Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

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John F
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Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:50 am

The players may find this offer hard to refuse, though their first response has predictably been negative. If they aren't back at work in time for their Carnegie Hall dates, they may lose their music director Osmo Vanska, who has stuck with them all this time.

August 29, 2013
Minnesota Orchestra’s Board Makes a New Proposal to Musicians
By MICHAEL COOPER

With the clock counting down to the Minnesota Orchestra’s Sept. 15 deadline to reach an accord in a labor dispute, the orchestra’s board made a new proposal to the musicians on Thursday in the hopes of jump-starting the stalled mediation process.

The board’s proposal called for the players to return to work on Sept. 30 and to work for two months under their old contract. Then, if no new agreement is reached, the musicians would work for the next two years with their base pay cut by nearly a quarter. (Last year, the musicians rejected a proposal that would have cut their base pay by roughly a third, leading management to lock out the performers.)

The musicians had favored a proposal that was put forward earlier this summer by an independent mediator. That proposal, which management rejected, would have brought the players back to work for two months under their old contract and then for two more months at a 6 percent pay cut while the two sides negotiate. Musicians favored that proposal because it would have allowed the orchestra to play two Carnegie Hall concerts in November and retain the orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vanska, who has threatened to quit if those concerts are canceled. But management worried that the short-term deal would widen the orchestra’s deficit but would not allow them to guarantee a full season to subscribers.

The board said that its latest proposal would still leave the orchestra with a $2.2 million deficit. “Our aim was to eliminate our deficit entirely,’’ Jon Campbell, the chairman of the board, said in a statement, “but the board has put forward this compromise in the hopes of getting musicians back on stage and audiences back in Orchestra Hall in time to launch a new season.”

The musicians were cool to the proposal. “The offer management presented is the same offer the musicians unanimously rejected a few weeks ago,’’ they said in a statement. “The musicians accepted the mediator’s proposal, and we urge management to accept it and return to the table to negotiate in good faith.”

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... musicians/
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:12 am

September 5, 2013
Minnesota Orchestra Musicians Reject Latest Contract Offer
By MICHAEL COOPER

The labor standoff that cost the Minnesota Orchestra its entire last season, and is imperiling the coming season, was extended on Thursday, when the orchestra’s locked-out players voted to reject the latest contract offer put forward by management.

The offer that the musicians rejected was made last week. It called for the players to return to work for two months at their old salaries, and then, if no new deal was struck, to work for two years with their base pay cut by nearly a quarter.

The musicians called on the orchestra’s board to accept a proposal made this summer by George J. Mitchell, the former senator and Middle East envoy, who is acting as a mediator in the dispute. That proposal, which the management rejected earlier, would bring the players back to work for two months under their old contract, to be followed by two months at a 6 percent pay cut while the two sides negotiated.

Time is running out. The orchestra’s music director, Osmo Vanska, has said that the players must be back at work by Sept. 30 to get ready to play a pair of concerts at Carnegie Hall scheduled for November, and he has threatened to resign if the concerts are canceled. To meet that deadline, management has said that it needs to reach a deal with the musicians by Sept. 15.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... act-offer/
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:18 pm

Orchestra CEO, musician lock horns in studio faceoff

Minnesota Public Radio | 11:06 AM, September 13, 2013, updated 5:24 PM, September 13, 2013

Opposing sides in the Minnesota Orchestra lockout had a rare face-to-face meeting Friday on The Daily Circuit [An MPR program], and the result was a contentious conversation that left little hope for a resolution anytime soon.

Michael Henson, president and CEO, said repeatedly that management would be willing to meet over the weekend to try to end the dispute. Kevin Watkins, a negotiator on the musicians' side, emphasized that only a meeting with the mediator held any prospect for success. Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell has been working to mediate the negotiations.

The pressure to reach a deal to the nearly year-long lockout is intense this weekend because of a series of deadlines leading to scheduled performances this November at Carnegie Hall. Music Director Osmo Vanska has warned that he will resign if the orchestra fails to keep that engagement.

Watkins and Henson were able to agree on virtually nothing during the confrontation, save for a grudging acknowledgment that each side wanted to get back to making music.

Among the points on which the two failed to agree:

• The musicians' counteroffer. Henson said the musicians had failed to make one; Watkins said that the musicians' proposal for binding arbitration was exactly that.

• The cost of the mediator's proposal. Henson said a reported proposal to resume performances under the terms of the old contract would cost the orchestra $3 million. Watkins called that "simply misleading and untrue," and said the actual figure would be closer to $1.4 million.

During the period when Orchestra Hall was closed for remodeling, "They were going to put forward a season in the Convention Center," Watkins said. "They would have lost millions in the Convention Center in lower revenue and increased costs. They were willing to lose millions in the Convention Center last year, but now they're not willing to spend somewhere around $1.4 ... to save the music director, to save Carnegie Hall, to save the recording series, to save the orchestra."

• The state of the orchestra's finances. Watkins said the musicians cannot trust management because of its lack of transparency about its numbers. "There is no trust in the leadership of this orchestra. It's not that we don't trust the unqualified audits. It's that we don't trust that those deficits needed to be achieved, that there wasn't a better way to run the orchestra over the last two years. It's apparent that there was a recovery, and the recovery happened everywhere else in America, apparently, except for Minneapolis."

"The reason we don't trust these numbers is we've heard so many different things all along," he said.

Henson countered, "We are probably the most financially analyzed orchestra in the history of America." He cited the orchestra's own audit, an investigation by the state auditor and an independent analysis. "We have these problems. We produced these figures and if the musicians don't like these figures, we produced 1,500 pages of information to them through many, many months."

"We now need to put any of the hurt behind us ... sit down over the weekend, get this resolved and move forward. The big truth is, we have a huge financial problem. The musicians need to accept this."

• The reason for the lockout. "Our members have been locked out," Watkins said, "and the lockout, to them, has been seen as a convenience, in that the hall was under construction. The orchestra was going to lose millions putting on a season ... and so this was a win-win. Break the musicians, and save a lot of money."

Henson said, "We took that lockout very seriously ... We tried to negotiate. We had multiple meetings. We put forward a proposal right at the start, realizing we were looking at concessions, and how do we negotiate? The reason the lockout occurred was because we saw no intent to negotiate at that stage.

"If we'd actually seen some movement, some willingness to actually negotiate, put a proposal on the table, the lockout would never have happened. We took that with a very heavy heart, but we took it because we actually wanted to try and move the situation forward."

• Management's representations to the state Legislature while seeking bonding for Orchestra Hall. Watkins told Henson, "You went before the state Legislature and deliberately misled them as to the state of our finances." Henson replied, "The state auditor came in and investigated us, spent six weeks with his accounts department looking at us, and he found that we had behaved completely appropriately."

Henson suggested that the two sides should meet at 9 a.m. Saturday. Outside the studio, a musicians' representative said no such proposal had been received.

THE LATEST ON THE LOCKOUT:

• Sept. 13: Without Osmo Vanska, some say Minnesota Orchestra could lose its way.

Without a successful resolution, internationally acclaimed Music Director Osmo Vanska may soon resign. The question of whether Vanska stays or leaves has become a central concern in the contract dispute and almost year-long lockout of musicians by orchestra management. Without him, many say, the orchestra could lose its way. (MPR News)

• Sept. 12: A new Orchestra Hall is ready -- and waiting.

Orchestra officials took media on a tour Thursday morning to show off the results of the year-long $52 million renovation project. (MPR News)

• Sept. 11: Rep. Ellison urges Minn. Orchestra to accept mediator's plan.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison today called upon the board of the Minnesota Orchestra to accept a proposal put forward by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who is acting as a mediator in the ongoing dispute with musicians. The deal included ending the 11-month long lockout and having musicians return to work for two months under the terms of their old contract while talks continued towards finding a new contract. (MPR News)

• MnOrch Musicians reveal counterproposal; management critical of request for higher pay.

