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Minnesota Orchestra meets on a down note
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Minnesota Orchestra meets on a down note

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2012 - 11:21 PM

Outlook is dismal on many fronts for board's annual meeting.

Thursday's annual meeting of the Minnesota Orchestra will be a sober, closed-door affair -- no celebratory videos of the year past, no musical program or upbeat speeches.

It might be the most downbeat meeting in the orchestra's 110-year history: Its musicians have been locked out for 10 weeks in an intractable labor dispute, a record deficit that preliminary reports have put at $6 million will be reported and concerts have been canceled through the end of the year.

At the heart of the labor dispute is this question: Does the Minnesota Orchestra -- its board, donors and patrons -- have the financial wherewithal to pay its players on a scale that rivals the best-funded and most prestigious American ensembles?

The orchestra's board says the deficit and depleted endowment ($90 million below 2007 projections) support its position that it must save $5 million in musician costs. The future of the orchestra, they argue, depends on it.

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