Despite lockout, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra balances budget

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The prolonged lockout of musicians with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra apparently didn't harm management's ability to balance its budget this year, the Pioneer Press reported.

The SPCO said it was able to pay off about one-third of its $793,205 deficit.

The Star Tribune said the SPCO was able to pay down the deficit after the orchestra recorded a surplus of about $280,000 on a total revenue of $9.5 million.

"We've had to make some very painful cuts to weather this storm. That said, we're now on the other side and we're extremely optimistic about the future," SPCO president and managing director Bruce Coppock said in a news release.

Coppock said the SPCO was able to make a "significant dent in the accumulated deficit" and that "subscription renewals are at an all-time high."

The musicians approved management's three-year contract offer in April after being locked out since Oct. 21, 2012. Nearly the entire season was canceled, and a handful of musicians left the SPCO or retired during the dispute.

According to the Star Tribune, Coppock said the SPCO has budgeted expenses of roughly $9.6 million in the current fiscal year. It's his hope, though, that revenue will lead to another surplus to further reduce the deficit, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the SPCO's counterparts with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis are still embroiled in a contract dispute with management after being locked out more than 14 months ago.

The Pioneer Press said musicians with the orchestra will hold a public meeting at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the Duluth Room in the Hilton Minneapolis to reveal their plans and a new mission statement.

The paper said despite the cancellation of the entire season, the musicians have played 20 concerts on their own and have raised more than $300,000 since August.

The Associated Press said former Minnesota Orchestra conductor Eiji Oue will return to lead the orchestra in a pair of holiday concerts Dec. 14-15 at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium.

The dispute has led to the departure of musicians as well as music director Osmo Vanska, who resigned in October after the orchestra called off several high-profile performances scheduled for November at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Vanska said goodbye to musicians and supporters with a pair of farewell concerts shortly after his resignation.

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