The musicians are trying to take the steam out of management protests that musicians have not put forward a counterproposal to the contract orchestra officials offered in April, 2012. (MPR News)

• Sept. 10: Vanska eases deadline in orchestra contract talks.

In a letter in May, Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vanska set a Sept. 9 deadline for a start of rehearsals for both a recording session for a new disc and to prepare for November concerts at Carnegie Hall. Calling on management and musicians to resolve the ongoing contract dispute, Vanska said if the orchestra was not prepared for the Carnegie concerts he would be forced to resign. The recording session has now been postponed until the spring, and in a written statement presented to a Minnesota Orchestra Board meeting, Vanska said rehearsals need to begin in the week of Sept. 30 for the Carnegie shows. Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson says that, for logistical reasons, this means there needs to be an agreement with musicians by Sept. 15. (MPR News)

• Sept: 5: In Minn. Orchestra dispute, both sides say 'ball is in their court.'

The offer was for two months of play and talk — that is, an end to the lockout that allows the musicians work under the terms of the old contract while talks continued to try to reach a new contract. However, under the offer, if there was no agreement after two months, a two-year contract would go into effect that would include a 25-percent pay cut. (MPR News)

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/displa ... ra-lockout
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by piston » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:57 pm

I guess our beloved former senator Mitchell, from Waterville, ME, whose orphaned Irish father was adopted by a Lebanese family, did not do so well in this particular instance.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned....(Paul Valéry)

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:11 pm

For a while now, I have been reading through the comments following the article I posted yesterday. One is by a woman named Emily E Hogstad who is the writer of a blog called Song of the Lark. She has provided pretty strong evidence that the orchestral management has been acting in bad faith all along, and that the lockout was planned 5 months before it actually took place. Here is her post:

How SaveOurSymphonyMN.org Was Named

By Emily E Hogstad | The Song of the Lark | August 21, 2013 · 2:39 pm

At this point, few things trigger my rage at the Minnesota Orchestral Association. Lying about fiscal stability in front of the state legislature? Sure, whatever. Old news. Shrugging at the potential loss of all their principal players and world-renowned conductor? Yup. That happens. Completely ignoring important patrons and donors? Par. Fore. Expletive-Deleted. Course. I mean, of course the lockout upsets me – hence the year’s worth of obsessive writing - but it no longer makes me want to start throwing suitcases around in a fit of incoherent rage like the American Tourister gorilla.

But I swear, my suitcases were in serious danger the other night.

It was right before bed. It was late. I was doing a favor for some friends and looking up a domain name for an organization they were thinking of launching. But it turns out, the name they were curious about wasn’t available. Someone else had bought it. And it was a really absurdly specific one, too: saveourminnesotaorchestra.org.

Out of curiosity, I checked the owners. And my mouth dropped open.

[Here, she posted a screenshot which I cannot copy. It shows that the domain had already been bought by the Minnesota Orchestra Association.]

And I looked at the date and I started hurling screamed expletives out the open window.

[The next screenshot shows the domain was registered 2012-05-24.]

In case you’re just joining us, THE LOCKOUT DIDN’T START UNTIL OCTOBER 2012.


Why SaveOurMinnesotaOrchestra.org? Well, I found out the next day that in the spring of 2012, Michael Henson took a jaunt to Detroit to discuss shared challenges with the management team there. One of the shared challenges? An uppity audience. The rabble-rousing done by members of Save Our Symphony rubbed their management team the wrong way, and it seems the Detroit management might have had a word with Mr. Henson to be on the lookout for a sister organization forming over here. I have a hard time imagining that the Detroit trip and this domain name shopping spree were unconnected.

So. While you were attending the last show in the old Orchestra Hall – earnestly cutting checks for the Building for the Future campaign – flipping through your shiny brochures for the 2012-13 season – the Minnesota Orchestra was spending money (presumably, your money) in a concerted attempt to buy a domain name relating to “saving the orchestra.” (Implication: they knew a big persuasive chunk of people in the future would view their actions as destructive, and they knew they had to guard against those people.)

Oh, but wait, you say. Yes, this sounds awful, initially, but maybe the MOA wanted to keep the name on hand for a fundraising effort!

Nope. Wasn’t done for a fundraising effort. Want to know why I know?


BECAUSE THE MINNESOTA ORCHESTRAL ASSOCIATION BOUGHT UP ALL THE FOLLOWING DOMAINS, TOO. And I have the screenshots to prove it.

savetheminnesotaorchestra.com

savethemnorchestra.com

savethemnorchestra.org

saveourorchestra.com

saveourorchestra.net

saveourorchestra.org

saveourminnesotaorchestra.com

saveourminnesotaorchestra.org

saveourminnesotaorchestra.net

saveourmnorchestra.com

saveourmnorchestra.org

savetheorchestra.com

savetheorchestra.org

Yes, on May 24 and May 25, 2012 (2012!), they bought all those domain names, anticipating the moment when the audience would connect with Save our Symphony in Detroit and unleash pro-musician havoc into our corner of the world. If it was for a fundraising campaign, they should have chosen one or two and stuck with them.

I don’t know the MOA’s side of the story since the MOA doesn’t reply to me, and never will reply to me, except to tell me to shut up. In the immortal words of Michael Henson in a closed-door donor meeting that one of my readers was at: “Blogs are senseless and must be ignored.” Maybe at some point the MOA will speak to the mainstream press about this. But until the MOA explains what the heck is going on here, do you want to know what this looks like?

This looks like deliberate, predatory domain buying meant to outwit and irritate angry patrons and donors.

This looks like the MOA colluding even more intensely with Detroit than we’ve been led to believe.

This looks like the destruction was premeditated and preordained from the beginning. From BEFORE the beginning.

This looks like the MOA didn’t just want to pick a fight with musicians.

This looks like the MOA wanted to pick a fight with their patrons.

[insert your rage here]

Well. You know what, MOA? If you thought the following scenario was ever going to play out, you’re even more fricking delusional than I thought…and as you know, I think you’re pretty fricking delusional already.


Minnesota Orchestral Association: Institutes major work stoppage

Public: Gets angry

Minnesota Orchestral Association: Does nothing

Public: I will not STAND for this anymore! In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I’m going to investigate putting my extremely valuable time, energy, and money into an organized effort to amplify the frustration of the community!

Public: Oh Noez! My first choice name for a group was picked! I’m going to give up now!

Obviously that scenario never did play out, and never will play out.

And amusingly, for all their apparent concern over Save Our Symphony in Detroit, the MOA missed the most obvious domain name of all: Save Our Symphony Minnesota.

And that’s the story behind how saveoursymphonymn.org was named. And an example of why 1100 people liked it on Facebook its first day alone.

http://songofthelark.wordpress.com/2013 ... was-named/
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:15 pm

And here's another post at another blog called Adaptistration, about the orchestra management issues in general, by one Drew McManus:

So Much For Good Faith Bargaining

By Drew McManus | Adaptistration | August 22, 2013

The increasingly resourceful Emily E. Hogstad posted a fascinating exposé on 8/21/2013 which reveals the Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA) purchased 13 domain names associated with typical audience support efforts during labor disputes. The smoking gun here is according to WHOIS records, all of the domain names were registered for a period of two years on the purchase dates of 5/24/12 and 5/25/12.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most folks won’t be shocked to learn that the MOA was digging the proverbial trenches for a long term siege well in advance of talks officially breaking down. Simply put, it is a clear indication that the employer had little to no intention for negotiating in good faith. [Emphasis mine. RebLem]

The real head-scratcher here is how brazen the MOA’s domain squatting efforts are. For instance, the WHOIS records clearly indicate that the MOA purchased and currently owns the domain names and made the deliberate decision not to register the names with what is known as domain privacy; which does an enormously effectively job at masking the owner’s identity. The service is inexpensive and can be applied at the same moment the domain name is registered.

