Embattled Minnesota Orchestra Unveils Renovated Concert Hall

Friday, September 13, 2013 - 09:00 AM

Lobby of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN Lobby of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, MN (KPMB Architects)

The Minnesota Orchestra unveiled its newly remodeled concert hall to the local news media on Thursday but don't buy your plane tickets to Minneapolis just yet — the orchestra remains silenced by a year-long labor dispute, with little sign of an immediate resolution.

The Orchestra Hall renovation, by KPMB Architects, cost $52 million and significantly modernizes the 1974 facility, according to reports in the Minneapolis-Star Tribune and on Minnesota Public Radio. It doubles the size of the lobby, adding escalators, new refreshment stands and a dramatic picture window that looks onto a nearby pedestrian mall. There are also new meeting rooms, backstage facilities and a glass-enclosed atrium for events. The remodeled auditorium has been given a new color scheme and better legroom.

The renovation has been a flashpoint in the lockout, which began last October. Musicians criticize the orchestra for having undertaken the project while demanding steep pay cuts; management contends that the funds raised for the remodeling could not be allocated to fill gaps in the operating budget.

The orchestra and its musicians have until Sunday to reach a contract agreement or the November 2 and 3 concerts at Carnegie Hall will be called off. Music Director Osmo Vänskä has threatened to quit if those concerts are cancelled though he later said that he's giving the two sides until Sept. 30 before making any decision on his future with the group.

On Tuesday, musicians made a counter-offer on a new contract, which management dismissed as a "vague framework." Former Senator George Mitchell was hired in July to mediate the talks.

KPMB Architects


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Comments [2]

I do admit the photos and the architectural firm's website do make Orchestra Hall look quite attractive and I would definitely like to attend a concert there. But I agree with posters on some classical music blogs who wonder why the same orchestra board that could raise money for these improvements couldn't also raise money to pay for the musicians' salaries, etc.?

Sep. 13 2013 06:11 PM
floria from NYC

Why is it when arts groups receive funds or contributions for their organizations....it immediately goes into "capitol improvements".....larger more modern offices and facilities and not to support the art itself (by widening it's audience base, cheaper tickets, young subscription series discounts, - how about a few free eye-opening concerts - yet alone - god forbid - paying the artists more. $52 million dollars to "modernize" Minnesota Orchestra Hall and it's really rather garish and unattractive ! It looks like they'll have the same acoustical problems that New York Avery Fisher Hall has...(sorry, it's just my visual observation). Good Luck, Minnesota.

Sep. 13 2013 02:30 PM

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