Keeping the Music Alive

Community Report
December 2013

A letter from


As we take this opportunity to look back over the past year, the Musicians are grateful to see that much good has emerged from the struggle of our lives, thanks to the power of music and the strength of our community’s support. Little did we know that our goal of preserving a world-class orchestra for Minnesota would mean that it would become necessary to fulfill that mission as the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra. While a fair resolution with the Minnesota Orchestral Association and a return to our work playing concerts at Orchestra Hall remains our primary goal, we are happy to report on the concerts, educational programs, and outreach efforts that we have offered to serve our communities. None of this would have been possible without the help of many individuals and organizations. We thank our devoted volunteers for their generosity and enthusiasm as well as everyone at the Twin Cities Musicians Union and Working Partnerships for their deep support of the Musicians. We are grateful to Save Our Symphony Minnesota, Orchestrate Excellence, and the Young Musicians of Minnesota for their extraordinary efforts toward the preservation of a great orchestra for Minnesota. The Musicians could not have produced our concerts and events without the expertise, energy, and labor of our dedicated Stagehands and Engineers. We are profoundly grateful for their hard work and professionalism, their pride in great music, and their service to our community of arts lovers. Without our home in Orchestra Hall, we have been warmly welcomed for rehearsals and meetings by a number of great institutions that we are indebted to for allowing us to continue making music together. Our gratitude goes to the many bloggers and journalists who have shed light and understanding on a complex situation. We thank our devoted audience and followers, community leaders, and all those who believe in the power of great music and stand together with us in support of a world-class orchestra for Minnesota. While we hope for and work toward the day when we can begin the process of rebuilding the Minnesota Orchestra, our promise to you is that we will keep the music alive.


The lockout of the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians has lasted over a year. It has received extensive coverage in local and national press, but it can be difficult to trace the path of the actual contract negotiations. In addition to the countless meetings that have been held between the two sides, there have  been  exhaustive efforts  through “back channel,” meetings with the governor and other politicians, and conversations with board members and industry leaders. From day one, it has always been our position that we would work toward a resolution, but that we would not agree to a contract that would reduce the orchestra to a third rate ensemble. Such an agreement would save our jobs, but not the orchestra.

During the course of negotiations, the Musicians have made at least eleven counterproposals:
#1 – Proposal for an Independent and Comprehensive Financial Analysis #2 – Proposal to Play and Talk, with a guarantee not to strike #3 – Proposal for Binding Arbitration #4 – Play and Talk proposal with an endowment contribution in connection with the Grammy Celebration Concert hosted by Mayor Rybak and Judy Dayton #5, 6, 7, & 8 – Four proposals conveyed via the confidential process with the independent mediator appointed by Governor Dayton # 9 - The Musicians accepted an interim solution proposed by the mediator #10 – Proposal of a concessionary modification to the mediator’s proposal #11 – Proposal of a concessionary 3-year contract

Each and every proposal by the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra has been rejected by the management and board of the Minnesota Orchestral Association.

11,350 supporters are following the MUSICIANS of the MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA on Facebook

Tony Ross was the soloist in a loving, superbly lyrical account of Dvorak’s elegiac Cello Concerto, capturing every tremor of its drama, its songfulness, its grief.
Larry Fuchberg, Star Tribune, October 19, 2012

As musicians, our work and our passion has always been to share music with others. Faced with the unprecedented circumstance of this lockout, we believed it essential to continue performing together so that our audience should not also be locked out. Planning one concert at a time, step by step, the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have now performed nearly 30 concerts for close to 30,000 people.

Gala Concert

October 18, 2012 Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium Conductor Laureate Stanislaw Skrowaczewski led a thrilling program featuring Tony Ross in a virtuosic performance of Dvořák’s Concerto for Cello, and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Celebratory champagne toasts were shared with our standing-room only audience following the concert.

Ode to Joy!

