artists' salaries by a third or more. They lied to us all.
RexNearAnoka: "Is it time to let the Minnesota Orchestra dissolve and come back as an independent entity?"
I think that's what the board wants. They no longer wish to support a full-time symphony orchestra. Orchestra Hall with its $50 million lobby will become a "rental hall" like Carnegie Hall with a visiting symphony orchestra every now and then. Much easier for them to manage and more profitable. It's all been done in secret by the new manager from England and we are supposed to just accept it.