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  1. #1

    Default Is the Detroit Symphony Orchestra dead?

    The musicians have rejected the DSO management's offer. The Orchestra has been losing a pile of money and reportedly owes $54 million to some very unhappy lenders.

    Will there ever again be a world-class symphony orchestra in Detroit, or are we simply not capable of any longer supporting such an endeavor? Was it suicide for the musicians to reject management's offer, or was it necessary? (Or was it necessary but suicide anyhow?)

    All thoughts welcome.

  2. #2
    DetroitDad Guest

    Default

    professorscott, I would like to post a link to the Detroit New's DSO strike timeline, for easy reference by DetroitYES! posters and readers, if this is ok by you. The Detroit News has really been doing a swell job covering this one.

    http://detnews.com/article/20110220/...trike-timeline

  3. #3

    Default

    If one reads (or has been following the comments posted in the DNews and Freep) blame hits both sides but the opinion seems to have shifted away from support of the musicians. Pratically speaking, its bad for both sides, but one of the comments from the musicians side stated that this was not the time to change the model. Arts organizations that have adapted and adopted new models and approaches will survive. There many not be any National Endowment for the Arts left to channel any funds to Michigan, and the arts certainly aren't on Snyder's top ten list. The Opera and the DIA will likely benefit from the DSO's woes. The DSO can't sell a new season without a contract and rental and bookings won't bring in enough to operate the Hall. With the News reporting that the musicians have been released from their contracts, the DSO has no musicians employed at this point.
    Last edited by detroitbob; February-20-11 at 04:02 AM.

  4. #4

    Default

    DSO is history, they are better off moving to another state

  5. #5
    lilpup Guest

    Default

    DSO had similar troubles decades ago and came back.

    The real sore point for me is that the administration upped their demanded wage cuts during negotiations after the first offer was rejected - that's not good faith.

    Yes, the DSO has financial problems but the administration's screw-up and money mishandling shouldn't be taken out of the musicians' pockets. Max Fischer set the DSO up well but then they went and screwed with his plan.

  6. #6

    Default

    Management did not want to settle, so they made sure it didn't happen.

  7. #7

    Default

    Laying aside the fight between management and musicians, this is ultimately driven by budgetary problems and recession-driven drops in corporate funding. A good place to start is this: all of the 20 to 30 to 40-something transplants who crow about the greatness of Detroit's culture (compared to the soulless suburbs) need to actually support cultural institutions - with money, volunteering, fundraising, and (did I forget to mention this?) money. Absent that, the city's cultural scene will end up looking like a BFA show in the middle of farmland.

    Quote Originally Posted by professorscott View Post
    The musicians have rejected the DSO management's offer. The Orchestra has been losing a pile of money and reportedly owes $54 million to some very unhappy lenders.

    Will there ever again be a world-class symphony orchestra in Detroit, or are we simply not capable of any longer supporting such an endeavor? Was it suicide for the musicians to reject management's offer, or was it necessary? (Or was it necessary but suicide anyhow?)

    All thoughts welcome.

  8. #8

    Default

    This is such a shame. I was very excited about buying DSO season tickets for the first time last fall, as the DSO had ads in our faculty orientation packets. I had other colleagues who were interested as well, and we talked about planning some fun outings. Unfortunately, it looks like we were hired a year too late.

  9. #9
    DetroitPole Guest

    Default

    It's okay for some alcoholic asshole who can hit a ball make $20,000,000/yr and drive around shitfaced, but so many people ready to write off The Detroit Symphony Orchestra asunnecessary and not viable(cue the: 'I dont evr go their so y should they make so much $$$ 2 play a trumpet lol!') because world-class musicians are apparently undeserving of making just shy of six figures.
    Whatever. The priorities here suck.