Moreover, domain names can be registered for as short as one year but the MOA decided to increase costs and go for the two year registrations. The decision brings up more questions than it answers with regard to professed claims of prudent fiscal management. [Emphasis mine. It also demonstrates that they planned for a 2 year siege, a further indication that the management was not negotiating in good faith. RebLem]

Speaking Of Dubious Tactics During Labor Disputes

Anyone with a burning desire to get wind of the MOA’s intentions during this critical period of Osmo Vanska’s impending resignation deadline would be wise to consider the following orchestra operations insider nuggets:

Orchestras that expect to perform in venues they don’t own or operate usually have some form of minimum cancellation clause with a 30-90 day advance notice. If someone knew a venue the MOA was prepared to use, s/he could always contact the venue’s administrative office and inquire about whether the facility was available for rent on the date the MOA would have occupied the space. This line of reasoning could be extended to transportation, lighting and sound equipment rentals, catering, and related services associated with the respective event(s).

Orchestras book guest artists (conductors, soloists, acts, etc.) one or more in advance and usually have some form of minimum cancellation clause with a 30-90 day advance notice. If someone knew which guest artists the MOA reserved for September through November, 2013 you could contact the artist and/or his/her representation inquiring about availability during what would have otherwise been a date reserved for the MOA.

Do you see the trend yet?

Pretty much any service, facility, or consumable an orchestra would need to arrange related to an event is something that can likely be tracked. In fact, cancellations can even go in the opposite direction, as was the recent decision from the MOA’s record label, BIS, to cancel upcoming recording sessions in September, 2013 (details).

http://www.adaptistration.com/blog/2013 ... argaining/
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Seán » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:27 pm

piston wrote:I guess our beloved former senator Mitchell, from Waterville, ME, whose orphaned Irish father was adopted by a Lebanese family, did not do so well in this particular instance.
Off topic I know, US Senator George Mitchell, who served as Chairman of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland, is held in very high regard in Ireland, he has done a great deal for this country and I certainly wish him well in trying to find a way of resolving this terrible situation.
Seán

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:41 pm

For some reason I cannot fathom (he is not a francophone), one of my university professor of music Facebook friends shared a link to this article from Le Monde online. I don't expect anyone except maybe piston and Marc to be interested in reading it (although if you have decent French I'll tell you that I understood every word) but the point is that this story has made news abroad in a major journalistic organ.

http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/ ... n_ref_map=[]

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:19 am

At last, the orchestra's administration and board have put together enough local support to make a contract offer the musicians might conceivably accept. It's still tough, amounting to a pay cut of about 25%; how would you feel about a pay cut of $30,000 a year? But time is running out.

September 26, 2013
Minnesota Orchestra Makes Contract Offer to Musicians
By JAMES R. OESTREICH

The Minnesota Orchestra announced Thursday that it had made a fourth contract offer to its players, who have been locked out since Oct. 1 and missed an entire season of concerts.

The new proposal offers the players an annual average salary of $104,500 and a signing bonus of $20,000, made possible by special financing provided by a group of Minnesota foundations and community support organizations.

The proposal is to expire at noon on Monday. Next week has been specified by Osmo Vanska, the orchestra’s music director, as the latest the orchestra can begin rehearsing for its new season, which includes important concerts at Carnegie Hall in early November. The musicians’ salaries have been the main issue in the dispute. Under their last contract the players were making an annual average salary of $135,000.

Management, which has been trying to eliminate a $6 million annual deficit, says that this contract, if accepted, will yield a $3.6 million deficit over three years.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... musicians/
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:37 pm

John F wrote:At last, the orchestra's administration and board have put together enough local support to make a contract offer the musicians might conceivably accept. It's still tough, amounting to a pay cut of about 25%; how would you feel about a pay cut of $30,000 a year? But time is running out.
If I had purchased a house based on that previous income, or was putting my kids thru college, or paying alimony, faced with a $30,000 shortfall I would be extremely concerned, and probably still reluctant to accept a cut of that magnitude...
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:11 pm

John F wrote:At last, the orchestra's administration and board have put together enough local support to make a contract offer the musicians might conceivably accept. It's still tough, amounting to a pay cut of about 25%; how would you feel about a pay cut of $30,000 a year? But time is running out.

September 26, 2013
Minnesota Orchestra Makes Contract Offer to Musicians
By JAMES R. OESTREICH

The Minnesota Orchestra announced Thursday that it had made a fourth contract offer to its players, who have been locked out since Oct. 1 and missed an entire season of concerts.

The new proposal offers the players an annual average salary of $104,500 and a signing bonus of $20,000, made possible by special financing provided by a group of Minnesota foundations and community support organizations.

The proposal is to expire at noon on Monday. Next week has been specified by Osmo Vanska, the orchestra’s music director, as the latest the orchestra can begin rehearsing for its new season, which includes important concerts at Carnegie Hall in early November. The musicians’ salaries have been the main issue in the dispute. Under their last contract the players were making an annual average salary of $135,000.
Management, which has been trying to eliminate a $6 million annual deficit, says that this contract, if accepted, will yield a $3.6 million deficit over three years.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... musicians/
John - where is this info coming from?? The AF of M provides detailed information on all contracts of US orchestras. the most recent contract of Minnesota provided a minimum weekly salary of $111,566. this contract expired on 10/1/12, and the new contract has not been agreed upon - hence the dispute and lockout.

A salary figure of $135K would put Minnesota on equal pay scale with the NYPO, and ahead of Boston...this is definitely not the case.
So a more accurate description of the pay cut would be from $111K to 104K.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by piston » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:22 pm

I don't think you meant a weekly salary. In any case, we all have entered the age of "accountability" in public-funded services. Minnesota musicians may be found to have been overpaid if they don't compete on the big scene with NYC and Boston. Personally, I think S.F. musicians still have to prove that they belong in that top league and they rank among the best paid in the nation. Should musician salaries be about the cost of living in the city where they perform or about money-making perfornances and recordings?
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:57 pm

Heck148 wrote:
John F wrote:At last, the orchestra's administration and board have put together enough local support to make a contract offer the musicians might conceivably accept. It's still tough, amounting to a pay cut of about 25%; how would you feel about a pay cut of $30,000 a year? But time is running out.

September 26, 2013
Minnesota Orchestra Makes Contract Offer to Musicians
By JAMES R. OESTREICH

The Minnesota Orchestra announced Thursday that it had made a fourth contract offer to its players, who have been locked out since Oct. 1 and missed an entire season of concerts.

The new proposal offers the players an annual average salary of $104,500 and a signing bonus of $20,000, made possible by special financing provided by a group of Minnesota foundations and community support organizations.

The proposal is to expire at noon on Monday. Next week has been specified by Osmo Vanska, the orchestra’s music director, as the latest the orchestra can begin rehearsing for its new season, which includes important concerts at Carnegie Hall in early November. The musicians’ salaries have been the main issue in the dispute. Under their last contract the players were making an annual average salary of $135,000.
Management, which has been trying to eliminate a $6 million annual deficit, says that this contract, if accepted, will yield a $3.6 million deficit over three years.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/ ... musicians/
John - where is this info coming from?? The AF of M provides detailed information on all contracts of US orchestras. the most recent contract of Minnesota provided a minimum weekly salary of $111,566. this contract expired on 10/1/12, and the new contract has not been agreed upon - hence the dispute and lockout.

