The Minnesota Orchestra, which has been embroiled in a labor dispute for the past 12 months, has lost its music director, Osmo Vänskä. The Finnish conductor announced his resignation Tuesday morning as hopes for a resolution between management and musicians fell through once again.
Vänskä, who joined the orchestra in 2003 and whose contract was set to expire in 2015, said in a statement that it was a "very sad day" and that he sends his "deepest thanks to everyone involved for what we have achieved together."
The conductor had announced his intention to step down if the dispute was not resolved in time to begin rehearsals for the 2013-14 season.
"We are very sorry that music director Osmo Vänskä has announced his resignation, as it has always been our hope that he would see the Minnesota Orchestra through this challenging period," orchestra board Chairman Jon Campell said in a statement.
The labor dispute -- the longest in U.S. orchestral history -- originated from a failure to reach a new contract, resulting in management locking out the musicians in October of last year. On Saturday, musicians rejected the latest offer, resulting in the cancellation of planned performances at Carnegie Hall this fall.
It remains likely that the orchestra will have to cancel its 2013-14 season, which was scheduled to begin Friday. The orchestra's previous season was scrapped after the lockout.
The Minnesota Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the top classical-music groups in the world. But like a number of other ensembles, it faces a dire financial outlook and must contend with significant budget deficits.
A financial study released in September said the orchestra faced a budget deficit totaling more than $22 million in the last three fiscal years.
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