No deal, no Carnegie concerts for Minnesota Orchestra

Your move, Osmo.  Euan Kerr’s Orchestra update last night at MPR says: “The Minnesota Orchestra a few minutes ago put Vänskä’s future with the group into serious question. Orchestra officials, citing continued contract problems, say they’ve withdrawn from key concerts in November planned for Carnegie Hall. Vänskä has threatened to leave the orchestra if a contract deal wasn’t in place to ensure those concerts happened. No word yet from Vänskä or the musicians. But orchestra management made it clear the musicians’ counter offer today was inadequate.”

Graydon Royce’s Strib story says: “Management said ‘we very much hope Osmo Vänskä will choose to remain with the Minnesota Orchestra and fulfill his contract,’ which runs through 2015. Vänskä has made no comment on the situation, other than saying, to Finnish music writer Vesa Siren, ‘my deadline is today [Monday] at midnight Minneapolis time.’ ”

A day later in the Tom Emmer as candidate/pitchman story … MPR’s Tim Nelson writes: “Emmer campaign manager David FitzSimmons called the ad a ‘misunderstanding,’ and said that the testimonial wasn’t meant for public distribution. The YouTube posting promotes the video ‘as seen on the CW Twin Cities channel 23.’ ‘They came into the office, and Tom was in there, and they asked if he would do a testimonial for the company, and that’s what he did,’ FitzSimmons said. ‘It’s a local company out of Elk River and he just thought he was helping out. There was certainly no intention for it to be an ad for the campaign in anyway.’ That said, FitzSimmons says the campaign is asking for the ad to be taken down.” I don’t think the problem was people thinking it was an ad for Emmer …

Josh Feldman at the Mediaite website writes: “Everyone likes to talk about Congress as being owned by various corporations and industries, but it’s easy to forget that many of these people come from small towns with small companies that can just as easily own somebody. Case in point, a bizarre new Minnesota commercial doubles as both a campaign ad for Tom Emmer and a commercial for Integrity Exteriors & Remodelers, Inc. … Let’s just hope this is a one-off thing, otherwise in about a year we may be seeing ‘Hi, I’m Harry Reid, and here’s why Ensure is right for you.’ ” Or … “Hi, my name is Ted Cruz, and I’ve got 21 hours of great things to say about me, Ted Cruz.”

Uh, that’s gotta hurt … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A self-employed carpenter in the west metro beat long odds after accidentally shooting himself in the heart with a nail gun and was back home just a few days later to celebrate the birthday of one of his seven children. ‘The surgeon said most people die right there,’ said Eugene Rakow, 58, of St. Bonifacius. ‘He said nine out of 10 won’t make it.’ Rakow was building a deck for a neighbor Friday when the 3 1/2-inch nail pierced his chest and came within 2 millimeters of a coronary artery, said Allina’s Gloria O’Connell, a spokeswoman for Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, where he was treated.”

And yet he was out walking around … Marino Eccher of the PiPress reports: “Shavelle Chavez-Nelson was convicted of his first adult felony in Minnesota at 17. He got a second chance, and a third one, and another after that. So far, none have ended well. A criminal history that started with selling drugs escalated to snatching purses, stealing a car and robbing an apartment at gunpoint. Now the 31-year-old is charged with murder in the shooting death of one man and linked to the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend, whom police believe is also dead. Long before he reached that point, Chavez-Nelson compiled a record of crimes that prompted one judge to call him ‘a frightening and disturbing young man.’ ”

It’s back … the idea of charging deposit fees on recyclable containers. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR writes: “If you’re charged an extra 10 cents for every can of soda, bottle of beer or even gallon of milk you buy, would you be more likely to recycle the empty containers? State Sen. John Marty thinks so. Marty, DFL-Roseville, has been trying on and off since 1987 to pass a container deposit bill in Minnesota with no luck. But he thinks that when state lawmakers directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to do an in-depth study on it, they gave the idea a chance. ‘That was a big step forward because it was always so controversial nobody wanted to talk about it,’ he said. Only half of all cans and bottles used in Minnesota last year were recycled, according to MPCA officials.”

