Minnesota Orchestra to finish Grammy-winning project stopped by labor lockout


The Minnesota Orchestra will take to the stage and studio later this year to finish off a series of recordings that were stopped by a 16-month labor lockout.

Music director Osmo Vänskä and the orchestra won one Grammy and were nominated for another after recording four out of seven symphonies by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, only for the project to be shelved following a long-running contract dispute.

The dispute was resolved a year ago, and the New York Times reports the orchestra is now set to finish the final three Sibelius recordings this year.

According to the Pioneer Press, the orchestra will record Sibelius' Third, Sixth and Seventh Symphonies in May and June at Orchestra Hall for Swedish label BIS, as well as perform the works live at the downtown Minneapolis venue.

Dates for the concerts are pending, as is a release date for the CD. The cost of the recordings will be underwritten by an anonymous donor, the Star Tribune reports.

“It will be a happy occasion when we again bring together BIS and our Orchestra,” Vänskä said in a news release. “This is meaningful repertoire to us, and it will be very gratifying for us to complete the circle on this project.”

Orchestra stronger, but still fragile

MPR reports that, 12 months after the labor lockout was resolved, the respected orchestra is on a much firmer footing, though new president Kevin Smith admitted it was still vulnerable as a result of its financial challenges, after posting a $650,000 deficit last year.

In the end, musicians agreed to a contract with an average salary of $114,000, down from $135,000, but one that keeps Minnesota as one of the 10 best paying orchestras in the country.

Smith said the lockout has caused a rethink of the orchestra's direction as it seeks to maintain its core audience while attracting new fans, a challenge that Vänskä is also taking on.

It is hoped the new contract will help them do that, as the radio station notes it gives the orchestra the chance to perform more often, allows them opportunity to do more performances in the community, and gives musicians more involvement in artistic decision-making.

Next Up

Eddie Rosario

Report: Twins place Eddie Rosario on outright waivers

The outfielder's time with the team appears to be coming to an end.

radio station, microphone

Christian music broadcaster revealed as buyers of Go Radio

Educational Media Foundation. operates the K-Love brand, which has a presence already in the Twin Cities.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 5.04.39 PM

St. Paul police chief reportedly fires officer who shot naked, unarmed man

Chief Todd Axtell said the officer's use of force was not reasonable.

Trevor May

Report: Trevor May leaving Twins to sign with Mets

The right-hander will sign a two-year deal to head to New York

Car crash

'Grim' milestone: Minnesota's traffic deaths reach 364, tying 2019 total

“With fewer vehicles on the road during the 2020 pandemic, the loss of life on Minnesota roads is beyond disappointing."

Devin Weiland

Charges: Albert Lea man, 21, fired around 90 shots at police, residents

Weiland was arrested after a standoff that lasted more than eight hours.

Body storage warehouse

Body storage warehouse 'ready if needed for COVID-19 fatality management'

The warehouse is currently storing PPE and testing supplies.


Signs come down at Giordano's restaurant in Uptown

It appears the restaurant has closed for good.

State Capitol.

Walz eyes COVID-19 relief package totaling $300-$600 million amid budget surplus

The state forecasted a budget surplus for the remainder of the biennium.

Bar beer

Walz non-committal on extension of restaurant, gym closures

He has suggested that the ban on mixing with people outside your household could continue over Christmas.