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Minnesota unfreezes for one night only – Grammy time

The Minnesota Orchestra, whose musicians have been locked out for four months by a brutal management, will give a one-off concert on February 1, ahead of the Grammy awards. The orch has been nominated for Best Orchestral Performance, a recording of Sibelius’s 2nd and 5th symphonies, and the city’s mayor R T Rybak has asked both sides to call a two-day truce and show some pride in their institution with a concert of those two works.


The concert will be conducted by music director Osmo Vanskaa. It is, by any objective standards, a non-musical event in which any human harmony will be incidental. The orchestra’s president, Michael Henson, is spending $50 million on a new lobby while demanding 33 percent cuts and several job losses from the musicians.

Hension issued the following exacerbating statement, implictly placing all the blame on the musicians:

“We share pride in this Grammy nomination and appreciate that the mayor understands the importance of this cultural institution and the need for it to be financially sustainable in the future.”

It’s Arctic out there in Minnesota.


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  1. “Vanskaa”

    I’ve noticed that form a few times on this blog. Hot tip: you can cut and paste the name “Vänskä” from the Minnesota Orch web page if you don’t have an “ä” key in your keyboard.

  2. Stereophonic says:

    They need to be rid of Henson,a boring pen pusher as we found out in Bournemouth

  3. Henson is toast – he HAS to communicate that way.

    It’s not just the mayor sponsoring this concert – it’s Judy Dayton, a long-time philanthropist, member of a “founding family”, and distant relative by marriage of the Governor. I had heard that at least one big donor to the MOA was furious at the MOA’s antics.

    Karma continues to be a you-know-what.

  4. Amy Adams says:

    Mayor Rybak and Ms. Dayton’s invitation to play is beautiful and finessed. How could a board member sit through this locked out season…and how could a board member gracefully stay away?
    Even though “labor” is the one making the music, the music speaks for everyone, and will perhaps do the most to speed talks.

  5. Amy Adams says:

an ArtsJournal blog