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Minnesota Orchestra President & CEO To Step Down In August

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The president and CEO of the Minnesota Orchestra will be stepping down from his post this summer, the orchestra announced Thursday.

Michael Henson has agreed to step down from his position on Aug. 31 after leading the orchestra through a five-month transition period, a press release says.

This development comes just months after orchestra musicians and management reached a contract deal to end the longest orchestra lockout in U.S. history. The 15-month lockout canceled concert dates at Carnegie Hall, after which conductor Osmo Vänskä, the orchestra’s famed music director, left the organization.

Orchestra board chair Gordon M. Sprenger said in a statement that Henson has always supported the orchestra’s artistic direction and that when the board asked him to address the orchestra’s finances, he did what was necessary.

“It is never easy to be an agent of change, but Michael leaves the Minnesota Orchestra secure, on more solid financial footing and established in a beautifully renovated venue that will meet the needs of our organization, audiences and community for decades to come,” Sprenger said.

In his own statement, Henson said that it was a privilege to serve the orchestra for the past seven years.

“It has always been my aim to do what is right for the organization, however great the challenges, and I’m proud of our accomplishments,” he said. “The right thing now is for me to work to ensure continuity during this transition to the next phase in the life of the Minnesota Orchestra, which I believe will be very bright.”

Henson became president and CEO of the orchestra in 2007. He led the organization through a $110 million fundraising campaign and oversaw the renovation of Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis. He will continue to serve as an adviser to the board of directors beyond August, if needed, the orchestra says. 

The search for Henson’s successor will begin next month.

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