A salary figure of $135K would put Minnesota on equal pay scale with the NYPO, and ahead of Boston...this is definitely not the case.
So a more accurate description of the pay cut would be from $111K to 104K.
I think the difference is obvious--John is talking about an AVERAGE salary, and Heck is talking MINIMUM, base salaries. Lots of people in the orchestra, I am sure, make more than the minimum based on seniority or being section leaders or any number of other criteria.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:12 am

Actually, I'm not talking about salaries, all I know is what I read in the papers.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:19 am

John F wrote:Actually, I'm not talking about salaries, all I know is what I read in the papers.
Of course you are, you asked a direct question about them, based on a figure you read in the papers...
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:31 am

OK, put it that I'm not the source of the numbers in the newspaper article. And now you'll say that of course I am, because I posted the article here. Sheesh! :roll:
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Modernistfan » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:12 pm

What do the musicians want? The money is just not there for them to maintain the current salaries, much less for a raise. Unfortunately, the current model with the union setting salaries based on presumed prestige and the supposed relative ranking of the orchestra as against other major orchestras with little or no regard for the rules of economics is just dead. There is no way that the salaries can keep being raised at a time when interest in this music is plummeting. As far as work rules, the union has to accept more flexibility. Either the unions accept the new reality, or there will be no jobs, period. That is unfortunate, but, as I have pointed out, where is the money going to come from to maintain the status quo with regular raises? Public money is not available in most areas, most donors are tapped out, and younger people of wealth who are beginning to develop philanthropic habits are devoting their time and money to just about everything else other than for classical music. A new model is needed, and players' salaries may well have to go down. That is not the only thing that will have to change. Bloated management with redundant positions, none of whom select repertoire, hire musicians, or conduct or play one note will have to go as well. The orchestras will no longer be able to hire highly publicized soloists (Yo-Yo, Lang Lang, Itzchak Perlman, et al.) who charge up to $100,000 for an appearance and then mail in performances of the same overperformed warhorses again and again. Soloists should come from the orchestra, except for pianists, where local talent should be employed. Overpaid conductors also have to go (this will also have the effect of opening up jobs for younger Americans who are generally shunted aside in favor of any random Vice-Kapellmeister from the Lippe-Detmold Philharmoniker). (This is not intended as a knock on Osmo Vänskä, but on the system) The focus must be on the music, not on the glitz and glamor that has increasingly characterized American major orchestras (when they are not dumbing themselves down with mindless pops).

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:09 pm

Minnesota Orchestra musicians unanimously reject latest proposal

By GRAYDON ROYCE | Minneapolis Star Tribune | September 28, 2013 - 6:57 PM

The union said it would continue to negotiate through the weekend.

Calling management’s latest proposal “artistically unsustainable,” musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Saturday unanimously rejected the offer and said they will continue to negotiate through the weekend.

“We are grateful to members of our board who have worked tirelessly to bring this dreadful lockout to a conclusion. However, this proposal is regressive in nature, leading to a cut in salary of 25 percent,” said Doug Wright, a member of the musicians’ negotiating team.

Board negotiators, in a statement, said they were “very disappointed” in the 60-0 vote by the musicians. Two days before a Monday deadline that could see the departure of music director Osmo Vänskä, the two sides in the bitter, yearlong dispute appeared far apart. Wright said the proposal “will not keep our finest players here” and “will not keep the Minnesota Orchestra a great orchestra, period.”

Vänskä has said he will resign if there is no deal to return musicians to work for rehearsal this week. However, Wright said Saturday that “no one is quite sure” that Monday is a firm deadline. “We were told that the 9th [of September] was a deadline, then the 15th, and then the 23rd,” he said. “Even if Monday is not a hard deadline, we know a deadline is looming.”

Michael Henson, president of the orchestra, said in a statement Saturday afternoon that the board will “continue to work toward Sept. 30 as the deadline.”

Vänskä’s threat to quit is tied to two concerts that the orchestra is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in early November. In an April letter to the board, he said he considered these performances crucial for the Minnesota Orchestra. He later told the board that in order for the orchestra to prepare for the New York dates, the players would need to be rehearsing with him by the week of Sept. 30. Monday is an off day, so the first rehearsal would be Tuesday morning.

Board cites movement

A separate statement from the board said its negotiators have moved “significantly” over the last 18 months, from a position that would have cut salaries 32 percent to the latest offer, which averaged “an annual reduction of 17.7 percent over the life of the contract.” That figure includes the offsetting impact of a $20,000-per-musician signing bonus that was part of the last offer.

The musicians continue to voice their support of a proposal by mediator George Mitchell to lift the lockout and return musicians to work for four months (including two months at reduced salary) in which the two sides would negotiate. That plan would allow the orchestra season to open and the Carnegie Hall concerts to take place. However, if no agreement on a multiyear contract were reached at the end of the four months, the lockout presumably would be reinstated. The board’s negotiating team has rejected that proposal for its cost and because it does not guarantee that a contract will be reached. [I chose to emphasize this point because I think it demonstrates that the musicians have been negotiating in good faith and the Board has not. RebLem]

The three-year plan rejected by musicians would have reduced minimum salaries 18.6 percent in the first year, with smaller reductions in years two and three, to a total cut of 25 percent. The proposal also promised $20,000 signing bonuses for 84 musicians and a revenue-sharing agreement if the orchestra exceeds certain budget goals. The minimum annual salary at the end of the three-year deal would be $84,915. The old minimum was $113,204. The board had asked for a vote by noon Monday, to allow musicians to return to work Tuesday.

Status of talks unclear

Musicians’ spokesman Blois Olson said the group decided to vote Saturday morning so that negotiations could continue through the weekend. Sixty members voted. He said talks were occurring and called this “a very fluid situation.” Sources said Saturday that it is unlikely the two sides would be able to meet face-to-face before Sunday.

On Saturday, Wright thanked board director Marilyn Carlson Nelson for her efforts to rally the corporate and foundation community in recent weeks to raise most of the money for the proposed signing bonuses. He said, however, that the money, estimated at $1.3 million, should instead be used to fund the four-month negotiating period provided for in the Mitchell plan.

In addition to the Nelson money, the community group SOS: Save Osmo confirmed it has told the board that it would encourage its donors to help bridge the gap on funding issues. “The decision to write a check will be determined by whether the final package meets the organization’s giving requirements,” said a statement from Lee A. Henderson and Mina Fisher, who are leading the group.

Lockout began last year

The criteria include Vänskä’s continued tenure and a compensation for musicians that “is commensurate with the stature of this orchestra as one of the top ten American orchestras.”

It was a year ago this weekend that musicians unanimously rejected a proposal that would have cut minimum salaries by 30 percent. After brief and fruitless negotiations on Sunday, Sept. 30, of last year, management locked out musicians on Oct. 1.
Ultimately, the 2012-13 season was canceled, and the start of this season in a newly remodeled Orchestra Hall has been threatened by the inability of the two sides to come to an agreement.

Bargaining has taken on some urgency — in fits and starts — since July, when Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate majority leader, agreed to help mediate the dispute. Almost immediately, what was supposed to be a confidential process became contentious because of leaks. The board on Thursday released details of its latest proposal outside of the Mitchell process, to avoid the confidentiality requirement. [Yet another indication of bad faith on their part. RebLem]

Musicians are planning concerts for Friday and Saturday at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis. Pianist Emanuel Ax, who had been scheduled to perform on the orchestra’s season, has agreed to play with the musicians. [God Bless Emanuel Ax. RebLem]

http://www.startribune.com/entertainmen ... y#continue
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:14 am

RebLem wrote: I think the difference is obvious--John is talking about an AVERAGE salary, and Heck is talking MINIMUM, base salaries. Lots of people in the orchestra, I am sure, make more than the minimum based on seniority or being section leaders or any number of other criteria.

