Minnesota Orchestra Chief Michael Henson Considers Life Without Osmo Vänskä

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Sep 06, 2013 01:28 AM EDT

Politicians weigh their words very carefully. So, given the current volatile climate, so must American orchestra chiefs.

None more so, though, than Michael Henson, boss of the Minnesota Orchestra, which has become a flashpoint for the strained negotiations between players and management hitting so many bands across the U.S.

Thus, when Henson started to talk about the possibility of letting revered music director Osmo Vänskä leave, that means it's a situation that is looming in a very real way.

Has Herr Henson already made his peace with the idea that Vänskä, who has said that if a deal between the two sides cannot be struck in time to save the orchestra's approaching Carnegie Hall concerts he'll walk, cannot be persuaded to stay?

Here's what Henson said to Minnesota Public Radio:

"Ultimately, if Osmo decides to go, that is his decision. We want him to stay through to the end of his contract. However, in the longer term, we have to look after the health and well being of this orchestra...We've had many distinguished conductors in the past that have had world renown, and this orchestra has an astonishing reputation both nationally and internationally...[But the orchestra board] cannot let two concerts at Carnegie Hall determine the future of the organization...our duty is to ensure we have an orchestra here for many years to come."

Vänskä has insisted that the agreement must be reached in time for the start of rehearsals. That means September 15.

At the moment, to the outside world, that date is looking increasingly unlikely. And so Henson is starting to move into damage limitation mode.

The question is, with an orchestra locked-out and no music director, what sort of orchestra would be left?

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TagsMinnesota Orchestra, Michael Henson, Osmo Vänskä, Carnegie Hall, Minnesota Public Radio, Orchestra Hall, Phyllis Kahn

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