Vanska “surprised” that Minnesota Orchestra allowed his resignation

Osmo Vanska conducting the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra at a Symphonic Adventures concert at Minneapolis South High School on April 16th 2014. (MPR photo/Euan Kerr)

While remaining tight-lipped about negotiations over a possible return to the Minnesota Orchestra, former Music Director Osmo Vanska has told the Washington Post a little about the showdown which led to his resignation.

In an article published today in advance of Vanska’s appearance with the National Symphony Orchestra this weekend, Vanska reveals  how he tried to bring management and musicians together after the lockout began Oct. 1, 2012.

Reporter  writes:  He made an open appeal to both sides only a few weeks into the lockout, imploring them to “do what it takes, find a way, talk together, listen to each other and come to a resolution of this dreadful situation.” When that yielded no results, he tried again in April, saying that if the orchestra couldn’t reach an agreement by the time they needed to start rehearsals for their scheduled Carnegie Hall appearance in November 2013, he would resign.

He didn’t think things would go that far. “When I wrote those letters,” he said last week, speaking by phone from a hotel in the Netherlands, “I wanted to give a pressure so that they could make an agreement.” He added, “I was very surprised that they, that the board allowed [the resignation] to happen.”

And hurt? “Oh, yeah,” he said quietly. “Of course.”

On Wednesday Vanska confirmed he is still talking with the Minnesota Orchestral Association about a possible future in Minnesota, but wouldn’t say more. Musicians and audience members have said Vanska is the only person who could quickly re-establish the public confidence in the organization, and nurse it back to its former excellence. However some board members are reportedly upset at Vanska’s actions during the dispute and discussions over what many fans see as a no-brainer decision have dragged on for weeks.

Vanska is next scheduled to conduct the Minnesota Orchestra on May 2 at a concert in the newly renovated Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota.