Slatkin reflects on Detroit Symphony strike

Posted on: April 27, 2011

In Wednesday’s (4/27) Globe and Mail (Toronto), Colin Eatock writes, “Like most conductors these days, Leonard Slatkin gets around: He will be guest-conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra April 27 and 28. However, the 66-year-old American maestro hasn’t been leading his own orchestra much of late: His Detroit Symphony Orchestra was shut down for six months by a bitter strike. In the final agreement, ratified on April 8, the DSO’s musicians accepted a deep pay cut of 22 per cent.” On his role during the strike, Slatkin says, “Mostly, my job during the strike was to not get involved in it: to stay informed but not participate. I couldn’t do anything to assist in the negotiations. What I did, however, was discuss the strike with both the board and the musicians, and encourage people not to give up.” Musician morale, now that the strike is over, is good, he says. “People are very glad to be making music again—there was a palpable air of excitement when we returned. … Now there’s a lot of bridge-building and healing to do. We’re trying to get the orchestra players more involved with the board—and also in artistic matters, so they have more say in determining their own future.”

Posted April 27, 2011