That still doesn't explain it - there are probably only 15-17 principal player inan orchestra. many, many more section players...I doubt that the average slary would be as high as $135K.
in any case, the general criterion used is minimum weekly salary - a new orchestra member, playing in the section, would enter at this rate.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:15 am

John F wrote:Actually, I'm not talking about salaries, all I know is what I read in the papers.
right - I'm just wondering from where the article author got his numbers.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:20 pm

Heck148 wrote:
John F wrote:Actually, I'm not talking about salaries, all I know is what I read in the papers.
right - I'm just wondering from where the article author got his numbers.
He got them from the Minnesota Orchestra's Website...in other words from the Management.
Will management and administration also reduce its compensation?

Yes, it already has. The Orchestral Association has managed its management/administrative staffing costs efficiently over a long time. In all, total costs in the organization—excluding musicians—have decreased by 6 percent since 2002.
Since the start of the 2007 musician's contract, the Minnesota Orchestra administrative team has taken a salary reduction, a wage freeze and had their pension contributions from the Association reduced by more than 40 percent. The average full-time staff salary was $53,000 in fiscal year 2008 and increased to $54,000 by fiscal 2012. (In that same time period, the average musician salary increased from $113,000 to $135,000.) The average staff member earns three weeks of vacation a year. On the Orchestra's 12-member management team, only two leaders currently earn more than the musician's current base salary.

Additionally, the size of the administrative staff has decreased by 20 percent since 2009 due to layoffs—and the MOA contributes 24 percent less to administrative staff medical coverage than it contributes to the musicians' medical coverage.

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/abou ... gotiations
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:55 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Heck148 wrote: right - I'm just wondering from where the article author got his numbers.
He got them from the Minnesota Orchestra's Website...in other words from the Management.

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/abou ... gotiations
[/quote]

Hmmm..the numbers just don't square up...no way was the orchestra salary pre 10/12 at 135K per year.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by RebLem » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:28 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Heck148 wrote: right - I'm just wondering from where the article author got his numbers.
He got them from the Minnesota Orchestra's Website...in other words from the Management.

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/abou ... gotiations
Hmmm..the numbers just don't square up...no way was the orchestra salary pre 10/12 at 135K per year.
Maybe they were including the cost of the medical benefits.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:32 pm

The Management wants them to look overpaid, look at the way Management have taken over the Orchestra's Website, it's all one sided, against the players...

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/abou ... vs-reality
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:38 pm

RebLem wrote:
Heck148 wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Heck148 wrote: right - I'm just wondering from where the article author got his numbers.
He got them from the Minnesota Orchestra's Website...in other words from the Management.

https://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/abou ... gotiations
Hmmm..the numbers just don't square up...no way was the orchestra salary pre 10/12 at 135K per year.
Maybe they were including the cost of the medical benefits.
possibly - there are also electronic media guarantees in some contracts. these are separate from the base salry figures. I'lll have to go into the AF of M website and look further...I'd give you the link, but it's a "members only" segment of the Musicians Union website.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:56 am

This scenario was predictable, and, unfortunately, it will be played out in city after city over the next 10-20 years. The reality, one that the musicians' union does not want to accept, is that the money is no longer there to maintain the status quo for these orchestras, with regular raises. Salaries will have to go down in most cities to save the orchestras, and the union will have to accept that, or face the fact that their jobs have disappeared. The cultural and demographic landscape has shifted--the Twin Cities have seen many of their former residents move to the suburbs and exurbs and become far less interested in supporting cultural activities in the central cities. Their place has been increasingly taken by immigrants and refugees, many of them from cultures that had little or no contact with or interaction with Western classical music (Somalis and Hmong in the Twin Cities, for example).

In the Twin Cities, there is plenty of blame to go around. I realize that the management has made a mess of this, but the union has also been inflexible; the last management offer should have been accepted, and there should have been more compromise over work rules.

More generally, there is little or no prospect of public support, as classical music and opera have no real political base of support in the United States. The Democrats, in the main, are scared s**&less of supporting something that looks wimpy and unmasculine, and is not really welcoming or appealing to their increasingly African-American and Hispanic base. The Republicans make no bones about their hostility to government-supported culture, especially at the federal level. In the current political climate, I would have a better chance of getting a bill through to subsidize the distribution of child pornography than one to support financially endangered orchestras.

As far as philanthropic support, many donors are tapped out and younger potential donors have shown a disinclination to support conventional symphonies and opera companies. If they support culture at all, it is to support alternative institutions, many of them at least purportedly multicultural. However, for many of these donors, any cultural institutions are well down on the list, behind things such as health care, environmental causes, and education.

If these orchestras are to survive, wrenching changes will have to be made (and not just involving the musicians). The orchestras will have to be able to institute rational work rules that might make recording possible again and not have rehearsals and recording sessions governed rigidly by the clock as though the orchestra were a shirt factory. The stabilization will also have to involve the bloated, excessive administrative staffs of the orchestras, which will have to be chopped down considerably, with redundant positions being consolidated or eliminated. There will no longer be the ability to hire so-called "superstar" conductors as music directors at salaries of $500,000 and up; the orchestras will have to rely on younger, non-superstar talent. (This will have the secondary advantage that this will open up conducting jobs for younger Americans, who are generally shut out in favor of the vice-Kapellmeister of the Lippe-Detmold Philharmoniker, as well as for women and people of color.) The expensive superstar soloists (Yo-Yo Ma, Itzchak Perlman, Joshua Bell), who often charge as much as $100,000 per concert, mailing in performances of overplayed warhorses will also have to go. Many of the soloists (except for pianists for obvious reasons) should be drawn from the orchestra; for pianists, opportunities should be given to up-and-coming local talent.

For all of the supposed brilliance of Maestro Vänskä, whose salary before his resignation was over $800,000 per year, attendance has been sliding for the Minnesota Orchestra for years, including during his tenure. He had shown no desire or inclination to expand the repertoire much, if at all, beyond the conventional parameters for these orchestras, whose major function is to provide safe, familiar, ultra-comfy programming to an aging and increasingly small slice of these metropolitan areas' social and economic elite: Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvořak, (Sibelius for the Minnesota Orchestra), rinse, and repeat. Did we really need Beethoven symphony and piano concerto cycles from the orchestra? As for Sibelius, Bis, the label for which Vänskä records, already has two complete Sibelius cycles in its catalog, one by Vänskä himself (with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra), and the other with Neemi Järvi and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. Why is a third cycle being done anyway? (As a collector and a contemporary music fan, I would rather see recordings of works by Magnus Lindberg, Anders Hillborg, Kaija Saariaho, Kalevi Aho, and other contemporary Scandinavian composers than more Sibelius.)

If changes along these lines are not undertaken, I would expect that, in 20 years, the United States will have no more than five or so full-time professional orchestras operating on the current model (New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, maybe Los Angeles, maybe Cleveland, maybe St. Louis). Nearly all of the rest will vanish or will be replaced by part-time, community, or non- or semi-professional orchestras.

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:48 pm

Very true, sadly...
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Dimma » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:49 am

Meanwhile, look at all the incredible amounts of money going into major sports leagues (with advertisement), team, staff, stadium etc etc. It is bizarre how the arts always gets hammered compared to the sports. It would be nice with some equality all over the board (big topic I know - but it is one that has bothered me quite a bit for years).

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:35 am

That's because the major sports make incredible amounts of money, while classical music performance especially opera loses incredible amounts of money.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:12 pm


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:44 am

Locked-out Minnesota Orchestra musicians set 10-concert season

Article by: Kristin Tillotson
Star Tribune
December 12, 2013 - 8:27 PM



The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra revealed details of 10 concerts they will produce and play between January and May.

