Minnesota Orchestra Principal Clarinetist Burt Hara has elected not to return to Minnesota after a one-year leave from his post.
Last spring, amidst the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, Hara won a position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; under their contract musicians are allowed to take one year leaves of absence to try out new positions before making a final decision.
According to the Minnesota Orchestra, Hara contacted management last month to ask for a 12-month extension of his leave to give him more time to make a decision.
“This was granted,” explained Minnesota Orchestra Director of Public Relations Gwen Pappas, “and at the time he wrote, ‘I assure you that if granted, I would do everything possible to give the Association my decision earlier than the 2015 date that I have requested.’ And he has been true to his word on that.”
“Burt Hara is an outstanding clarinetist,” continued Pappas, “and we sincerely thank him for his years of service and many contributions in Minnesota. He will be greatly missed. We wish him and his family the very best on their new lives in southern California.”
Eight musicians requested leaves of absence from the orchestra during the lockout. Of those, so far four (violist Ken Freed, clarinetist David Pharris, trumpeter Robert Dorer, bass clarinetist Tim Zavadil) have elected to return to Minnesota, and three (violinist Peter McGuire, Principal Viola Tom Turner and Principal Horn Michael Gast) still have some time left on their leaves before making final decisions.