Monday, October 25, 2010

More on the Detroit Symphony Strike

The Detroit News reported today that Detroit Symphony Orchestra management hired a lawyer to disuade local station WADL-TV from broadcasting a concert by striking musicians last weekend.

And the Wall Street Journal published a piece on the sad state of the Detroit orchestra. A few points stuck out for me that underscore just how out of touch everyone in that orchestra has been for years:

  • Since 2008, the Detroit Symphony has cut 30 managerial positions.  
  • The base pay for musicians entering the group was $104,650--and a pension and health insurance. 
  • The orchestra was $9 million in the hole last season, and were $10 million in the red in each of the previous two seasons. They owe $50 million in interest alone. 
  • This is the fifth DSO strike since 1969. 
It looks as if a lot of people in that organization--and the board has to take a hit here too--weren't keeping watch, and were deluded about the state of the orchestra and the city as a whole. It's not as if the problems with Detroit just happened: the Midwest has been de-industrializing for a long time.