The protracted employment dispute between management and players of the Minnesota Orchestra ‒ which has continued despite the threat of resignation by its conductor ‒ today led Osmo Vänskä to announce that he will indeed terminate his contract, saying it was ‘a very sad day for me’.
‘I send my deepest thanks to everyone involved for what we have achieved together’ says a statement released by Vänskä’s management company, ‘and I wish the Minnesota Orchestra all the very best for its future.’
The announcement comes one year after the orchestra was locked out by its management after talks over pay and conditions broke down. The management’s initial proposal included salary cuts of up to 50%, a severe position given some weight when a record budget deficit was of $6m (£3.8m) was reported in December 2012.
Vänskä first threatened to resign in April this year and had set a deadline of 9 September for talks to have led to a way forward for the orchestra.
Today’s statement reflects his sadness that this did not occur: ‘Over ten years ago I was honoured to be invited to take up this position. I moved from Finland to the Twin Cities. At that time I made clear my belief that the Minnesota Orchestra could become one of the very greatest international ensembles. During the intervening years I have had the privilege of seeing that belief vindicated through the skill, hard work and commitment of this wonderful group of players and with the valued support of the Board of Directors, management and administration team, volunteers, as well as our exceptional community.’
A protest had already been planned to take place today at 5.30pm local time marking the date when players will have been ‘locked-out from Orchestra Hall By the Minnesota Orchestral Association without pay and benefits for a full year’.