Moving ahead in Detroit, post-strike

Posted on: June 7, 2013

In Friday’s (6/7) Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout compares the labor situations at U.S. orchestras that have faced strikes and lockouts: “Is it possible to fix things after a debilitating, trust-destroying strike? The good news is that the Detroit Symphony, which went out on strike for six months in 2010-11, seems to have found a way to do so. The whole world now knows what was evident to hardheaded observers three years ago, which is that the city of Detroit is as good as bankrupt. When the lights are going out all over town, few people are disposed to give much thought to Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, and I feared that a high-culture strike in a poverty-stricken town was bound to lead to the demise of the Detroit Symphony. Instead, it forced both sides to stop playing chicken and start working together.… Of particular relevance is the orchestra’s new Neighborhood Series of suburban subscription concerts. As of this season, 25% of the DSO’s classical performances are taking place in venues other than its downtown concert hall—an indispensable innovation in a community whose inner city is crumbling. But the biggest change of all, [Detroit Free Press classical music critic Mark] Stryker says, is that ‘the deep distrust that lit the fuse of the strike is being replaced by a culture of mutual respect among the musicians, management and board.’ To put it another way, everyone connected with the DSO seems to have figured out at long last that they’re playing on the same team.”

Posted June 7, 2013