  10. #10

    Default

    From today's New York Times...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/ar...nt&tntemail0=y

    American Orchestra's at Carnegie Hall
    Calling All Orchestras: Bring a Creative Program

    If you go back and read the Detroit News article, "creative programs" do not appear to be on the front of the musicians list.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPole View Post
    It's okay for some alcoholic asshole who can hit a ball make $20,000,000/yr and drive around shitfaced, but so many people ready to write off The Detroit Symphony Orchestra asunnecessary and not viable(cue the: 'I dont evr go their so y should they make so much $$$ 2 play a trumpet lol!') because world-class musicians are apparently undeserving of making just shy of six figures.
    Whatever. The priorities here suck.
    The difference is that the 20 million dollar asshole brings over 20 million dollars of revenue in, where the musicians don't. Sounds simple to me. So funny to me that you find it so proper to call Miquel an asshole just because he's rich, yet has a problem that millions of people have. How dare he!

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPole View Post
    It's okay for some alcoholic asshole who can hit a ball make $20,000,000/yr and drive around shitfaced, but so many people ready to write off The Detroit Symphony Orchestra asunnecessary and not viable(cue the: 'I dont evr go their so y should they make so much $$$ 2 play a trumpet lol!') because world-class musicians are apparently undeserving of making just shy of six figures.
    Whatever. The priorities here suck.
    Please enlighten us all as to the location this mythical land where a trumpet player makes more than a franchise player for one of that location's signature professional sports teams.

    It's " not viable" because it appeals to a very small segment of the local market's entertainment dollars. Maybe that is because this area is made up of too many knuckle dragging mouth breathers or maybe it's because that tiny segment of the local populace willing to support the DSO with regular attendance and donations is getting smaller by the day. either way, clearly lost on the DSO musicians is that hardly anyone has noticed they werent playing this year.
    Last edited by bailey; February-20-11 at 03:22 PM.

  13. #13
    Vox Guest

    Default

    I know that the Orchestra has had a place in this city for quite a while, but classical music is not high up on the list for the vast majority of Detroiters, not to mention those suburban and exurban. The client base has been dwindling for a while, and the symphony management made no effort to actively engage a new generation of patrons. I think its done, as an institution.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPole View Post
    It's okay for some alcoholic asshole who can hit a ball make $20,000,000/yr and drive around shitfaced, but so many people ready to write off The Detroit Symphony Orchestra asunnecessary and not viable(cue the: 'I dont evr go their so y should they make so much $$$ 2 play a trumpet lol!') because world-class musicians are apparently undeserving of making just shy of six figures.
    Whatever. The priorities here suck.
    What a quaint reply DetroitPole. Have you ever considered moving to be the SouthPole?

  15. #15
    DetroitPole Guest

    Default

    If he has a drinking problem, he can use some of his millions of dollars to call a cab, limo, rickshaw, private jet; whatever. I'm also sure he could use his millions to get some top-notch help that the rest of us don't have access to. I don't think he's an asshole for making 20 million dollars a year, I think he's an asshole for continually denying he has a drinking problem, driving around shitfaced, and then smirking in his mugshot. I'd be out of a job if I pulled that shit, and so should he.
    I'm not advocating that musicians make as much as baseball players, but I think it speaks to our lack of values when we're all ready to up and disband a world-class orchestra when criminals down the street are making 20 million dollars a year, meanwhile everyone is up in arms that these musicians have the audacity to ask for an accountant's salary.
    And yeah, things are different elsewhere, in other major cities, and especially around the world. There is a world outside of Metro Detroit. People have been voting with their feet and seeking it for the past decade. Let me know when New York starts talking about disbanding the philharmonic, okay?

  16. #16
    DetroitPole Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bailey View Post
    Please enlighten us all as to the location this mythical land where a trumpet player makes more than a franchise player for one of that location's signature professional sports teams.

