10 Long-Suffering St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Musicians Finally Accept Early Retirement Offer

By Logan K. Young on Jul 16, 2013 02:54 PM EDT

Locked out for much of their present season, 10 long-suffering musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have agreed to accept a retirement package that was being offered to members aged 55 or older.

In a sign that's indicative of another issue, entirely, it appears that half of the SPCO musicians were eligible for the deal.

As it stands, at least for now, the plan is to shrink the orchestra from 34 to 28 players--cutting the base salary by as much as $15,000.

Newly re-appointed president Bruce Coppock named names in a letter to St. Paul Chamber Orchestra board members and sponsors earlier today.

Classicalite has decided, then, to print Coppock's own missive in full:

Dear Members of the SPCO Family,

Many of you have inquired regarding which musicians have chosen to take the special retirement package offered as part of the recent contract settlement. As the deadlines for election and rescission have passed, we are now in a position to be able to share this information with you.

The following is a list of the musicians who elected to retire, along with the number of seasons performed with the SPCO:

Gary Bordner, Principal Trumpet – 31

Fred Bretschger, Assistant Principal Bass – 32

Christopher Brown, Principal Bass – 34

Evelina Chao, Assistant Principal Viola – 33

Thomas Kornacker, Co-principal Second Violin – 36

Brenda Manuel Mickens, Violin – 33

Michal Sobieski, Violin – 34

Paul Straka, Horn – 31

Tamás Strasser, Viola – 38

Thomas Tempel, Oboe – 44

Each of these musicians devoted more than 30 years to making great music with the SPCO, and each is beloved by our long-time audience members. We are extremely grateful for their many contributions both in the concert hall and beyond, and we wish them our very best as they begin the next chapters in their lives.

The Instrumentation Committee, comprised of Steve Copes, Ruggero Allifranchini, Maiya Papach, Julia Bogorad-Kogan, Kyu-Young Kim, Jean Parish and me, has begun the work of determining the SPCO’s instrumentation needs and will continue this work over the coming months. Kyu has been asked by the committee to keep people informed of its progress as consensus evolves.

Many thanks.


Bruce Coppock, President
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra

So bad is labor's lot in The Land of 1,000 Lakes, you might recall, the Minnesota Orchestra just cancelled summer.

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TagsSt. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Gary Bordner, Fred Bretschger, Christopher Brown, Evelina Chao, Thomas Kornacker, Brenda Manuel Mickens, Michal Sobieski, Paul Straka, Tamás Strasser, Thomas Tempel

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