Henson’s neck is on the Minnesota block today

Henson’s neck is on the Minnesota block today


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2014

The board’s meeting today. It’s faced with a binary choice: rehire Osmo Vänskä as music director and fire the president, Michael Henson, or carry on with Lockout King Henson and go search for another conductor to join a strife-torn org.

We know which way our vote would go. That’s right: Henson should go.


More here.


  • CA says:

    Where can I vote? (Unofficially of course). There should be an online poll.

  • There’s only one way this situation can work out well. If the board chooses Henson over Vanska, it will be a death spiral for sure. Above all, the public has been very clear about its feelings. If the board acts otherwise, it will be a march of folly.

    • Terry says:

      “If the board acts otherwise” holy hell will be raised in Minneapolis. My favorite part of the StarTribune article: “Shortly after the contract settlement was ratified, Vänskä sent a terse e-mail to Henson saying, ‘Michael, I think you should resign.’ Go, Osmo!

  • John kelly says:

    If there’s nothing else on the agenda that should be a five minute long meeting.

  • Rosana Martins says:

    Out with Henson and In Osmo Vänskä!!!

  • M.A. Steinberger says:

    Business managers are a dime a dozen. Fine conductors are not. Call the meeting to order, read the minutes, move to fire Henson, second the motion, vote. The ayes have it; clear out your desk, Mr. Henson. 15 minutes?

  • Amy says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if today’s meeting resulted in an anti-climactic non-decision move, like the formation of a search committee, and hoping to burn off the ill will garnered by the MOA board in the arts community. Remember, this is a board that was perfectly willing to wait out the musicians, expecting them to cave to the draconian pay cuts and punitive workplace rule changes. The fact that it didn’t work may or may not have sunk into their collective mind.

  • harold braun says:

    Give him 24 hours to clear his desk and get his ass out of town for good!!!

  • Max says:

    It’s too bad that people can’t see both Henson and Vänskä are necessary for it to work — at the very least for them to get to where they were before the mess. This orchestra didn’t get to those recording sessions and international hall performances through conducting alone.

    • William Safford says:

      What is needed is stellar leadership for both the musical and business sides of the orchestra.

      It had stellar leadership in Vänskä. There are other excellent conductors, but he and Minnesota are a proven fit.

      It has (had?) disastrously bad leadership under Henson. This is patently clear. His actions and the actions of the Board during his tenure have worked against the artistic excellence and the integrity of the Minnesota Orchestra.

      After all, the business side of the orchestra exists to serve the artistic side, not vice versa.

      The choice was between stellar musical leadership or destructive business leadership.

      The choice is obvious to us. I hope the choice was obvious to the Board. After all, they were a major part of the problem, by hiring and putting their support behind Henson.

  • Edgar Brenn says:

    The board should take three votes: 1. Fire Henson without a cent compensation. 2. Rehire Osmo and give him the broadest possible power to maintain and rebuild the artistic quality of the Orchestra. 3. Vote for resignation of each and every board member, with no exceptions. There needs to be a completely new beginning, with a new Board and ED. The one person with the required integrity and authority is Osmo.

    • Amy says:

      I can’t see any situation, Edgar, where a board would enact the first two steps and then willingly take the third (self-terminate). They all individually had ample time to step down in protest, but none did. There is nothing in the board bylaws that provides for anything but insular, self-protective actions.

      The saving grace of the board of the MOA is that it apparently still contains people who cherish the Minnesota Orchestra – as soon as they took matters into their hands, negotiations succeeded. Whether they have enough pull to act decisively on behalf of Osmo remains to be seen.

  • Is it what Henson did, or what people think he did?

  • Rosalind says:

    Any news on what happened here?

  • Pamela Brown says:

    I don’t live in the world of 200M organizations, but it seems to me that it would be extremely reckless for a MOA to embark on a course that involves humiliating its employees and blithely waving goodbye to the conductor who brought them to world-class status, without having a “Plan B” in place prior to the lockout. Surely any of those on the Board who enabled Mr. Henson’s strategies should have realized that he, at the very least, would have to take responsibility for the consequences. My question is, ‘why have they been dragging their heels?” :-0

  • Geoff Radnor says:

    No decision taken or if it was they are delaying saying what it is until further discussion within the board members.


  • Geoff Radnor says:

    And it was not just a five minute meeting, it was a prolonged meeting. Guess they need to see how much they must pay Henson to go.

  • Stereo says:

    He deserves nothing and if he had an ounce of integrity he would go but as we found in Bournemouth he doesn’t have any of that precious commodity.