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Home » Orchestra News » Minnesota Orchestra Loses Music Director

Minnesota Orchestra Loses Music Director


As a result of the ongoing musician lockout, Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä resigned from his position October 1, after orchestra management canceled scheduled concerts at Carnegie Hall. Vänskä had warned that he would leave the orchestra if it was not able begin rehearsing in time to save those concerts. This was a devastating loss, as Vänskä had significantly raised the orchestra’s profile and artistic level since he was named music director in 2001. Minnesota Orchestra’s long-time artistic advisor, composer Aaron Jay Kernis, resigned the same day.

Minnesota Orchestra musicians made every effort to avoid this scenario, offering two concessionary proposals September 30, which management did not even consider. The musicians had previously rejected an offer that would have cut salaries by 25%. That proposal included a potential $20,000 signing bonus for each musician—money to cover bonuses had been raised by a board member—but the musicians said that the money should instead be used to allow for a play-and-talk period, as outlined in the proposal from mediator and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

Immediately following his resignation, Vänskä conducted two musician-produced concerts featuring pianist Emanuel Ax of Local 802 (New York City). He stated that he conducted the performances as a farewell to the community. Tickets for the performance were so in demand that the musicians added a third concert, which sold out in just 30 minutes.

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