Both sides in MnOrch dispute mum over claim of an impending musician vote

A posting on the widely-read classical music blog Slipped Disc today claimed that locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra likely would vote today on a return-to-work proposal developed with the help of a mediator. The post also claimed that the musicians’ negotiating committee is calling for a unanimous rejection of the deal.

Representatives of the musicians and management reached this afternoon declined to either confirm or deny the posting.

“No news here” was the reply to an inquiry to a musicians’ representative. “I am getting a haircut.”

Reached by phone in London, “Slipped Disc” author Norman Lebrecht said he has seen documents provided by musicians through a third party. Lebrecht said he could not share the documents, but could reveal that musicians had offered to enter mediation if management agreed to allow them to return to work for six months under the contract which expired last September while the two sides work out an agreement.

Lebrecht said management countered by offering to allow the musicians to return to work for two months under the old contract, but only if musicians agreed to take an automatic  25 percent pay cut if no agreement is reached by the end of those two months. Lebrecht further reported the musicians were going to vote today on the deal, and predicted that a rejection would mean the almost inevitable departure of Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vanska.

Vanska  has said he will resign if he cannot rehearse with the orchestra by early September.

“I wish I was able to tell you the dispute was over,” Lebrecht said, “But this may be the day the music died.”

The post is likely to cause a great deal of concern to the legions of Minnesota Orchestra fans who fear for the future of their favorite ensemble.

However, given the speed and brevity of the responses from the two sides in the dispute it may not be time to play the orchestra’s final fugue.

Both sides have been vociferous in their charges and responses over the months of the dispute, but in recent weeks have been very quiet. Orchestra officials have said publicly that they are working hard behind the scenes to make some progress and that they believe it is better to keep those discussions “out of the limelight.”

While the musicians have not made a similar statement, it appears they have been following the same course.