Minnesota Orchestra receives $13.2 million in gifts

Seven months after ending a contentious labor dispute and lockout of its musicians, the Minnesota Orchestra has inspired confidence in some major donors.

The orchestra has received four anonymous gifts totaling $13.2 million, including one gift for $10 million.

Osmo Vanska conducting the Minnesota Orchestra in March, 2014  (Photo courtesy Minnesota Orchestra)

The gifts are a “tremendous shot in the arm at a very critical moment,”Interim President and CEO Kevin Smith said.

“What these gifts constitute is a very strong show of support for the direction the organization is going in reconstituting itself, having [Music Director] Osmo Vanska back, and really moving forward as an organization,” he said.

These gifts will fund a “Building for the Future Endowment” as well as artistic initiatives beginning in the 2014-15 season. Smith said the endowment can only be accessed for operational expenses, and only in years in which the orchestra has a balanced budget.

“This orchestra, as with many arts organizations, and many orchestras, still has some challenges ahead,” Smith said. “We have to balance our budget and build our programming — there are all kind of challenges ahead of us — but I’m amazed and encouraged by the resilience this organization has shown in putting itself back together so quickly.”

Despite the 15-month lockout, the Minnesota Orchestra has seen an increase in ticket sales and attendance at Sommerfest concerts, he said.