Osmo Vanska resigns from Minnesota Orchestra, Aaron Jay Kernis follows [UPDATE]

Osmo Vanska
:::: UPDATE, October 1 ::::

Osmo Vanska has followed through on his threat to resign after a decade-long tenure as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra.

"It is a very sad day for me," Vanska said in a statement released this morning. His resignation is effective immediately.

Also stepping down today is Aaron Jay Kernis, a Pulitzer-prize winning composer who founded and directed the orchestra's Composer Institute. In his resignation letter, he called Vanska's departure "a heavy penalty for the choices made by both sides this year." He criticized the board's actions as well as the "intransigence" of the musicians.

Kernis wrote:
I have personally never seen two sides that show such unwillingness to sit down together and attempt to tackle the major challenges that confront the orchestra. The collaborative spirit that is the essence of music-making has been completely absent this past year, and little can be little can be forged without a modicum of trust and good will.

In all this, the audience of musiclovers, who most appreciate the orchestra's extraordinary gifts have been forgotten and their voices disregarded. They have been left bereft.
In a statement, president and CEO Michael Henson called Kernis "an outstanding musical partner" and said the orchestra was sorry to see him go.

Board chair Jon Campbell shared a similar sentiment on Vanska's departure. In a statement of his own, he said:
Music Director Osmo Vanska has been an extraordinary conductor, and we are profoundly thankful for his service to the Orchestra and our audiences, and our organization will continue to celebrate his many achievements. He will hold a distinguished legacy in the history of the Minnesota Orchestra.

-- Original post from September 30 --

At the stroke of midnight, the Minnesota Orchestra's renown conductor, Osmo Vanska, will resign as promised.

The news of his inevitable resignation, which was reported on a Finnish website, followed another announcement today that the Minnesota orchestra has rejected counter-proposals by the musicians and cancelled its two concerts at Carnegie Hall in November.

For one year, Vanska has mostly sat silent as the musicians and the board carried on a labor dispute, and public relations campaigns. He wrote a letter in the spring threatening to resign if the musicians weren't back in rehearsals by this week.

His contract had set to expire September 2015.

SEE ALSO: Before lockout, MN Orchestra purchased dozen of URLs around "Save Our Orchestra"

On Saturday, the musicians rejected the fourth and latest contract proposal from the board. It included an annual salary of $104,500 over three years, a revenue-sharing option, and a $20,000 signing bonus for each musician.

One of their counter-proposals, according to the board, included a 4.7 percent reduction in annual salary over the next three years. Another sought a 6.7 percent salary reduction over one year.

When reached for comment, Blois Olson, a spokesman for the musicians, said he was preparing a statement.

There have been efforts by outside parties to force reconciliation, including a forum hosted by Orchestrate Excellence, but none have been successful.

Originally, the board offered to cut salaries between 22 and 40 percent on an individual basis, bringing the average salary from $135,000 to $89,000.

The musicians have been locked out of Orchestral Hall since October 1, 2012.

Earlier today, the editor of a Finnish website reported:
-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Cherie Viger Schumm
Cherie Viger Schumm

Sad because of the year-long lockout and the continued failure to negotiate contracts....result is that everybody loses.

Cherie Viger Schumm
Cherie Viger Schumm

Supporters of classical music across the country watching what's happening in Minnesota...and the news keeps getting sadder and sadder.


The orchestra magement must be T-partiers. No one else could be so mule-headed. If the orchestra  can't afford the musicians salaries, why don't they just raise ticket prices? How many symphany orchestra companies are there in town, where's their competition? They could charge whatever they wanted for tickets.  

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

shut that whole mess down and sell the building

Philip Tiberius Hunter
Philip Tiberius Hunter

It's obvious to me that the management and board (who never took paycuts that I know of, and mismanaged the money in the first place) don't want a world-class orchestra and would be happy with a pretty darn good one. We can't have nice things.

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

Police officers don't make that kind of money, get 20K signing bonuses or receive the amount of vacation these people are demanding, why should a person that toots a damn horn receive that?

I Am Friday
I Am Friday

I am so heartbroken I don't know what to do.


World-class a$$holes on both sides.


@Amingee yes, the MN Orchestra mgmt has continued to receive their salaries while they try to destroy the orchestra.

Drewey topcommenter

@Nicholas S. Goers It's called talent and training.  There are many professions that make much more than cops, because it takes more talent and skill.


@eric_pusey Mismanagement caused ALL of the problems. Bad investing of endowment. Bad marketing. Bad ticket pricing. The musicians rock.


@eric_pusey Right. So MN Orchestra management wants the public to think they are negotiating in good faith how?

mingtran topcommenter

The market obviously doesn't seem to think so.

DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@mingtran You're kidding yourself if you think these offers are market driven. In the market of "world-class musicians", these salaries are tiny.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault