Category Archives: Blog
Gabrielle Poshadlo; (313) 576-5194; email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DSO PROMOTES 12 STAFF MEMBERS
Veteran executive announces her retirement as Chief Operating Officer
Detroit, (September 11, 2013) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced today the promotion of 12 members of its team. Originally announced at a staff-wide meeting by DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons last week, the reorganization comes following the decision of Patricia Walker, veteran DSO Chief Operating Officer, to resign her position in order to move on to the next adventure in her distinguished career.
Effective September 1, Paul Hogle, Executive Vice President, and Linda Lutz, Chief Financial Officer, have each agreed to take on new areas of responsibility, in addition to their previous assignments. Hogle will add artistic planning, orchestra operations, education programs, community engagement, presentations, and archives to his assignments. Lutz will add human resources and facility operations and maintenance to her portfolio. Both Hogle and Lutz report to the CEO.
Erik Rӧnmark has been promoted to General Manager and Artistic Administrator. The General Manager and Artistic Administrator is an executive leadership position for the DSO, with responsibility for directing orchestra operations, artistic administration and concert production. Rӧnmark will lead all DSO operations, while managing key internal and external relationships of the organization. Rӧnmark will report to the Executive Vice President.
Alice Sauro has been promoted to Orchestra Manager. The Orchestra Manager is a senior leadership position for the DSO with responsibility for planning, organizing and managing day-to-day orchestra operations and concert production. The Orchestra Manager supervises orchestra personnel staff, stage technicians, library staff, operations and productions coordinator, and the assistant to the Music Director. Sauro will report to the General Manager and Artistic Administrator.
Scott Harrison has been promoted to Executive Director of Board Engagement and Strategy. The Executive Director of Board Engagement and Strategy will be the chief engagement officer in pursuit of fully activated and deployed governance body members. The Executive Director will work seamlessly with the leadership from the Directors, Trustees, Governing Members, Orchestra and the Administration in pursuit of DSO strategy and innovation. Harrison will continue to serve as Executive Producer of Digital Media and report to the Executive Vice President.
Three other Director-level promotions were simultaneously announced:
Chris Harrington has been promoted to Director of Audience Development and Managing Director of the Paradise Jazz Series. Eric Woodhams has been named Director of Digital Media. Anna Savone is newly promoted to Director of Catering and Retail Services.
Finally, there are new assignments for several key managers: Lindsey Evert is the new Loyalty Program and Strategy Manager, Kathryn Ginsburg has been named Artistic Manager, Bree Kneisler assumes the role of Prospect Research and Advancement Services Manager, and Anné Renforth has been promoted to Patron Sales and Service Manager.
The reorganization included the elimination of five positions. The following is an alphabetical listing of the eliminated positions: Archivist, Controller, Director of Human Resources, Human Resources Coordinator, and Manager of Popular & Special Programs. Thanks to a generous gift from DSO Trustee Jim Mitchell, those affected will receive the complimentary services of Lee Hecht Harrison in helping transition those individuals into new employment opportunities. These functions have been reassigned, or contracted externally, allowing the DSO to create several new positions in the areas of digital media; fundraising; and community, educational and artistic support. Job descriptions will be posted at dso.org, and interested parties should send their cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1999 as Vice President of Human Resources. In 2007 she was promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer. While her more recent experience has been in the not-for-profit environment, Patricia has also been successful in healthcare and the public sector. Walker’s successful career is augmented by an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University, and a BA in English (magna cum Laude) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
In addition to being a full-time executive, Patricia supports a variety of youth programs including the Ann Arbor Youth Chorale, the Huron High School Cross Country team, the Huron High School choirs, youth volunteer programs at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital, and the Huron Rowing Association.
Patricia has participated on the HR Committee of the Board of HAVEN for 11 years, and she is the Fundraising Coordinator for the Huron Rowing Association. Walker is a member of Inforum Michigan (formerly the Women’s Economic Club), and a member of SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management).
“Pat served the DSO for over 14 amazing years, and in the last five, she took on an extensive executive role during one of the organization’s most stressful times in our recent history,” said Anne Parsons. “She met and overcame challenges with patience and an inner strength that enabled others to carry on; she has shown empathy and support to all she encountered; her resiliency and fortitude have made her an outstanding partner and caretaker to the DSO.”
Walker helped build the outstanding professional team which allowed the DSO to reconsider the roles and responsibilities and the preceding promotions, rather than search outside the organization.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AVANTI SUMMER MUSICFEST PRESENTS THREE CONCERTS THIS SUMMER
Lineup includes two programs in Birmingham and FREE finale concert at Orchestra Hall
DETROIT 6/4/2013 – As part of the AVANTI Summer MusicFest, the Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) will perform three concerts for the public this summer, which will include a rare opportunity to hear small ensembles in an intimate space, a presentation of beloved large repertoire, and a fun-filled family afternoon featuring AVANTI Workshop students and DSO Musicians. The performances will take place on Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, and Saturday, July 27 at 1:30 PM at Orchestra Hall.