While the number of concerts falls far short of a typical orchestra season, it is an ambitious undertaking for a group without an administration or a hall of its own.

The musicians, who have been locked out in a divisive labor dispute with management since October 2012, say they are open to merging this new independent season with the one management has planned, should a resolution be reached.

In a schedule released Thursday afternoon, the musicians said that star violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell each will perform one concert with the musicians. It was previously announced that former Minnesota Orchestra music director Osmo Vänskä will return as guest conductor for two concerts to reopen the renovated Northrop Auditorium in May. Now he has signed on for two additional concerts (March 20-21) to celebrate the orchestra’s second consecutive Grammy nomination, this time for recordings of Sibelius Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4. Other concert venues will be the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University and Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota.

The season, titled “Music for Minnesota: A Season of Shining Stars,” includes music of such mainstays of the repertoire as Beethoven, Mozart and Berlioz, as well as new music, including “Acadia,” a work by the young composer Judd Greenstein that had its world premiere by the Minnesota Orchestra in April 2012.

The season kicks off with former SPCO Music Director Hugh Wolff leading the orchestra in Mozart’s “Requiem” as well as Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem and Beethoven’s Overture to “Coriolan” (Jan. 10-11). The American program (Feb. 20-21) featuring Greenstein’s piece also includes pianist Kevin Cole playing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” led by former Minnesota Orchestra associate conductor Mischa Santora. The Bell program (April 15) includes Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole in D minor, and Ravel’s arrangement of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”

Vänskä will inaugurate the new Northrop with Dvorák, Liszt and Tchaikovsky (May 2 and 4). Perlman closes the season as soloist and guest conductor with Beethoven, Weber and Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique” (May 14). The musicians also will continue playing school concerts during the season.

In addition to playing the concerts, the musicians are handling the complicated details of creating concert programs, securing guest soloists, renting halls, scheduling rehearsals and selling tickets.

“We’re a collective that is essentially doing the same thing management would — we have numerous committees and everyone does a job,” said principal cello Tony Ross, a member of the artistic committee and others. “But you can imagine the difficulty of planning a season at the last minute.”

Ross said the musicians are feeling solidarity for their cause among soloists and guest conductors.

“There’s a big line of people who want to play with us who are equally world-famous, who are upset about our plight, but scheduling is difficult,” he said.

The guest artists are being offered fees “nothing near” their usual ones, Ross said, and some have donated the money back. The group is not receiving discounts on hall rentals, he said.

Musicians will forfeit their unemployment compensation for the weeks of the concerts, just as they do when they are hired to sit in at orchestras in other cities. The musicians have applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and have won a permission to accept tax-deductible donations. They reported last week that they had so far raised $650,000 in concert revenues and donations from several sources including supporters, the musicians themselves and community leaders. The goal is to use 75 percent of concert revenues to pay musicians.

As for the possibility of combining seasons with the one that the Minnesota Orchestral Association has planned if a settlement is reached, Ross said, “it’s all negotiable. It would be interesting to merge, but we don’t have to.”

Asked for a response, the association sent a statement: “Our focus is on reaching a negotiated settlement through conversations with musicians at the bargaining table, and we hope this will be possible soon.”


© 2013 Star Tribune

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Dec 13, 2013 6:51 am

jbuck919 wrote:Locked-out Minnesota Orchestra musicians set 10-concert season

Article by: Kristin Tillotson
Star Tribune
December 12, 2013 - 8:27 PM



The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra revealed details of 10 concerts they will produce and play between January and May.
Thanks for posting this update. Maybe it will evolve into a self-governing organization?

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:08 am

Only if they can find top-flight fundraisers who can do what their own board wouldn't or couldn't do, raise the money to pay their salaries and benefits at least at the level that they're now being offered. Where they're located and with their recent history, that would be a very long shot.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:08 pm

Minnesota Orchestra musicians and board ratify new contract

The Minnesota Orchestra Board of Directors and musicians, who are members of the Twin Cities Musicians’ Union (Local 30-73), today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, effective February 1, that brings the organization’s lockout to a conclusion. The Orchestra’s first concert performances back onstage at Orchestra Hall are anticipated in early February and will be announced shortly.

“This ratified agreement reflects that both the musicians and the board made concessions on issues of importance to them, which was necessary in order to bring the organization together again,” said Board Negotiating Chair Richard Davis. “Our success now depends on our ability to move forward with positive spirit as one organization, and we are very pleased to begin this work with the musicians and to engage our audiences with music again.”

Clarinetist and musician negotiator Tim Zavadil said, “Musicians are pleased that we have come to a solution with our board, and we are ready to work with them to begin the hard work that lies ahead. We are anxious to start performing for our community at home in Orchestra Hall once again. We know that there is a great love for this Orchestra throughout the community, and we are confident that this community will, in fact, continue to support world-class music in the Twin Cities.”

CONTRACT TERMS
The terms of the three-year contract agreement include:

A 15-percent reduction to base and overscale salaries from 2012 levels in the contract’s first year. Minimum base salaries over the life of the contract of $96,824 (year one), rising to $99,008 (year two) and $102,284 (year three).

A number of musician positions remaining vacant through the life of the contract, with an agreement to add seven members over three years, which will increase the size of the Orchestra from its current 77 members to 84. The agreed optimal size of the ensemble remains 95 members.

Musicians agreeing to pay a significantly greater portion of health insurance costs.
Revenue sharing, based on the performance of the Orchestra’s endowments. If the endowments average a 10 percent return over the three years of the contract, musicians are eligible to receive investment returns exceeding 10 percent up to a cap of 5 percent of their base salary for each year of the agreement.

Management significantly reduced the number of work rule changes it originally requested and musicians agreed to a series of innovative rule changes, designed to give the organization more flexibility in scheduling concerts and providing community outreach. The agreed-upon changes include:
the ability to offer chamber music and outreach performances without additional pay;
an increase in the number of weekend rehearsals and concerts allowed;
the ability to offer New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day concerts;
an increase in concert length up to 2¼ hours when needed;
changes in the way overtime is calculated.

Mutual agreement on the organization’s classical music focus, with a guaranteed minimum of 20 weeks of classical performances each year.

Quarterly meetings between the board chair and leadership with musicians to build trust and foster open communication.

The agreement continues to rank the Minnesota Orchestra among the “Top Ten” orchestras in the nation according to pay scale, which was a key musician priority.

“Keeping our salaries in the top ten was a critical issue for us, as it allows us to attract and retain the finest musicians in the country, and continue building the tradition of excellence that has been cultivated by the community over the past 110 years,” said cellist and musician negotiator Marcia Peck.

Said Board Chair Jon Campbell, “Meeting the ‘Top Ten’ metric means the organization will need to seek bridge funding to help address financial issues in future years. Now more than ever, we will need members of our community who voiced strong support for world-class orchestral music in our state to help us achieve long-term fiscal health through increased concert attendance and financial support.”

At the Orchestra’s Annual Meeting in December, the board requested that Campbell continue to lead as chair through the conclusion of the labor dispute. With a contract resolution reached, the board will elect a new chair in upcoming weeks.

“With this agreement in place, we look forward to working with new board leadership to rebuild our relationship and trust within our organization and with our audiences,” said Principal Trombone and musician negotiator Doug Wright.

FEBRUARY CONCERTS
“Our plan is to resume concerts as soon as possible, with “homecoming” programs in early February and then the launch of our 2014 subscription season,” said Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson. “We are happy to begin a new chapter by welcoming our audiences and the greater community to Orchestra Hall and the musicians back to this stage.”