December 15 and 16, 2012 Mann Concert Hall Former Music Director Edo de Waart and former Concertmaster Jorja Fleezanis returned for two soldout performances featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe with Jorja in Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins. Soloists Ellie Dehn, soprano, Adriana Zabala, mezzo-soprano, Thomas Cooley,  tenor, Philip Zavisza, baritone, joined the Ode to Joy Chorus in Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.

This was music-making charged with communicative purpose -- a lesson in the connective power of sound.
Larry Fuchsberg, Star Tribune December 16, 2012


The musicians played as if electrified.
Larry Fuchsberg, Star Tribune, February 4, 2013

A Grammy Celebration Concert

February 1, 2013 Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium A special evening was hosted by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Judy Dayton with Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducting the Musicians in thrilling performances of Sibelius Symphonies No. 2 and 5, works on our highly acclaimed and Grammy®-nominated recording.
We can say that in this community that has been blessed with so much extraordinary art, we have an orchestra that has surged forward and done remarkable things under a remarkable conductor...
Mayor Rybak, MPR News, February 1, 2013

Skrowaczewski Returns!

The conductor’s consummate realization of the Fourth Symphony spoke of all of these and the orchestra sang for him like a great celestial choir – majestic, mysterious, ecstatic, tender.
Larry Fuchsberg,

April 25, 2013 Star Tribune, April 21, 2013 The O’Shaugnessy, St. Paul Our beloved Conductor Laureate, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conducted Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto featuring Burt Hara, and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Donors were honored at a lovely reception prior to the concert with Musicians and Maestro Skrowaczewski.

Where words fail, music speaks.
Hans Christian Anderson

Osmo’s Farewell

October 4 and 5, 2013 Ted Mann Concert Hall On the one-year anniversary of the lockout, Music Director Osmo Vänskä resigned his position in protest. He graciously agreed to join the Musicians for three sold-out concerts, heard both live and by broadcast on MPR. Our friend, the world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, joined Osmo Vänskä and the Musicians in performances of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 27, and Stravinsky’s Suite from The Firebird. These heart-breaking performances are now available as a free live stream on the Classical MPR web site and will be heard in future national broadcasts of Performance Today and SymphonyCast. The box office website tallied more than 40,000 hits for the added Osmo’s Farewell Concert.

Titans of the Romantic Era

November 14 and 15, 2013 Ted Mann Concert Hall Beautiful performances of Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 were conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski with Lydia Artymiw joining the Musicians as special guest artist.
That full, fluid Minnesota Orchestra string sound was back, and the winds were wonderfully simpatico.
Ron Hubbard, Pioneer Press, November 14, 2013 Emily E. Hogstad, Song of the Lark, November 21, 2013 

I am going to miss you very, very much. And I am going to miss this fabulous orchestra.
Osmo Vänskä, October 5, 2013

A Tchaikovsky Spectacular!

December 14 and 15, 2013 Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium To celebrate the holidays, the Musicians have invited former Music Director Eiji Oue to return for his first performance in the Twin Cities in ten years. The festive program showcases selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Piano Concerto No. 1 with sensational pianist Jon Kimura Parker, and the triumphant Symphony No. 4.

World-class orchestras can make silence tremble, and the Minnesota Orchestra is a world-class orchestra, still...

We thank all four of our former music directors who have returned to conduct the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra in concert.

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are highly trained professional performers who also serve our community as educators and volunteers. Our musicians coach and direct youth orchestra programs, teach privately and at area universities, and serve on boards of organizations devoted to education and youth enrichment. Through educational performances, community partnerships, our Classroom Visits program, and special student ticket offers, we are dedicated to sharing our expertise and passion for great orchestral music while strengthening connections with the young people who are the next generation of performers and music lovers. The Musicians have made connections with more than 1,000 students already. Performing as a full orchestra in area schools, our Symphonic Adventures concert series has introduced enthusiastic young listeners to the works of Beethoven, Bizet, Brahms, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky. Conducted by William Schrickel and Manny Laureano, performances were held at:
Forest Lake High School, February 20, 2013 Blaine High School, March 22, 2013 Hopkins High School, October 1, 2013 Roseville Area High School, November 15, 2013