Summer Music in the Sanctuary
WHEN: Thursday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, 1589 W. Maple Road, Birmingham
PROGRAM: Barber’s Summer Music, Williams’ Air and Simple Gifts, Dohnanyi’s Sextet in C Major
Orchestra: Appalachian Spring
WHEN: Friday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: First United Methodist Church of Birmingham, 1589 W. Maple Road, Birmingham
PROGRAM: Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Bartok’s Rumanian Dances, Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
This concert will also feature AVANTI students in three collaborations: AVANTI’s new solo and conducting competitions, and the AVANTI Chorale. These outstanding new programs provide yet another opportunity for AVANTI Workshop students to collaborate with professionals, taking their music-making to the next level.
Ticket prices for the July 25-26 Birmingham concerts have been lowered to $20 with a special patron/preferred seating ticket price of $50, and can be purchased online at: http://www.avantisummermusicfest.org/festival-concerts/ or reserved by calling 313-530-5118.
AVANTI Workshop Finale and Silent Auction
WHEN: Saturday, July 27 at 1:30 PM
WHERE: Orchestra Hall, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit
PROGRAM: AVANTI’s Workshop students will perform side-by-side with DSO Musicians on the Detroit Symphony’s home stage, while a silent auction supporting AVANTI Summer MusicFest takes place.
Complimentary tickets for the Saturday, July 27 Orchestra Hall concert can be obtained online at www.dso.org or at the Max M. Fisher Music Center Box Office beginning June 15.
Tickets will also be available at the door.
Purchase tickets at DSO.org
or call 313-576-5111
Leonard Slatkin crafts adventurous collection of repertoire
DSO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik programs season inspired by vintage music sensations
DSO Assistant Conductor Teddy Abrams crafts magical family series
Yo-Yo Ma and Lang Lang headline DSO Presents series
Absolutely no ticket price increases across all series
DETROIT, (February 10, 2013) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) announced programming today for its 2013-14 Orchestra Hall Classical, Pops, and Young People’s Family Subscription Series. The new season reflects absolutely no increases in individual ticket prices.
The DSO and Music Director Leonard Slatkin, entering the sixth season of a partnership that has been described as producing a “sweeping sonic landscape” by the Detroit Free Press, are putting forth an adventurous combination of major classical repertoire and an assortment of imaginative and technically demanding World Premieres of music by prominent contemporary composers from all around the world.
Ambitious recording projects will continue next season, expanding the reach of the Orchestra through innovative digital distribution. Live from Orchestra Hall, the DSO’s unprecedented series of live HD webcasts, will continue during 2013-14, bringing the best of the DSO Classical Series to a global audience. Stay tuned for a complete schedule.
A MESSAGE FROM MAESTRO SLATKIN TO PATRONS
“It is my privilege to present our 2013-14 season to you. This is a year in which we see and hear both the old and new, the familiar and the unknown, as well as celebrating the diversity and artistry of our orchestra.
The DSO, our soloists, guest conductors and I will bring music by beloved composers such as Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Debussy, Tchaikovsky and so many more to life. Returning to the standard repertoire is always welcome, both by the audience as well as the orchestra.
Coming back to Orchestra Hall are artists such as Gil Shaham, Hilary Hahn, Kathleen Battle, Leon Fleisher and Yefim Bronfman. Many musicians from the orchestra will be front and center as well.
There are major premieres of works by David Del Tredici and Bright Sheng, among others. Outstanding young talent will be making debuts on our stage. And of course there is the great Detroit Symphony on each of the programs.
I hope you will take advantage of this season’s offerings and become among the first to secure your seat at the Max.”
MAJOR SYMPHONIC WORKS
The DSO will tackle a host of major symphonic repertoire during the 2013-14 season that will both feature key guest artists and showcase the talent of DSO musicians. The line-up includes Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 (Oct. 10-12), Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Nov. 7-8), Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra (Nov. 15-17), Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 (Dec. 6-7), Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 (Dec. 12-13), Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 (Jan. 24-26), Orff’s Carmina Burana (Jan. 30-Feb. 2), Respighi’s Fountains of Rome (Feb. 13-15), Dvořák’s Symphony No. 6 (Feb. 20-22), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade (March 21-23), Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 (April 4-6), Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 6 (April 25-27), Copland’s Appalachian Spring (May 16-18), Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 (May 22-24), and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 (May 30-31), among many others.
