Minn. Orchestra director Osmo Vänskä threatens to resign as lockout drags on

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The high-profile music director of the Minnesota Orchestra Osmo Vänskä says he will resign if the orchestra loses a prestigious engagement at New York’s Carnegie Hall because of the current musician lockout, the Star Tribune reports.

The orchestra is scheduled to play the storied New York venue on November 3, and the group needs to be rehearsing by September at the very latest, Vänskä told board chairman Jon Campbell and chief executive Michael Henson in a letter.

Campbell told the Star Tribune that Vänskä should have sent his letter to the musicians, not the board.

The musicians and management have been mired in mostly fruitless contract negotiations. Musicians initially rejected a proposed 32 percent cut in annual minimum salaries. Concerts have been canceled at least through May 12. The orchestra's musicians have been locked out since Oct. 1. Among other things, the two sides are arguing over a financial analysis of the organization's finances.

Vänskä's departure would be a blow to the orchestra’s prestige, the Star Tribune notes. Since arriving in 2003, the 60-year-old has elevated the orchestra into a world-class ensemble, with two Grammy nominations and European tours. His contract runs through the 2014-15 season.

Across the river, a dispute between musicians and management of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra was resolved.

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