The six-month lock-out of St Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) musicians may be about to end after the players reached a tentative deal with SPCO management yesterday.

The musicians must now vote to accept the agreement, which calls for their annual pay to be cut by $15,000 and for the size of the orchestra to be reduced by 6 players to 28. Before the vote takes place, the management board needs to reach agreement with the American Federation of Musicians over media issues, although the board has indicated that it aims to conclude this agreement by Monday.

The musicians' negotiating committee had initially rejected the contract proposal from SPCO management, which had been brokered by St Paul mayor Chris Coleman. However, just as the board gathered yesterday afternoon to discuss cancelling the rest of the SPCO season – and to weigh up the future of the orchestra full stop – the musicians' committee issued a statement saying that it would ask the players to ratify the proposal. 'We are excited to return to the stage as quickly as possible,' said committee co-chair Carole Mason-Smith.

Dobson West, president and chair of the SPCO board, said: 'There are logistics that will need to be worked through in terms of how soon concerts can resume, but the goal is to get back to bringing great music to this community as quickly as possible.'

The SPCO musicians have been locked out since 21 October 2012.

photo: musiciansspco.org