Minnesota Orchestra’s Gina DiBello Finds New Home in Chicago Symphony Orchestra

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced on June 5 that Gina DiBello has been appointed to its first violin section. DiBello previously served as principal second violinist of the troubled Minnesota Orchestra, whose musicians have been on lockout since October of 2012. Originally from Chicago, DiBello began her violin studies at the age of 4, made her solo debut at age 15, and participated as a member of Midwest Young Artists Youth Orchestra for eight years.

DiBello’s appointment follows last month’s news that Yun-Ting Lee, who joined the Minnesota Orchestra’s first violin section last summer, is leaving his position for a seat in the second violin section of the Cleveland Orchestra. The Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra’s website lists other departing musicians including principal clarinetist Burt Hara, who will become associate principal clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; principal violist Thomas Turner who will serve as acting principal viola for the San Diego Symphony through at least the end of 2013; and first associate concertmaster Sarah Kwak, who has assumed the post of concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony.

In addition, the ensemble’s music director Osmo Vanska announced that he will resign if the lockout isn’t settled by September.

The stalemate between the orchestra’s management and musicians began when management, citing chronic budget deficits, proposed to cut the musician’s annual base salary to $78,000 from $113,000. After the musicians turned down the proposal and refused to make a counteroffer, management locked them out.

Minnesota Orchestra violist Sam Bergman shared his frustration about the situation on Slipped Disc this past April:

Let’s be very clear about one thing. This lockout is destroying the Minnesota Orchestra, musician by musician by musician. As I look around this stage, I look into the faces of no fewer than three incredible colleagues who are playing with us for the very last time tonight, and they are only the latest to leave as a direct result of the lockout and the short-sighted business plan that spawned it. The full complement of the Minnesota Orchestra is 98 musicians. After tonight, we will be down to 73. Delay? Why would we want to delay anything that could put an end to this nightmare?

So far, an end to the stalemate seems to be nowhere in sight. And the Minnesota Orchestra’s website lists concerts as being canceled through June 2. In the meantime, here’s hoping that the management will find some way to compromise with the musicians so that the city will be able to keep one of its greatest cultural treasures.

If you’d like to sample Gina DiBello’s artistry, please check out the video below.

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