Details of the homecoming concerts and the 2014 subscription season will be announced soon, and Minnesota Orchestra subscribers and donors will receive advance ordering information.

http://www.minnesotaorchestra.org/about ... tract-2014

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:41 pm

At last! Now all the orchestra needs is a musical director. I wonder if Osmo Vanska is still available and if so whether he is willing.
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:47 pm

Incidentally, I owe that "scoop" to living_stradivarius on Facebook. I see he just posted in the Pub and probably would have gotten to this right away also if I had not preempted him.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by lennygoran » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:50 am

jbuck919 wrote:Incidentally, I owe that "scoop" to living_stradivarius on Facebook. I see he just posted in the Pub and probably would have gotten to this right away also if I had not preempted him.
How could he put FB ahead of our great CMG forum! Regards, Len [fleeing]

ContrapunctusIX
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by ContrapunctusIX » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:34 am

Personally I'm thrilled to hear this news. I moved out to the Twin Cities two years ago and I was looking forward to hearing this orchestra, but the lockout put that notion on hold. I've had to wait a couple of years, but I will be getting in line for seats once they go on sale. It won't be quite the same as Symphony Hall in Boston, but it will nevertheless do nicely!

Modernistfan
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Modernistfan » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:52 pm

It is good news that they are back playing again, but the reality is that this settlement solves virtually none of the long-term structural problems plaguing many American orchestras, and I shall bet any amount of money that they will be in serious financial trouble again by the end of the contract, if not sooner. It doesn't even matter if Vänskä comes back; the dismal truth is that attendance and financial support were sliding for years under Vänskä, no matter how good he purportedly is.

Please note the following:

(1) The unsustainable prestige-driven salary model pushed by the union remains in place. The blunt reality is that there is not enough interest in classical music in the Twin Cities to sustain those salaries without huge outside donations, which have become harder and harder to come by.

(2) The repertoire will undoubtedly remain hideously biased toward the safe and ultra-familiar: Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius--rinse and repeat.

(3) You will still have very expensive "superstar" soloists of the Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Yitzchak Perlman stripe mailing in performances of overplayed warhorses. There is nothing that will attract new audiences in an increasingly multicultural area or young people of any background.

Of course, (2) and (3) preserve the status quo, which is always the goal of the union--they hate the idea of learning new repertoire or undertaking any musical challenges.

(4) The orchestra will retain its incredibly bloated administrative superstructure, which does nothing to improve performance or attract interest.

It would have been better if they had shut the whole thing down, gotten rid of the union completely, and reopened with a new, non-union orchestra with a lower cost structure and no expensive payments to superstar soloists or an overrated European-based conductor. I realize that management had handled this very badly (the $50 million spent on the lobby could have been better spent in many ways), but I put 80% of the blame for this disaster on the union. Mark my words--management will be back in three years demanding further cuts because the money is just not there--Vänskä or no Vänskä, and here we go again.

Heck148
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:43 pm

Modernistfan wrote: Of course, (2) and (3) preserve the status quo, which is always the goal of the union--they hate the idea of learning new repertoire or undertaking any musical challenges.
complete crap. the union doesn't care what repertoire is played, as long as there are union musicians working. The musicians themselves love to play new repertoire - the same old warhorses, over and over again kills an orchestra, and kills the audience. Creating More inventive, imaginative programming is indeed a challenge, a perpetual one in this business.
It would have been better if they had shut the whole thing down, gotten rid of the union completely, and reopened with a new, non-union orchestra with a lower cost structure and no expensive payments to superstar soloists or an overrated European-based conductor.
again, complete bullcr*p. The best musicians are all union members. a non-union orchestra would be a community orchestra or a student orchestra, hardly able to fill the needs of a full-fledged subscription orchestra.
You don't know what you are talking about.

John F
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:47 am

Name soloists sell tickets to orchestra concerts. Whether the additional sales offset the soloists' fees is an issue of fact. I've never seen an analysis of it, and I'll bet Modernistfan hasn't either. His objection to "expensive payments to superstar soloists or an overrated European-based conductor" is not an economics-based argument but expresses his personal prejudices, which of course he has the right to do.

The Minnesota Orchestra has never had an American-born music director, though some have been or become American citizens. As far as I know, the only American-born conductors to head the top American orchestras have been Leonard Bernstein, a unique phenomenon, and James Levine, whose brief tenure in Boston with his frequent performances of the likes of Schoenberg and Elliott Carter did nothing to improve that orchestra's bottom line. Currently, Alan Gilbert is the New York Philharmonic's music director; the economic effects of that appointment are unknown outside the orchestra's back office and perhaps still to be assessed. It may have started a trend, not in favor of Americans but of young, not-famous conductors in those positions, such as Yannick Nezet-Seguin in Philadelphia and Andris Nelsons in Boston.

American-born conductors of second-tier orchestras have been more frequent, but their American-ness has not guaranteed the stability and economic security of their orchestras. A Minnesota-type strike and lockout happened in Detroit in 2010-11 on Leonard Slatkin's watch, and was resolved more quickly only because the musicians accepted a 30% wage cut and other conditions that the Minnesotans rejected. As a result, the orchestra lost some of its best players and filled the gaps with substitutes rather than full-time replacements, with a corresponding decline in its quality and prestige (according to one of the remaining players).

What effect Minnesota's new contract will have on the orchestra's quality and prestige, and whether it's a modus vivendi that will last, neither Modernistfan nor anybody else can confidently predict, especially since they lost their music director because of the prolonged lockout. My own view is that the orchestra was brought to this by the failure of its masters to obtain adequate funding to cover the inevitable gap between operating costs and box office receipts. The Great Recession after the crash of 2008 certainly created financial difficulties for most American non-profit organizations, not just orchestras and opera companies, but the economy has turned up since then and both corporations and rich supporters no longer have that excuse. But it takes determination and talent for successful fundraising, and it may be that the Minnesota Orchestra's board room and back office don't have what it takes.
John Francis

John F
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:18 am

Lockout Over, Minnesota Orchestra Faces Challenges as It Salvages Its Season
By MICHAEL COOPER
JAN. 15, 2014

The end of the corrosive 15-month lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra on Tuesday was greeted with relief by musicians, management and fans, who took to the “Save Our Symphony Minnesota” Facebook page and other websites to praise the impending return of music to Orchestra Hall. But even as the new contract agreement finally puts an end to the classical music world’s longest-running, bitterest labor battle, the orchestra is facing daunting challenges.

The players of the orchestra, which had reached new artistic heights in recent years with its Grammy-nominated Sibelius recordings and its growing national profile, are returning to a leaderless ensemble: Their music director, Osmo Vanska, resigned in October. Some players may not return at all: A couple have resigned, and eight more have taken leaves of absence since the lockout began. Another question is whether audiences will return, after a lost season and a half.

“It does take quite a while for everybody to be comfortable again just playing with each other,” said Leonard Slatkin, the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, who had to rebuild that orchestra after a six-month strike in 2011. “It sounds odd, coming from a conductor, but the biggest thing they have to do now is not about the music — it’s about reconnecting with everybody in the Twin Cities.”

Musicians said in interviews that they were eager to get back to work with their colleagues after a topsy-turvy year. Many made ends meet during the lockout by taking temporary gigs with orchestras around the country. R. Douglas Wright, the principal trombone player, said, “I’ve upped my status with Delta Air Lines.” Steven Campbell, the tuba player, said he counted himself lucky to find fill-in work, considering that most orchestras have only one tuba.

Some players have drawn unemployment benefits. Some have taught. One of the more unusual temporary jobs was taken by a horn player, Ellen Dinwiddie Smith, who, in addition to appearing with the Cleveland Orchestra, said that she worked for a month as a dive master in Mexico.

