The management of the Minnesota Orchestra has locked out its musicians after they rejected pay cuts that would take their average annual salary from $135,000 to $89,000. The orchestra also cancelled the first six weeks of its autumn season – a total of 17 performances including the 18 October season-opening concert.

The musicians have since announced plans for an independent season opener on 19 October. Speaking to Minnesota Public Radio, principal cellist Tony Ross said: 'The players want to keep the music going, and we are doing everything we can to make that happen.'

The orchestra's president and CEO, Michael Henson, said he respected the musicians' right to play concerts, but added: 'It doesn't change the fundamental issue that the Minnesota Orchestra is facing. We need our players to accept the financial realities of 2012.'