10 concerts that are classic- Pioneer Press, 11/25

If you feel like the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra are Grinches who have stolen your favorite holiday concerts with lockouts and contract disputes, be assured that there’s still plenty of musical splendor to be found around the Twin Cities this season. And the musicians of those orchestras are part of the festivities. Here are some concerts to consider when seeking satisfaction for your holiday classical craving.  Click here to read about SPCO Musicians’ upcoming performances.

Locked-out SPCO musicians to perform ‘Messiah’ with Hugh Wolff- Pioneer Press, 11/21

The musicians of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have added two performances to the schedule of concerts they have booked since they were locked out Oct. 21.
Internationally acclaimed conductor Hugh Wolff, who was the SPCO’s conductor and music director from 1988 to 2000, will return to conduct the musicians in concerts Dec. 20 and 21.
The musicians of the SPCO will partner with the Minnesota Chorale to perform Handel’s “Messiah” at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. Guest soloists are Karin Wolverton (soprano), Victoria Vargas (mezzo-soprano), Brad Benoit (tenor) and Richard Ollarsaba (baritone).
Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-$15 and available through Central Lutheran Church on their website (centralmpls.org), on the Musicians of the SPCO website (musiciansspco.org) and at the Minnesota Chorale website (mnchorale.org) or throughmessiahmpls.brownpapertickets.com.
The musicians previously announced an All-Mozart Benefit Concert on Dec. 2 at Wayzata Community Church that will feature violin soloist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman, who led the SPCO from 1980 to 1987.
The musicians have been locked out without salary and benefits since Oct. 22 because of a contract dispute. All scheduled performances have been canceled through the end of the year.
— Kathy Berdan

Letter to Governor Dayton from Nils C Halker II

Dear Governor Dayton,

Cc: Representative John Lesch

Senator John Marty

I am writing again to urge you to use your good offices and influence to end the lockouts of two of our great cultural institutions, the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.  I am a life-long patron of both orchestras, and believe they are among the great treasures of our state.  And with every passing day I fear that we are coming closer to losing both.

These orchestras are economic and cultural assets; the musicians are wage earners who live and pay taxes in our state, they buy goods and services in our communities, their children go to school with our children.  They are our neighbors.

I am a season ticket holder and a now former sustaining donor to the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as a past contributor and regular audience member at concerts by the SPCO.  I began attending concerts as a child, and now I take my children to young people’s concerts, and both my children have also gone to concerts as part of school field trips.  Before nearly every concert I attend with my wife, we eat at a nearby restaurant, we park in a municipal parking ramp, we may go out after the concert, and we pay a babysitter to watch our children.  Multiply that effect by the eight to ten concerts we attend per season and extrapolate it to the many other patrons who do likewise and it is clear that the vitality of the Twin Cities owe much to both orchestras.

In many press reports these lockouts are being described as labor disputes; I would argue that these are not labor disputes but rather colossal management failures.  I am dismayed by the actions and words of the both orchestra boards and management, and am at a loss to understand why both have decided that the only solution is devastating austerity.  Both Mr. Henson and Mr. West are displaying catastrophic single-mindedness in their unwillingness to engage in creative dialogue to seek artistically sustainable solutions.  Messrs. Henson and West both appear to have decided that there is only one right answer to the financial challenges that face both organizations, but it is rare in this complex world that there ever is only one right answer; if we only show some imagination, creativity, and willingness to listen we often will discover many possible solutions.

I am shocked that the board and management rejected the musician’s request for audited financial reports and offer to submit to binding arbitration. I am shocked at Messrs. Hensen and Bond’s apparent contempt for the opinions of Neville Mariner, Edo de Wart, Osmo Vänskä, Stansilaw Skrowaczeski, and Pinchas Zucherman, Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council, as well as of the literally thousands of Minnesotans who attended concerts earlier this season and who have purchased tickets to attend upcoming concerts staged by the musicians of both orchestras.

As a patron of the arts who has no interest in professional sports, I must tell you that the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are for me what makes the Twin Cities and Minnesota great.  I urge you to put the same amount of effort into helping end these lockouts as you did into building stadiums for professional sports franchises.

Yours sincerely,

Nils C Halker II

Letter to State Representative Jim Davnie from Clifton W Gray

State Representative Jim Davnie

545 State Office Bldg

100 M.L. King  Blvd.

St Paul, MN 55155

Mr. Davnie:

My efforts during the election to raise support for the DFL were somewhat hindered by resentment that is fairly widely held in our district against the amount of energy that Governor Dayton devoted to the Vikings and their stadium.  Although I have not attended an athletic event for twenty years and have no expectation of doing so, I defended the governor’s action because its motive appeared to be the welfare  of the community and the state.  Right or wrong, he thought that the cost would pay off in maintaining our attractiveness and prestige.

I would now like some reciprocity.  The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is internationally admired. If it gets strangled by the arrogant management that is indifferent to the cultural level of our community,  it will cast more shame upon us than if we lost the Vikings.

I urge you to do what you can to spark the governor into action.

Respectfully yours,

Clifton W Gray


Concert with Pinchas Zukerman, Sunday, December 2

Pinchas Zukerman and the Musicians of the SPCO

Sunday, December 2, 2012, 3:00 pm
Wayzata Community Church
125 East Wayzata Boulevard
Wayzata, MN 55391

All Mozart Program
Overture to “Marriage of Figaro”
Violin Concerto in A Major, #5
Symphony #41, “Jupiter”


General Admission: $30, $60

VIP Reserved Seating: $250
Includes an intimate evening of wine, hors d’oeuvres and conversation
with Pinchas Zukerman on Saturday, December 1st, 5-7pm

Get up close and personal with one of the world’s great violinists
at a beautiful Indian Hills of Edina home.

Please Note: This event takes place on the evening BEFORE the concert.

Your donation will help support the Musicians of the SPCO
as they strive to preserve the artistic standards of this world class orchestra.

Limited seating!
Tickets will be available  starting Tuesday, November 13th, at noon!

Click here to buy tickets

or call 1-888-800-8343