Lockout has hurt community, Orchestra patrons say

Young musicians, who have benefitted from the training of the Minnesota Orchestra's talented performers, played at a rally Friday where community members called for an end to the Orchestra lockout.

The nearly year-long lockout of Minnesota Orchestra musicians has been devastating to the quality of music in the Twin Cities and to the community as a whole, members of Save Our Symphony said at a rally Friday, where they called on management to bring the musicians back to work.

A large crowd gathered outside Orchestra Hall, where a gala celebration was being held by the Orchestra Association. Nils Halker, speaking for Save Our Symphony, said orchestra patrons were appalled.

"We are quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the lockout imposed by the board and management of the Minnesota Orchestral Association, led by Richard Davis of US Bank, Jon Campbell of Wells Fargo and Michael Henson, president of the MOA," Halker said.

"The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra were locked out. Devoted patrons of the Minnesota Orchestra were locked out. Students were locked out. The community was locked out . . . We believe that a lockout is no time for a party! Time is running out, there is serious, hard work to be done. Let’s end this lockout and then — and only then — hold a grand party!"

Members of the Twin Cities Musicians Union employed by the Minnesota Orchestra have been locked out since last Oct. 1, 2012. Health insurance and all other benefits were cut off without notice, and a large portion of the season was cancelled.

Management's contract proposal includes 30% to 50% pay cuts to musician salaries, as well as healthcare cost increases that would amount to $5000-$8000 annually per musician. Meanwhile, the board has refused to submit to an independent financial analysis and has spent $52 million on renovations to the Orchestra Hall lobby.

SOSMN is a grassroots group of orchestra patrons and music-lovers devoted to pursuing concrete actions to ensure that Minneapolis maintains a world-class orchestra.

  • The MOA Board has given us a textbook example of how to ruin a cultural icon while dancing to their own tone-deaf tune. - by Michael Comins on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 9:40am
  • Those Young Musicians of Minnesota (YMM) in the photo are our future! Let's save it for them! - by Sarah Nagle on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 9:48am
  • They don't care about triads, they care about green pieces of paper in their coffers. - by Todd Madson on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 10:01am
  • Fact of the matter is that the board is suppose to raise funds. If they cannot they are not performing their task. It is time for board reorganization. Where are voices of our labor leaders on this one ? And furthermore the voices of the Lin DFL ? This is a statewide travesty. There should be public outrage but there doesn't seem to be. What will it take to remove this board ? - by Joe Musich on Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:15pm
  • WE know this is a lynchpin organization that when it disintegrates, will have a ripple effect for years, to rebuild, reenergize new orchestra members, to reestablish the huge community that revolves around these best players. Young, old, university students, community groups all depend on this key organization to provide leadership, that's experience, that's stellar, ensemble playing, its not a newbie orchestra. - by Amy Hinrichs on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 5:26pm
  • Actually for the record, the ENTIRE 2012-2013 was cancelled due to the lockout. And there is nothing in store at this point for 2013-2014. Fortunately there is a pretty new party room available for rent at Orchestra Hall! - by Elizabeth Prielozny Barnes on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 9:00pm
  • Yes, Michael Comins, the MOA must be tone-deaf. Will these bankers and executives be happy once they get their way? I hope they have trouble sleeping at night. - by Erika Sacks-White on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 11:25am