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Just in: Minnesota Orchestra offers talks to musicians

Faced with an inquiry in the state legislature, the Minnesota orchestra board has offered two dates next month when it might be willing to speak to the musicians, without the preconditions it previously set.

This is not much by way of progress. But it is the first chink of weakness in the embattled organisation. Meanwhuile, the musicians remain locked out over Christmas and the New Year.

Here’s the AP report:


MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Orchestra is canceling more concerts but also inviting its locked-out musicians back to the bargaining table.


The orchestra’s board announced Friday that shows would be canceled through Feb. 10. But the board also offered two dates in early January as possibilities for musicians to return to contract talks “without any preconditions.”


Previously, the board had insisted it would negotiate only if musicians came in with a contract proposal.


Board chairman Jon Campbell tells the Star Tribune the board believed it was time “to invite everyone to come back and talk.”


In a news release, musicians said they want clarifications before considering the offer.


There have been no negotiations since musicians were locked out on Oct. 1.


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  1. Wing-chi Chan says:

    It is time for the state of Minnesota to consider placing an official “receivership” upon the Minnesota Orchestra which is a tax-exampt entity. Also this could be a voice orchestraing and bottoming up from the musicians and public voters of the state.

    It has been unlawful and unethical that the Board of the Orchestra treating the musicians as their obedient servants and financial asset of the Orchsetra as their personal business property. Running an orchestra in a form of making-profit business is the root of its failure. From the words releasing from its Board, I only see a group of monsters with no dedication, nor respect rendered to the performing artists, who,
    unlike technicians in any other industry, all have to spend decades of learning and practice for becoming professional musicians. They are unreplaceable. On contrary, its Board and the management staff should be totally replaced ASAP!!

  2. Jon Campbell: ”We believed it was time to invite everyone to come back and talk”…
    Now is the time, eh? Right when you’re publicly scolded by your lawmakers. What was wrong with talking last week, or last month, or in September?

    (Is that the festive sound of paper-shredders operating that I hear…?)

  3. Stephen Carpenter says:

    Is anyone noticing how adolescent this is?
    Maybe the players in the agenda for destroying the orchestra overplayed their hand?
    I’d love to be a little mouse in that room when they meet to see who says what first.

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      The term “players” needs explanation, I think. Do you mean those on both sides, and not just the musicians?

      I find the situation reeking of cut-throat business tactics. Most adolescents are not this vindictive and unforgiving over a long period of time. The legislature’s interest in the use of state government monies has perhaps captured the attention of management.

    • What would have been even better would have been to be at the Minnesota Orchestral Association’s annual closed-door meeting at the swanky Minneapolis Club on December 6…which (coincidentally?) is the same day that legislators contacted Mr. Henson and Mr. Campbell. Presumably the two men had to drop the news in-person to the entire board of directors. That meeting ran overtime. I know because I had blog readers waiting outside the Club. News cameras were brought into the building, but no video of anything ever emerged. We obviously don’t know for sure, but of course you have to wonder if there was some kind of canceled press conference or interview. It seems likely that some board members are upset. It will be interesting to see if in the coming weeks some jump ship or vocalize their displeasure with Henson and Campbell. I would think if you’re a business person in the Twin Cities, you wouldn’t be too keen on the prospect of being associated with a non-profit that the state is investigating for misuse of misleading testimony and taxpayer dollars…

  4. Something tells me Mr. Henson is getting coal in his stocking . . . he didn’t deliver, and quickly. So now its blowing up. In contrast, the musicians are giving US the MUSIC (last Sunday’s concert was the best Beethoven I have EVER HEARD). They are the ones who have been respectful, articulate, and full of class. THEY are the grownups in this scenario.

    Unlock the music! Occupy the MOA!

    Now, on to the SPCO . . . .

  5. As an observer in California, I look forward to seeing these two corporate clowns, Campbell and Hensen, go before the state lawmakers to defend their dishonesty with more lies and get themselves be charged with perjury in court.

  6. Meanwhile- It’s business as Usual upstairs…

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