“DSO: Change tune or be replaced”

Was going to get in a little practicing before leaving to go teach when I saw the latest development regarding the Detroit Symphony Orchestra current predicament after the Orchestra musicians vote no to the latest offer by the DSO this weekend.  A brief snippet below:

Players pressured to take tougher deal than they rejected

Lawrence B. Johnson / Special to The Detroit News

A very different Detroit Symphony Orchestra could emerge in the coming months unless the DSO musicians reverse themselves and agree to terms even more stringent than the offer they rejected over the weekend.

The DSO administration is prepared to move forward with a newly assembled group of players that would include only those members of the current orchestra who agree to unilaterally presented terms, DSO Vice President Paul Hogle said Sunday.


Without setting a date, Hogle said the time has come for a new symphony model to emerge, an ensemble that not only plays traditional concerts but also fully engages the community as ambassadors, educators and performers.

DSO cellist Haden McKay, shocked by the news that management may simply move on with replacements, said the plan is the equivalent of “an atom bomb.”

DSO violinist and musicians’ spokesman Joe Goldman said, “What kind of orchestra does (board chairman) Stanley Frankel think he’s going to have without any professional musicians in it?”

The full article is at the following link:


Drew McManus has posted a good synopsis of the situation as it unfolded as well as some more info here:


EDIT (03:11):  and my old cello teacher (and still a mentor, even if he may not know it) makes some very good points in his recent blog post about the situation:



  1. Yeah. Whoa! But that kind of crazy risk-taking is what the organization needs to do since they were practically guaranteed to fail anyway. It has come up so many times that there so many highly skilled musicians and not all that many of the elite positions. The musicians are replaceable — I’m sure there are plenty of more than adequate musicians who would happily work for less and would be willing to do what the administration wants them to do. I’m curious to see how this turns out.


  2. I think my old cello teacher said it best (the EDIT link I added above)–this may be the emergence of a top tier non-union orchestra. There are more than enough musicians out there, and many of them are young enough (or maybe desperate enough for work) that no being part of a musicians union will deter them from auditioning.

    How this plays out may very well affect how other troubled orchestras decide to resolve things!


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