The contract that the musicians agreed to will cut base pay by 15 percent in the first year, with small raises in the second and third years, and require them to pay more toward their health coverage. The original proposal by management would have cut their pay by roughly one-third.

Several players said in interviews that they were pleased that the deal would keep the orchestra one of the 10 best-paid in the nation — something they hope will help bring back some of the members on leave and attract talented musicians who will see Minnesota as a destination where they can make a career, rather than as a stop on the way to somewhere better. And several said that they hoped that Mr. Vanska could be induced to return as music director.

As painful as the lockout was, some players said it had brought them closer together — and closer to some of their most passionate fans, who came out to support them at a series of concerts that they produced themselves and even donated money to help their cause. “I think that one of the most inspiring things for us was seeing how much the audience loved the orchestra when we did our musician-produced concerts, and we are going to do everything that we can to bring those audiences back into Orchestra Hall,” said Timothy Zavadil, a clarinet player who negotiated for the musicians.

Most of the players have not been inside their Minneapolis home, Orchestra Hall, since it reopened in September after a $50 million renovation — a big capital expenditure that drew criticism, coming at the same time that the orchestra’s management was seeking significant pay cuts from the players in order to close big operating deficits each year.

The novelty of the newly renovated hall may help bring audiences back. Any interruption of performances is considered dangerous in the classical music world, where longtime subscribers may decide not to renew, once the habit is broken. (Audiences never bounced back for New York City Opera after it went dark for a season for the renovation of its theater; it filed for bankruptcy this fall.)

Orchestra officials face considerable short-term challenges, including a scramble to put together a compressed season featuring 37 classical concerts and a host of other concerts for young people and families, beginning sometime in early February and lasting through June. “In a normal year, you would have nine months to sell a subscription and get everybody seated,” Michael Henson, the Minnesota Orchestra’s president and chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview. “We now have the very complicated logistics of doing this in a three-week period.”

There were 9,000 households with subscriptions before the lockout, and 3,700 opted to keep their subscriptions rather than get refunds.

Then there are the long-term challenges. Mr. Henson said that the new labor deal would save the orchestra $3.5 million in the first year — a significant savings, but not enough to wipe out deficits that had been running at $6 million a year before the lockout, which had forced the orchestra to use more of its endowment funds than many board members thought was prudent.

A financial analysis conducted on behalf of management that was released in June concluded that classical audiences were likely to diminish further and that it was “unrealistic to think that the orchestra can fund-raise its way out of its current financial difficulties.” Some of the bad blood stirred up by the recent labor difficulties may make fund-raising even tougher.

Several players said that there were lessons to be learned, particularly about communication between players and management. “I am optimistic, I am certain that we’re going to pull ourselves out of it,” Mr. Wright said. “But I think there’s a lot of it that could have been avoided, and I hope that others learn from this example what not to do.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/arts/ ... eason.html
John Francis

Heck148
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:34 am

[quote="John F"] My own view is that the orchestra was brought to this by the failure of its masters to obtain adequate funding to cover the inevitable gap between operating costs and box office receipts. The Great Recession after the crash of 2008 certainly created financial difficulties for most American non-profit organizations, not just orchestras and opera companies, but the economy has turned up since then and both corporations and rich supporters no longer have that excuse. But it takes determination and talent for successful fundraising, and it may be that the Minnesota Orchestra's board room and back office don't have what it takes.[/quote]

Yes, indeed - there is always a gap between operating costs and ticket sales. aggressive, effective fund-raising is an absolute must, as well as imaginative and attractive programming to keep the listeners coming in.
It comes down to the Board of Directors, the Music Director, Executive Director, working in harmony to bring success...of course, the orchestra must play well, to provide a fine product to sell.

Modernistfan
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Modernistfan » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:03 pm

My comments may have been harsh. However, regarding the issue of the musicians' union attempts to block innovative programming, see recent comments made by the head of the musicians' union at the unfortunately now dissolved City Opera of New York, where he blamed such programming, including the production of the opera "Anna Nicole" by Mark-Anthony Turnage, for the financial problems of the ensemble. Also, when James Levine was music director at the Boston Symphony, particularly at the beginning, he faced a players' revolt about the unusual repertoire being programmed (Schoenberg!!!!) and the amount of rehearsal time required. He was forced to modify and conventionalize his programming to avoid outright rebellion.

The blunt reality is that the current model for most major American orchestras, with union-driven, prestige-based salaries for musicians, is not financially sustainable in a climate where classical music of any sort is off the radar screen of 98% of people. Big-name soloists or a big-reputation European-based conductor will make no difference. The idea of public support (city or state) is unthinkable in a situation where school budgets and police budgets are being slashed in many areas. The old money that supported cultural organizations through noblesse oblige is either dying off or tapped out, and the young money has other philanthropic priorities than conventional cultural institutions. Where will the money come from?

Unfortunately, I expect that what happened in Minnesota will be repeated in orchestra after orchestra over the next ten years or so.

Heck148
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by Heck148 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:23 pm

Modernistfan wrote: when James Levine was music director at the Boston Symphony, particularly at the beginning, he faced a players' revolt about the unusual repertoire being programmed (Schoenberg!!!!) and the amount of rehearsal time required.
That was the musicians themselves taking issue with rehearsal time. The union couldn't have cared less, as long as the union musicians were being paid fairly according to the collective bargaining agreement.
The blunt reality is that the current model for most major American orchestras, with union-driven, prestige-based salaries for musicians
there you go blaming the union again, when the issue is deficient management, This is just more right-wing republican, union-bashing, anti-worker crap. When will you people learn that businesses fail because they aren't managed well. stop blaming the workers for lame management.
Unfortunately, I expect that what happened in Minnesota will be repeated in orchestra after orchestra over the next ten years or so.
It's already happened all over the nation, Minnesota just being the most recent, and one of the worst. Aggressive fund-raising and imaginative programming and presentation are needed at the management level.
stop blaming the union musicians for management's failures. Perhaps if management were more forthcoming about opening the books and showing the true financial condition of the organization, the employees would be more flexible with their contract demands.

jbuck919
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:01 pm

Heck148 wrote:
Modernistfan wrote: when James Levine was music director at the Boston Symphony, particularly at the beginning, he faced a players' revolt about the unusual repertoire being programmed (Schoenberg!!!!) and the amount of rehearsal time required.
That was the musicians themselves taking issue with rehearsal time. The union couldn't have cared less, as long as the union musicians were being paid fairly according to the collective bargaining agreement.
The blunt reality is that the current model for most major American orchestras, with union-driven, prestige-based salaries for musicians
there you go blaming the union again, when the issue is deficient management, This is just more right-wing republican, union-bashing, anti-worker crap. When will you people learn that businesses fail because they aren't managed well. stop blaming the workers for lame management.


To which I will only add that I can't imagine anything more absurd than blaming the problems of the NYC Opera on the programming of Anna Nicole after its management had already long ago taken the company down the tubes.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Minnesota Orchestra - the latest

Post by John F » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:45 am

As I remember, the Boston Symphony's players were very much involved in the hiring of James Levine, whose conditions of acceptance included as much rehearsal time as he needed and the performance of repertoire with which he was identified. Later on they may have found all that more demanding than they expected, but they - not just the orchestra's management, but the players - had committed themselves to it.

The formation of musicians' unions was a response to abusive treatment by management, who economized on the orchestra to pay the conductors and soloists while making a profit, and by conductors, who could not only work the players in marathon rehearsals if they chose but could fire any of them on the spot. (One story I've read is that during a rehearsal or performance, the conductor gestured toward a player holding up two fingers, meaning that the player was fired on the spot with two weeks' notice.) If today's orchestra executives and managers are uncomfortable with the contracts they have signed with their players, they have only themselves and their predecessors to blame.
John Francis

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