Burt Hara Resigns as Principal Clarinetist of the Minnesota Orchestra, Cites Management’s Lack of Vision for Excellence

By Louise Burton on Mar 18, 2014 12:54 PM EDT

Burt Hara, principal clarinetist of the Minnesota Orchestra for 26 years, officially announced his resignation last week in a letter to his colleagues.

The orchestra's ongoing leadership issues were clearly a factor in Hara's decision. In his letter, he wrote: "I am resigning now because I do not believe the current leadership has the vision to restore the Orchestra to its place among the great orchestras of the world."

Hara will remain in his current position as associate principal clarinetist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has officially been on a leave of absence from the Minnesota Orchestra since last May, when he accepted the position with the L.A. Phil.

Hara had actually received permission from Minnesota to extend his leave of absence another year. But, as reported, he decided that prolonging his leave would "only delay the rebuilding process [of the Minnesota Orchestra]."

Hara is highly regarded as an orchestral clarinetist. He won the audition for principal clarinet of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1996, but opted to return to the Minnesota Orchestra after a year.

"Burt Hara is an outstanding clarinetist," the Minnesota Orchestra said in a statement, "and we sincerely thank him for his years of service and many contributions in Minnesota."

The orchestra also said last week that three musicians currently remain on leave: Mike Gast, principal horn; Tom Turner, principal viola and Peter McGuire, violin. Whether or not they plan to return to the orchestra is not yet known.

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TagsBurt Hara, clarinet, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mike Gast, Tom Turner, Peter McGuire

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