Retiring Detroit Symphony musicians reflect on positive change at the orchestra

Posted on: May 15, 2014

In the Detroit News on Thursday (5/15), Chris Felcyn reports on the upcoming retirements of several longtime Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians, writing, “Altogether there are seven veteran symphony musicians retiring this year, with tenures ranging from 26 to 50 years of service.” They include Don Baker, “who this Sunday afternoon will play his last concert in Orchestra Hall. After 41 years as principal oboist of the DSO, Baker is retiring.… ‘There’s been a huge change in the atmosphere since our strike a few years ago,’ he said. ‘A positive change, absolutely. Our chairman of the board, Phillip Fisher, has diametrically changed the atmosphere from what it was before; the whole attitude stems from him I think. And it’s working. It’s really working.’ Violinist Bea Budinszky-Staples, retiring after 50 years with the orchestra, agrees. ‘Phillip Fisher coming in made a difference, and we have so many new, young, talented players. I think that in itself bodes well for the orchestra.’ ” Other veterans retiring at the end of this season, Felcyn reports, “are violist Cathy Compton (41 years), violinist Bruce Smith (39 years), trombonist Tanny Gurin (36 years), oboist Shelley Heron (29 years) and principal clarinetist Ted Oien (26 years).”   

Posted May 15, 2014