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In a year without concerts, Minnesota Orchestra loses $1 million

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The Minnesota Orchestral Association reported another operating deficit for the fiscal year.

The Star Tribune reports the association reported an operating deficit of nearly $1.1 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31 when not a single concert was performed.

The results were released Wednesday at the association's annual meeting.

Musicians have been locked out for 14 months in a bitter contract dispute as the board has been seeking pay concessions from musicians as it tries to solve its financial problems.

The association announced that earned revenue totaled just $14,000 for the year. The deficit contrasts with a record-high $6 million deficit in 2012, when the orchestra was performing.

Board chairman Jon Campbell said it's an indication the orchestra's business model is askew.

In a statement, Campbell said, "The fact that the organization's deficit is substantially smaller in a year without any performances indicates the degree to which this business model is out of alignment."

Musicians had a statement of their own following the news on Wednesday.

"It is of great concern to the musicians that the leadership of the MOA managed to spend $13 million and run a $1 million deficit while producing no concerts," the musicians said in a statement. "This begs the question as to whether the MOA's new business model will truly lead toward sustainability or success."

Tuesday a group of 10 state legislators called for an immediate end to the musician lockout and for a change in leadership.

MPR News reports that lawmakers called for the resignation of Minnesota Orchestra President and CEO Michael Henson and two members of the board of directors. The letter from lawmakers accused Henson, Campbell and past Board Chair Richard Davis of financial mismanagement.

Sen. John Marty and Reps. Alice Hausman and Phyllis Kahn are amongst the 10 lawmakers who signed the letter.

MPR reports following the letter from the lawmakers Orchestra management issued a statement saying, "The allegations raised by some legislators have been thoroughly reviewed and discredited by credible professional sources including the Office of the Legislative Auditor. This is a complex labor dispute that requires negotiations at the bargaining table in order to come to a contract resolution that the community can afford. As we have emphasized many times, the Board is ready to meet with musicians at any time to negotiate a compromise."

The orchestra board will not make any leadership changes in the coming months. MinnPost reports that a spokesman for the MOA said Campbell will remain as chair until a negotiated settlement is reached.

Musicians said earlier in the week that resolving the lockout remains a priority, but they are planning a new season of concerts without management.

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