Familiar face returning to lead St. Paul Chamber Orchestra


Bruce Coppock is returning for a second stint as president and CEO of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The SPCO made the announcement Tuesday, saying its search committee unanimously recommended Coppock to take the helm of an organization trying to bounce back from a budget deficit and labor strife that wiped out nearly all of the 2012-13 season.

Coppock led the SPCO for nearly a decade before stepping down in 2008 for health reasons. He was fighting a rare form of cancer, which the SPCO says is now in complete remission.

The Pioneer Press reports that during his first tenure in St. Paul Coppock presided over wholesale changes in the way the orchestra operates.

The organization is again going through a time of change. Coppock takes over for interim CEO Dobson West, who saw the orchestra through its contentious six-month-long lockout of musicians. Even as they approved new contract terms in April, musicians called for stronger leadership of the SPCO.

Coppock says he's ready for the challenge. He tells MPR that while the last year has been extremely difficult, he believes there's a bright future for the orchestra. Similarly, he tells the Star Tribune he's an optimist who figures out how to remove obstacles.

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Contract talks between management and the musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have hit a sour note. The Pioneer Press reports that negotiations ended Friday with no agreement in sight and a new deadline was set for Tuesday. Compensation is at the center of the negotiations.