    It's " not viable" because it appeals to a very small segment of the local market's entertainment dollars. Maybe that is because this area is made up of too many knuckle dragging mouth breathers or maybe it's because that tiny segment of the local populace willing to support the DSO with regular attendance and donations is getting smaller by the day. either way, clearly lost on the DSO musicians is that hardly anyone has noticed they werent playing this year.
    "hardly anyone has noticed"
    What qualifies you to speak on behalf of everyone?
    Did you take a poll?
    I believe you're projecting your own assumptions and biases onto everyone.
    Last edited by DetroitPole; February-20-11 at 06:17 PM.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPole View Post
    "hardly anyone has noticed"
    What qualifies you to speak on behalf of everyone?
    Did you take a poll?
    I believe you're projecting your own assumptions and biases onto everyone.
    I'm with you on this one DetroitPole.

    If this strike doen't kill the DSO, it is my sincere hope that the shock of potentially losing this institution causes people to support our finer institutions.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrushStart View Post
    I'm with you on this one DetroitPole.

    If this strike doen't kill the DSO, it is my sincere hope that the shock of potentially losing this institution causes people to support our finer institutions.
    Exactly. I am a passionate believer in museum membership, as well as membership in civic organizations. Such things the Greatest Generation took for granted -- my grandparents were Detroiters who instilled things like donating to PBS in my psyche. I think it's part of my social responsibility as someone who was able to climb out of the working class thanks to the largesse of others.

    Classical music does need to make a better case, though. I love it because of its emotional and mental health benefits, and play it during periods when I'm particularly stressed or want to relax. I also play it when I am writing or reading dense theory or research. However, thanks to receiving an excellent music education in DPS (an institution that was waning when I was in school), I know my classical music well, both instrumental and vocal. Most kids and adults today simply haven't played in a school orchestra, or enjoyed a jazz theory course, so of course many people wouldn't get why the DSO is important.

    In order to understand people who don't get music, I liken it to my feelings about art. I didn't have the best art education, so the first time I took my classes to the DIA back in 2000, I was bored out of my mind. I realized this meant I was ignorant as hell and addressed my ignorance by buying a DIA membership, asking artist friends to go with me to see the regular collection, and attending every special exhibition that I could. Then I spent several summers going to art galleries all over the United States and Europe. Today, I LOVE art and when things get too stressed in my WSU department, I head across Woodward for lunch at the DIA. So if I could transform from art hater to art lover in a decade, others could learn to love classical and/or instrumental music.

    High culture is important because it represents humanity reaching for the highest form of self- expression. A masterpiece or a symphony is just as beautiful and awe-inspiring as a brilliant sports play. We just need to educate our children (and their parents) to see that.

  19. #19

    Default

    I hear they want to turn Orchestra Hall into a Cheesecake Factory and Houseof Blues.

  20. #20

    Default

    I've heard that one of the sticking points in negotiations was the management wanted one specific instrumentalist out. Apparently, the rank and file has rallied around this person.

    Don't know the back story, but this information was "dropped" on Let It Rip last night.

  21. #21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Baselinepunk View Post
    I've heard that one of the sticking points in negotiations was the management wanted one specific instrumentalist out. Apparently, the rank and file has rallied around this person.

    Don't know the back story, but this information was "dropped" on Let It Rip last night.
    Based on that, they're not dead. Just more of the same.

    State of Emergency Mentality? Moi?

  22. #22

    Default

    when would the next season begin, if at all?

    who are the primary funders of the DSO?

  23. #23
    lilpup Guest

    Default

    One real problem is that anyone who WANTS to donate to support the symphony would just be handing their money over to the same administrators who have mismanaged the funding they already have.

    How can one support the musicians and those who deserve it when these others stand in the way?

  24. #24

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Huggybear View Post
    A good place to start is this: all of the 20 to 30 to 40-something transplants who crow about the greatness of Detroit's culture ...
    DSO didn't do Hip-Hop or Rap.

  25. #25

    Default

    Here is a website for the musicians:
    http://www.detroitsymphonymusicians.org/

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