Detroit Symphony and musicians continue to bargain before contract expiration

Posted on: August 19, 2010

In Thursday’s (8/19) Detroit News, Lawrence B. Johnson writes, “The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has a long and distinguished record as one of America’s cultural gems. But its place in the nation’s musical firmament is being challenged by unprecedented economic pressures. With donations sharply down from patrons struggling in a tough economy, the DSO is grappling with unsustainable debt and annual operating deficits in the millions of dollars. The orchestra’s financial woes have been underscored in stalled negotiations with its musicians to renew a contract that expires Aug. 29. … Management has put two proposals on the table, both of which would drastically reduce musicians’ pay. The DSO ranks 10th nationwide in base salaries paid to musicians. However, the new wage proposals would cut pay 28 percent (even more in Proposal B) and drop the DSO’s ranking to at least 18th. … The next session between the two sides is scheduled Aug. 27. … While the DSO’s situation is acute, it is far from unique, said Jesse Rosen, president and CEO of the League of American Orchestras. … Michigan’s weak economy also has caused some donors to redirect their giving, says Joanne Krell, spokeswoman for the private Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.”

Photo: Detroit Symphony musicians on tour in Miami

Posted August 19, 2010