WORLD, AMERICAN AND DSO PREMIERES:
Slatkin’s penchant for new music by contemporary composers will be on display next season with a number of World and North American Premieres on the schedule at Orchestra Hall. The 2013-14 season opens with the first of two World Premieres of Chinese-American composer Bright Sheng’s music. Violinist Gil Shaham will premiere Sheng’s Violin Concerto on opening weekend (Oct. 4-6), and later in the season, Sheng’s Zodiac Tales will receive its world premiere on a program with Orff’s Carmina Burana (Jan. 30-Feb. 2). Building on the success of the DSO’s 2011-12 performance of David Del Tredici’s Final Alice, the Orchestra will perform the World Premiere of Del Tredici’s opera Dum Dee Tweedle (Nov. 30-Dec. 1), a setting of Chapter 4, “Tweedledum and Tweedledee” from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. DSO Principal Harp Patricia Masri-Fletcher will perform the World Premiere of Allan Gilliland’s Harp Concerto (March 27-29) on a program with seven other DSO soloists. The final World Premiere of the season will feature a work by Chinese-American composer Wang Jie (March 27-29), winner of the DSO’s sixth annual Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers. The work is as yet untitled.
The DSO will also perform the North American premiere of Cyborg by Spanish composer Ferran Cruixent, who composed the piece in 2010 on a commission from the Staatskapelle Weimar in Germany.
The season will also feature a DSO premiere of Aaron Copland’s Hear Ye! Hear Ye! as part of the Orchestra’s ongoing project to record a complete set of Copland’s six ballets. Other DSO premieres next season include Mason Bates’ Violin Concerto, Piazzolla’s Sinfonia de Buenos Aires, John Williams’ Tuba Concerto and Carter’s Remembrance.
CLASSICAL DEBUTS & GUEST ARTISTS: World-renowned soprano Kathleen Battle to star in annual “Classical Roots” concert
Leonard Slatkin will conduct the orchestra in 13 of 21 classical concert programs, including the annual tradition honoring African American composers, “Classical Roots,” which will star soprano Kathleen Battle. During the other weeks, the DSO will welcome back a number of conductors who have become both orchestra and audience favorites including Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Hans Graf, Andrew Litton, and Carlos Kalmar, while some newcomers, who have garnered great excitement and acclaim in recent seasons, will make their Detroit debuts:
Teddy Abrams (Oct. 25-27) is the DSO’s Assistant Conductor since the 2012-13 season and will lead the DSO for his subscription concert debut in a program celebrating 100 years since the birth of composer Benjamin Britten. The program includes Britten’s Piano Concerto, Wagner’s Overture to The Flying Dutchman, Sibelius’ The Oceanides, and Debussy’s La mer.
Giancarlo Guerrero, Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, will make his DSO debut on Feb. 13-15 in a program featuring Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Respighi’s Fountains of Rome, and Piazzolla’s Sinfonia de Buenos Aires.
Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer (May 1-3) will make his DSO debut conducting a program starring Louis Lortie performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Fischer is Principal Conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Chief Conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic, and Music Director of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
Music Director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Sinfonietta, Mei-Ann Chen (Dec. 12-13) will make her DSO debut alongside Marc-André Hamelin performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17. Also on the program are Mozart’s Overture to The Magic Flute, Mendelssohn’s Overture to Midsummer Night’s Dream and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4.
The DSO will welcome exciting soloists from the world over, but many DSO musicians will take the spotlight as well. Concertmaster Yoonshin Song will perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and a special program of DSO solos (March 27-30) will feature Principal Flute David Buck performing John Williams’ Flute Concerto and Principal Tuba Dennis Nulty performing Williams’ Tuba Concerto, both for later release on Naxos; Principal Harp Patricia Masri-Fletcher performing the World Premiere of Allan Gilliland’s Harp Concerto; Principal Trombone Kenneth Thompkins performing Elliott Carter’s Remembrance; and violinists Sheryl Hwangbo, Rachel Klaus, Adrienne Rӧnmark and Hong-Yi Mo performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins.
Soloists making their DSO debut in 2013-14:
- British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor makes his DSO debut on Oct. 25-27 performing the Britten Piano Concerto, celebrating 100 years since the composer’s birth, conducted by DSO Assistant Conductor Teddy Abrams
- Moscow-born violinist Alexandra Soumm will make her North American debut Nov. 7-8 performing Sibelius’ Violin concerto, conducted by Leonard Slatkin
- Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers will perform the DSO premiere of Mason Bates’ Violin Concerto, a work that was written for her, on Dec. 6-7 with Leonard Slatkin conducting
- Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov will make his DSO debut performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on Feb. 13-15 with Giancarlo Guerrero conducting
- Violinist Benjamin Schmid will make his DSO debut performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto on Feb. 22 with Hans Graf conducting
- Italian violinist Augustin Hadelich will make his DSO debut on April 25-27 performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Andrew Litton conducting
- Cellist Zuill Bailey will make his DSO debut on May 22-24 performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto, a piece he recently recorded with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on the Telarc label
The 2013-14 season will see the continuation of two recording projects spearheaded by Leonard Slatkin. The DSO began a three-disc project last year with Naxos to record all six ballets by Aaron Copland, and the material for the second disc will be recorded in the new season.
