Minnesota Orchestra saying goodbye to 4 musicians with farewell concert

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The locked-out musicians of the the Minnesota Orchestra are playing concert Friday in Minneapolis to say goodbye to four musicians who are heading to other cities, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The sold-out concert at St. John's Episcopal Church comes on the eve of the eighth-month mark of the lockout, which began Oct. 1. The lockout resulted in management canceling the entire 2012-2013 season of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Among the four players leaving the group is clarinetist Burt Hara, who has been with the orchestra for 25 years.

Hara, who recently won a position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, told MPR while he hasn't "signed on the dotted line yet" and has a year leave of absence to fall back on, "It is my intention to move forward with this new chapter in my life."

Despite a proposal by management this month for the musicians to come to the table for negotiations with a federal mediator, no contract talks are currently scheduled.

Although the lockout appears to be the reason for the departure of the four musicians, management says on an average year, about three musicians come to ask for a leave of absence.

Still hanging in the balance is the future of music director Osmo Vänskä, who wrote in a letter earlier this month that he would leave his post if the lockout causes the orchestra loses a prestigious Nov. 3 engagement at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

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