Osmo Vänskä has resigned from the Minnesota Orchestra, bringing to an end his ten-year role as music director. In a statement, the 60-year-old conductor (pictured) said it was ‘a very sad day’ for him personally, although he had originally warned of his intentions in a letter to the management on 30 April.

The ongoing labour dispute between the musicians and the orchestra’s governing body, the Minnesota Orchestra Association (MOA), has now continued for more than a year, with the musicians locked out from playing at Minnesota’s Orchestra Hall since 1 October 2012. Vänskä’s  announcement comes just a day after the MOA announced the cancellation of two performances at Carnegie Hall in November. During negotiations over the weekend, the conductor stated the musicians had to be in rehearsal from 30 September, to allow proper preparation time for the New York performances.

At the negotiations, the musicians rejected an MOA contract proposal that involved an average 17.7 per cent salary reduction over three years. Instead they presented two counter-proposals, involving  either for salaries to return to 2007 levels, or an extension of a ‘play and talk’ proposal made by mediator George Mitchell.

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Photo: Ann Marsden