More Cancellations for St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) announced additional concert cancellations in the wake of the prolonged work stoppage that has obliterated more than four months of concerts and events. The SPCO has officially called off all engagements for the next six and half weeks through April 21, 2013. Statements from the SPCO and the musicians following the announcement couldn’t be more diverse.

DarkAccording to the 3/5/2013 edition of the Pioneer Press in an article by Ross Raihala, SPCO president Dobson West appears upbeat with the recent turn of events.

“We have been pleased to have begun a more intense negotiations schedule recently, including three days of meetings last week and multiple meetings scheduled again this week,” West said.

Conversely, the musicians aren’t looking at the situation with as much optimism. In a statement from 3/6/2013, they assert there are no new bargaining sessions scheduled and recent offers from the SPCO amount to zero sum bargaining.

Management is still insisting that Musicians give back $1.5 million per year for the next four years. Management has not changed its position for the past 14 months.

For now, it seems that both sides are right where they were when things started to really heat up. At this rate, don’t be surprised if the next cancellation announcement is for the rest of the 2012-13 season.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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2 thoughts on “More Cancellations for St. Paul Chamber Orchestra”

  1. ooo ooo oo and don’t forget Minnesota has its next round of concert cancellations coming up, too!! 😀 They’ve only canceled until April 7 so far. So maybe next week we’ll get our extension into late April or early May! Oh it’s such an exciting game! /sarcasm

    Can’t wait for the Season (Seasons…?) from Hell to be over.

    Dobson West has always sounded upbeat ever since this thing began. Read his statements from September… He always sounds as if a break-through is imminent.

    • Sometime over the last 2 months, I began to feel that BOTH seasons would be wiped out entirely and that managements had planned this from the beginning by demanding draconian cuts to musicians’ contracts. I’m seeing nothing to change those feelings.
      Musicians fortunate enough to leave for other work are doing so.

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