Detroit Symphony ratifies contract, returns to standing ovation

Posted on: April 11, 2011

In Saturday’s (4/9) Crain’s Detroit Business, Sherri Welch reports, “The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and its musicians have a new contract. Musicians ratified the tentative agreement, reached last weekend. The vote ended a six-month strike—one of the longest in symphony orchestra history, the DSO musicians said in a release. … The contract includes 36 workweeks and four weeks of paid vacation in each year — plus, on an optional basis, three additional full weeks of community orchestral performances over the course of the contract and at least nine additional individually scheduled community concerts. In the first year of the contract, [newly hired] musicians will receive $79,000 plus an average of $6,900 for optional community and education work. Salary rises to $80,900 in the second year and $82,900 in the third year, with the same average expected allocation for the optional community and education work in those years. The base, $34.3 million contract includes broadcast of DSO performances through television, radio, mobile and Internet channels and shared net revenues, per the American Federation of Musicians’ nationally bargained media agreement. The new DSO contract calls for the orchestra to increase from 81 musicians in the coming year to 85 by the third year.”

In Monday’s (4/11) Detroit News, Lawrence B. Johnson writes, “If the Detroit Symphony Orchestra had come running out of a tunnel to a cheering stadium throng, it could hardly have experienced a more intense welcome back than it got from 2,000 exuberant fans Saturday night at Orchestra Hall. Officially marking the end of a strike that lasted 26 weeks, the DSO under music director Leonard Slatkin gave a performance that displayed mid-season form. But the biggest ovation came before the orchestra had sounded a note. As the long-absent musicians filed onto the empty stage, the buzz of anticipation from a packed house erupted into a boisterous standing O that lasted for several minutes. The warmth of that welcome seemed to surprise some of the musicians, and all were beaming as the whooping and clapping shaped a long crescendo.” The program included Bernstein’s Candide Overture, John Williams’s Summon the Heroes, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, “New World.”

Posted April 11, 2011

Photo of Detroit Symphony Orchestra by Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press