More programs are planned for St. Paul Central High School and Maple Grove High School in December. Two free Family Concerts were presented at Wayzata Community Church on March 23, 2013, and a special educational concert featuring works by Bach, Piazzolla, and Vivaldi was presented at Minnetonka High School on May 15, 2013. A free educational program entitled Magic of the Symphony was led by Manny Laureano at the North Community YMCA for the ACME/El Sistema program on September 16, 2013.
Pretty awesome sitting here with the Minnesota Orchestra 100 feet away!!! The Minnesota Orchestra LITERALLY BLEW ME AWAY.
Tweets from young fans at Forest Lake High School

The Musicians are committed to sharing the joys and value of great orchestral music with audiences of all ages in our community and state. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to hear their symphony orchestra perform live. On September 16, 2012, over 4,000 audience members welcomed the return of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra to the Lake Harriet Bandshell for a free Community Concert conducted by William Schrickel. Kenneth Freed conducted the Musicians in our first collaboration with ACME/El Sistema on September 17th, 2012 at the North Community YMCA. A benefit concert for the El Sistema program was performed at El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurant on February 13, 2013. The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra donated $1,000 to help buy beginner instruments, which were presented to the students at this special event. Two free Community Concerts with Erin Keefe, violin and leader, Adam Kuenzel and Greg Milliren, flutes, Jonathan Magness, Michael Sutton, Pamela Arnstein, violins, delighted family-filled audiences with works of Bach, Piazzolla, and Vivaldi on the afternoon of May 19, 2013, at Temple Israel in Minneapolis.


Catch Them While You Can, a special evening of chamber music serving as a farewell concert for departing musicians Burt Hara, clarinet, and Gina DiBello, violin, was performed for a standing-room audience at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Minneapolis on May 31, 2013.

An intimate evening of music, food, and wine benefited the Musicians on July 6, 2013, in the Pavilion Tent at the stunning Sovereign Estate Winery in Waconia, Minnesota. The following week, Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra joined the Minnesota e-Piano Junior Competition with Mark Russell Smith conducting on July 12, 2013, at Ted Mann Concert Hall. At this year’s Lake Harriet Bandshell on September 15, over 7,000 audience members enjoyed a free Community Concert with the Musicians, led by Manny Laureano conducting works of Weber and Tchaikovsky. Manny also led a free educational program entitled Magic of the Symphony at the North Community YMCA for the ACME/El Sistema program on September 16, 2013.

The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra wish to thank the many generous individuals, foundations, fellow musicians, and devoted audience members for the donations large and small that have kept us together and made these concerts and programs possible. As of November 15, 2013, we have raised over $650,000 in donations from 87 different orchestras and nearly 1,200 individuals in 33 states and four countries. In addition, our Working Partnerships musician hardship fund has received over $160,000 in supportive gifts. We are grateful to those who have opened their homes for the 32 House Concerts held so far, fundraising and inviting friends to hear musicians play chamber music and discuss what orchestral music means for our community. The desire to fulfill the mission left unfulfilled by the Minnesota Orchestral Association and to remain connected with our audience led us to take a leap of faith in presenting our own concert series. Our community has rewarded us with tremendous grassroots support. Within two months of the September 2013 announcement of our Fall Fundraising Campaign, donations exceeded our $150,000 matching grant pledge total, ensuring our ability to perform for the community and for the students who will become our future audience. The Musicians are proud to report that we are well on pace to balance our budget. Our earned revenue is above budget by $41,000, and our increasing efficiency has helped us keep our expenses under budget by more than $31,000 through the first two programs of the fall concert series. Any surplus at completion of the series will be used to help us expand the fulfillment of our mission in the community with more main-stage concerts and educational outreach. To our donors and supporters, we extend our deepest gratitude. On Give to the Max day, we shattered our fundraising goals, exceeding our target amount by more than double CONCERT SERIES RESULTS TO DATE
$201,289 $160,000




Ticket Sales


Operating Costs Administrative Expenses

Note: The figures in this report are for presentation purposes. They are the total of funds received and expenditures incurred by the Minnesota Orchestra Members Association, a 501(c)(5) organization, and the Minnesota Orchestra Musicians, a pending 501(c)(3) organization. 


