Minnesota Orchestra's CEO Michael Henson Steps Down
Posted by Angie Newgren on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM By Angie Newgren / March 22, 2014 Comment
step down after constant criticism from supporters of the Minnesota Orchestra musicians. Henson announced this past Thursday he will retire from his position this August. Michael Henson and management board members approved of a $40 million renovation for Orchestra Hall, the home base for the Minnesota Orchestra. Most of that money went to redesigning the lobby. Can’t forget to mention his bonus in 2011, of over $200,000 totaling that year’s salary to nearly $620,000. In October 2012, Henson informed the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra their new contract would have to include a 30% pay cut due to the lacking resources. The musicians, unwilling to agree, were forced into a lockout that lasted 16 months -- the two sides agreed on a new contract this January. But on the way the orchestra lost trust in their managers, more than a year of paychecks, benefits, many members who moved on, and conductor Osmo Vänskä. The famous conductor moved on in October 2013, exactly one year after failed negotiations with the board. Vänskä had been the conductor since 2003, leading the Minnesota Orchestra to be world renown and to a Grammy win. Minnesota music fans rejoiced this past January when word broke the orchestra would be getting their jobs back -- right away the public began to ask: “What about Osmo Vänskä?” As everyone wondered, Vänskä was busy traveling around the world guest conducting for various orchestras -- he publicly stated he was not invited back, but would not accept an offer unless Henson stepped down. That statement was entirely supported by all but the board. A commotion struck out during the orchestra’s first concert during intermission when new board chairman Gordon Sprenger gave a speech, an audience members shouted, “Bring back Osmo!” to which the crowd roared in approval. Since the start-up of the orchestra months back, there has been a petition going around for all supporters to sign for Michael Henson to step down.