Monday, October 11, 2010

Detroit Symphony Musicians Force Violinist Chang to Cancel Recital

The sad orchestral situation in Detroit just got worse this past weekend, when Sarah Chang announced that, because of an outcry from striking Detroit Symphony musicians, she would not perform her recital  scheduled for tonight. According to Mark Stryker in the Detroit Free Press, she also received offensive and threatening e-mails from the musicians' supporters.

The musicians are publicly claiming that the cancelation shows that Chang is demonstrating her solidarity with them, but it sure looks like intimidation. And a missed chance to creatively make their case to the public (who, after all, are the donors and concertgoers that help pay their salaries).

Chang scheduled the recital when her appearances with the orchestra were canceled as a result of the strike. She wanted the money made off the concert to go to the musicians' pensions fund, showing that she was at least a little sympathetic. Trying to enlist her as an ally--to pressure orchestra management, to make public comments; anything--would have been the way to go. Especially when, as Terry Teachout pointed out a while back, the DSO players need to convince people that it's even worth having them around.