During the lockout, the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra have been in high demand, performing with great orchestras nationally and internationally. In an incredible show of support and solidarity, more than seventy orchestras have offered work to our musicians. These magnanimous gestures have helped sustain us financially and have given us the privilege of sharing our skills in thrilling concerts with new friends and colleagues. While we continue to work toward an end to the lockout, we are grateful for these opportunities to lend our voices to the exciting orchestral programs and communities that are thriving throughout the country. We thank every orchestra that has invited us to join them, especially the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which has hired half of our musicians during the lockout. Bravo to all of the following orchestras:
Akron Symphony Alabama Symphony Orchestra Albany Symphony Orchestra Ann Arbor Symphony Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Australian Chamber Orchestra Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Boise Philharmonic Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra Boston Symphony Orchestra Canton Symphony Charleston Symphony Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra Chicago Symphony Orchestra Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Cleveland Orchestra Colorado Symphony Orchestra Dallas Symphony Orchestra Detroit Symphony Orchestra Duluth Superior Symphony Eugene Symphony Florida Orchestra Grand Forks Symphony Grant Park Symphony Orchestra Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Houston Ballet Houston Symphony Orchestra Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Iris Chamber Orchestra Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Kalamazoo Symphony Kansas City Symphony Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra Los Angeles Philharmonic Louisiana Philharmonic Louisville Orchestra Lucerne Symphony Orchestra Malaysian Philharmonic Mankato Symphony Memphis Symphony Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Mill City Opera Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Minnesota Opera Orchestra Nashville Symphony Orchestra National Symphony Orchestra National Repertory Orchestra New York City Ballet Orchestra New York Philharmonic Norman Philharmonic Omaha Symphony Orchestra Iowa Oregon Symphony Orchestra Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Philadelphia Orchestra Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Quad City Symphony Orchestra Richmond Symphony Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Russian National Orchestra Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra San Antonio Symphony San Diego Symphony Orchestra San Francisco Symphony Orchestra Sao Paulo Symphony Seattle Chamber Music Society Seattle Opera Seattle Symphony Orchestra Sioux City Symphony SWR Stuttgart Syracuse Symphony Orchestra Toledo Symphony Tonhalle Orchestra Toronto Symphony Utah Symphony Orchestra World Orchestra for Peace Youth Orchestra of the Americas


The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra work collectively and cooperatively to fulfill our mission. As we do when making music on stage, we appreciate each other’s talents, constantly strive to improve our work, and believe that there is no limit to what we can accomplish together. Every single musician, along with spouses, partners, and children, contributes to our efforts.

Advancement and Philanthropy Artistic Concert Production Education Finance Hospitality House Concerts Logistics Members Merchandise Negotiating Program Books Public Relations/Marketing

The Minnesota Orchestra Musicians, a pending tax-exempt 501(c)(3), is an organization dedicated to providing orchestral performances of unsurpassed excellence that contribute to the health, education, and cultural vibrancy of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota. We wish to inspire an ever-widening audience to seek a lifelong relationship with great symphonic music. Our mission will be accomplished by: · · · Producing concert performances, both traditional and innovative, that will enrich and vitalize our communities. Providing access to educational programs through a variety of initiatives for listeners of all ages. Maintaining a creative, passionate and growth-oriented organization that builds strong connections among the Musicians, audience, and all other community constituents.

Photo credits: Thank you to Tom Foley (Education Photos), Nate Ryan (Skrowaczewski Returns!), and special thanks to Courtney Perry (Gala Concert, Ode to Joy!,Grammy Celebration Concert, and Lake Harriet Community Concert) We are the Musicians, and we thank you for listening. For more information, please visit us at