Harvest has begun, and so far … so good. For the Minnesota Farm Guide, Kent Thiesse writes: “Above normal temperatures during the month of September in most of Minnesota have allowed the 2013 corn and soybean crop in many areas to either reach maturity, or be very close to maturity. Most of the early-planted corn hybrids have now reached physiological maturity and are drying down, while some later planted corn may need a bit more time to reach desired kernel moisture content for harvest. Most soybeans are now turning color and dropping leaves, with full-scale soybean harvest beginning in portions of southern and western Minnesota. The early reports from the soybean harvest across south central Minnesota have been quite surprising, considering the extremely dry weather late in the growing season. Many yield monitor and weigh-wagon soybean yields of 50-60 bushels per acre, or higher, have been reported across the region.”

Michael Brodkorb’s payday is official. The AP reports: “A Minnesota Senate panel has backed a $30,000 deal to end a lawsuit filed by an ex-aide fired after revelations of his affair with the majority leader. … Senators were calling it a severance package rather than a settlement. They stressed the state would save money given legal costs that have already topped $300,000 for the Senate. Each party must pay its own legal bills. The Senate committee embraced the deal on a bipartisan voice vote. Only GOP Sen. Michelle Fischbach voted no and declined to say why.” If we’re being honest, everyone in the local media is going to miss that story.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/01/2013 - 07:40 am.


    MPR is reporting that Vanska has resigned. I wonder what Oue is up to.

  2. Submitted by Sarah Nagle on 10/01/2013 - 07:51 am.

    And now no Osmo

    Press release – he has resigned. Management – you are full of it.

  3. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 10/01/2013 - 08:16 am.

    Update on Osmo

    Mr. Vänskä has resigned, as he said he would. Smart move, orchestra management.

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/01/2013 - 09:11 am.

    I believe that Orchestra management

    wanted Osmo gone. They apparently believe that the musicians will be more tractable now.

    Permanent damage has been done to orchestra. As a fan for 40+ years, I have seen my last Minnesota Orchestra concert unless major changes are made at the management level.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/01/2013 - 10:04 am.

    I’m Starting to Suspect that Orchestra Management

    Thinks they can turn the orchestra into a profit-making venture if they just get rid of all those top quality players and turn the MN Orchestra into the musical equivalent of a baseball farm club or even a small town amateur team or legion team.

    It’s very hard to tell what their game plan really is (other than busting the player’s professional organization), but it clearly doesn’t include having a top-level professional orchestra in Minnesota performing under the leadership of a world famous conductor.

    That the hacks on the Minnesota Orchestra board are being allowed to dismantle one of the world’s great orchestras because they can’t tell the difference between an excellent orchestra and a pathetically mediocre one is testament to the same deficiencies they undoubtedly display in every other aspect of their lives.

    That such people are allowed to run ANYTHING is a testament to how far we have fallen in terms of high quality business and civic leadership in these United States. No wonder the rest of the world is eating our lunch in terms of business innovation while our own leaders lay the groundwork for decades of future financial and cultural decline.

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/01/2013 - 01:23 pm.

    If the people won’t pay

    the players can’t play.

    I understand the desire for a ‘world class’ orchestra. I don’t, however, understand how people can believe that a middle-of-the-pack metro area can pay for one. As with baseball, we simply don’t have the audience and donors to compete financially with the world’s largest metro areas. It’s that simple.

    I don’t recall having seen any media report which addresses this fundamental issue. Nor do I recall anyone challenging the financial facts as presented to the board in a report earlier this year. See

    Yes, the union has demanded and been denied access to the books. But this isn’t rocket science. Performers’ compensation was increased in 2007. Shortly thereafter, the endowment, donations and audiences nose-dived. Performers and management seem to have spent themselves into a hole from which there are few means of escape.

    I wish the performers well, but would recommend they circulate their resumes if they believe they can find better positions elsewhere.

    Management’s positions are spelled out here, if anyone cares to read them.

  7. Submitted by Joe Musich on 10/01/2013 - 01:44 pm.


    built the palace and then ….?

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