Long-running negotiations in the Minnesota Orchestra lockout broke down in November after musicians’ representatives walked out of negotiations to resolve disputes about staffing, pay and artistic differences. The two-on-two meetings between board representatives Doug Kelley and Nicky Carpenter and musicians Tim Zavadil and Doug Wright were an attempt to revive dialogue between the two groups.
Music director Osmo Vänskä resigned after initial talks stalled in late September.
Tight funds are at the heart of the dispute. Hotelier and philanthropist Marilyn Carlson Nelson raised some money in hopes of bringing the sides together. Board members told the musicians that funds would be available through the end of 2013, with more on the way if the two sides could reach an agreement.
Board members also offered to create a group comprised of board representatives, managers and musicians to discuss artistic issues, managing the orchestra’s endowment, programming, marketing and input on guest artists. Zavadil rejected the offer, calling it “window dressing” and claiming there was “no shared vision or common goals between the musicians [and board members].”
The musicians are considering staging concerts themselves while others are asking politicians such as incoming Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and seven new City Council members to intervene.
The state attorney general, with oversight over Minnesota nonprofit organizations, could move control of the orchestra and its endowment to a new entity should negotiations remain at an impasse.