Musicians request audit of Minnesota Orchestra finances

Posted on: September 7, 2012

In Friday’s (9/7) Star-Tribune (Minneapolis), Graydon Royce writes, “Minnesota Orchestra musicians have called for an independent audit of the organization’s finances, including its endowments. The request came in a letter from chief union negotiator Bruce Simon to Paul Zech, counsel for the orchestra board’s bargaining team. Simon’s letter also expressed anger that the orchestra has gone public with a contract proposal, summary statement and financial information. In a statement, orchestra management said: ‘We’ve answered these questions many times in our negotiations sessions, so we have no specific comment today.’ The health of the orchestra’s endowments—a nest egg of investments that provide both ongoing revenue and a safety cushion—is a key factor in the negotiations that are headed for a Sept. 30 deadline. Board and management contend that continued withdrawals are not a sustainable way to cover deficits. … On Wednesday, the orchestra posted several documents related to the negotiations—an unprecedented degree of public transparency. Management has proposed cutting average musician salaries to $89,000, a reduction of 34 percent from the current $135,000. Base minimums would be cut to $78,000, down 28 percent from the current $109,000.”

Posted September 7, 2012