Musician departures at Detroit Symphony

Posted on: July 5, 2011

In Tuesday’s (7/5) Detroit News, Lawrence B. Johnson writes, “When Detroit Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert suddenly announced her resignation in May, principal second violinist Geoffrey Applegate saw 25 years of artistic commitment go up in smoke. ‘After Emmanuelle’s last performance, I went home and burst into tears,’ said Applegate, a 31-year DSO veteran who became the latest in a spurt of departures from the orchestra when he announced his retirement June 21. … During the six-month strike and its aftermath, what had been a standard trickle of turnover for reasons other than retirement—one musician or none leaving each year between 1990 and 2007—has become a surge. In the first six months of this year, six musicians have resigned, and two more have retired. Musicians who left, as well as others who remain, cite a pervasive lack of trust in management, uneasiness about the debt-ridden orchestra’s future and anger at music director Leonard Slatkin for what is perceived as his sympathy with management during the strike. … [President Anne] Parsons acknowledged the tension between management and musicians and said a certain amount of upset goes with any transition. … In recent meetings with the musicians, Parsons said, she and Slatkin ‘both told the orchestra how much we cared and how we wanted to move ahead together.’ ”

Posted July 5, 2011