Minnesota Orchestra

Conductor Osmo Vanska leads the Minnesota Orchestra. The contract dispute prompted Vanska's resignation. (Greg Helgeson)

Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra who have been locked out in a contract dispute with management since 2012 have scheduled 10 concerts for 2014 with the possibility of more. The musicians said in an announcement Friday on their website that the concerts would be self-produced with no involvement from orchestra management.

The concert series, which begins Jan. 10, will feature prominent soloists, including violinists Joshua Bell and Itzhak Perlman, and a return visit from conductor Osmo Vänskä, who resigned as music director of the orchestra in October because of the ongoing dispute.

"If the lockout of the orchestra ends, the musicians could work with management to merge any planned concerts produced by the Orchestral Association with those produced by the musicians," the group said on its website.

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The labor dispute at the Minnesota Orchestra is the longest of any major classical-music group in the U.S. The quarreling stems from a failure to reach a new contract, resulting in management locking out the musicians in October of last year. 

Orchestra management released financial information this week saying that the organization's budgetary deficit narrowed to $1.1 million for the most recent fiscal year from a $6-million deficit in the last period.

But a group of 10 state legislators recently submitted a letter to the Orchestral Assn. demanding a change in leadership, saying that the orchestra management "manipulated financial results in a deliberate deception of the public."

The Minnesota Orchestra is one of the most respected ensembles in the world, and received a Grammy nomination last week for its recording of Sibelius' Symphonies No. 1 and 4.

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