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MINNEAPOLIS - One after their estranged employer announced the cancelation of a slate of holiday concerts, locked-out musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra announced they are staging two new shows in mid-December.

"Our last concert was an enormous success and has been called "already legendary" by Alex Ross of the New Yorker," said Tony Ross, principal cellist for the orchestra. "Our audience has shown tremendous support for world-class music in this community."

To add buzz to the concerts, set for the Ted Mann Theater December 15 and 16,the musicians union has enlisted formerMinnesota Orchestra Music Director Edo de Waart andConcertmaster Jorga Fleezanis.

Fleezanis and current Concertmaster Erin Keefe will be soloists for Bach's Double Violin Concerto, and the orchestra will also performBeethoven's 9th Symphony.

"The Musicians remain committed to 'Play and Talk'," Ross said, referring to the union's position of continuing to play and get paid while negotiations continue. "As musicians are being recruited to take other Orchestral assignments around the country, we are confident that the vast majority of our musicians will play these dates, even if they are playing elsewhere."

Tickets for the shows are available on the musician's union website, or by calling 612-624-2345.