An on-going endeavor to record a complete set of John Williams’ concerti featuring DSO Principal musicians will also continue in 2013-14 with performances of the Williams Flute Concerto and Tuba Concerto. Past releases have included John Williams Horn Concerto (2010) featuring DSO Principal Horn Karl Pituch, John Williams’ Violin Concerto featuring former DSO Concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert (2011), Williams’ Five Sacred Trees featuring DSO Principal Bassoon Robert Williams (2013), and the Williams Cello Concerto featuring DSO Principal Cellist Robert deMaine (2013). The concerti are direct-to-digital recordings on the Naxos label available to download via the DSO to Go mobile app, iTunes and Instant Encore.
Live recordings are scheduled for the following performances:
- Copland’s Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (Oct. 10-12), Three Latin American Sketches (Dec. 6-7), and Appalacian Spring (May 16-18), conducted by Leonard Slatkin for the second disc of the Copland ballet recording project
- John Williams’ Flute Concerto and Tuba Concerto (March 27-30), conducted by Leonard Slatkin for the Williams concerti project
The public is encouraged to attend live concerts to be a part of DSO history as it is made.
DSO POPS SEASON: Friday night pops series returns
New DSO Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik begins his three-year tenure with the Orchestra by programming a tour of the last century of Pops favorites, starting in the 1930s with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classics. Audiences will enjoy music by John Williams and Ray Charles, a 100-year retrospective of Broadway favorites, lounge music reminiscent of the Mad Men Era, a tribute to Led Zeppelin, a flurry of patriotic anthems and a special orchestral celebration of cherished Looney Toons scores. A DSO tradition will also return to Orchestra Hall as Thomas Wilkins conducts the DSO patrons’ annual favorite, Home for the Holidays, in December. (See full listing of DSO pops programs at the end of this release).
YOUNG PEOPLE’S FAMILY CONCERTS SEASON
Assistant Conductor Teddy Abrams has programmed thrills and surprises for young music lovers of all ages in his second YPFC season with the DSO. Beginning with a Halloween Mystery Party with the DSO, complete with costumes, the series will teach junior audience members how to recognize classical music in popular culture, link classical repertoire with music they are sure to recognize and present a musical portrait of a young Mozart, who wrote his first symphony at only 8 years old.
The Tiny Tots series, geared toward children 2-6, will feature the Candy Band, a group of rockin’ Detroit moms, a Dr. Seuss program starring jazz drummer Sean Dobbins, a performance by Abrams’ own Sixth Floor Trio, and a Caribbean adventure with the Gratitude Steel Band. (See full listing of DSO YPFC and Tiny Tots programs at the end of this release)
“DSO PRESENTS” SPECIAL SERIES:
The celebrity-packed 2013-14 series of “DSO Presents” special concerts features a wide variety of household names from Yo-Yo Ma (April 9) and Lang Lang (Sept. 28) to the Indigo Girls (Oct. 30), all performing with the DSO. Holiday specials include the Vienna Boys Choir (Dec. 2) and a one-night-only performance of Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14).
Subscription packages for classical, pops, and Young People’s Family series are on sale now. The deadline to renew for all existing subscribers is March 28. As part of the DSO’s Patron-Minded Pricing Program, classical subscription ticket prices continue to reflect up to a 50 percent reduction from 2009 levels. For both classical and pops subscriptions, patrons will receive at least one of their concerts free with every package, excluding Box Level classical subscribers.
Students of any age can attend any Orchestra Hall concert free all season long by purchasing a Soundcard for $25. More information is available at dso.org/soundcard.
2013-14 Classical Season Subscription prices
Subscription packages will be sold in groups of 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 21
- 7 concert series prices will be $90 for Upper Balcony, $150 for Mid-Balcony and Main Floor B, $300 for Main Floor A and Dress Circle and $490 for the Box Level.
- 8 and 9 concert series prices will be $105 for Upper Balcony, $175 for Mid-Balcony and Main Floor B, $350 for Main Floor A and Dress Circle and $800 for the Box Level.
- 12 concert series will be $150/$250/$500/$840
- 14 concert series prices will be $180/$300/$600/$1,400
- 21 concert series will be $240/$400/$800/$2,100
2013-14 Pops Season Subscription prices—Eight concerts for the price of seven!
Subscription packages will be sold separately in groups of 8 for Coffee, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday concerts
- Coffee Concerts – 8-concert series prices will be $128 for Upper Balcony, $208 for Mid-Balcony, $288 for Main Floor B, $320 for Main Floor A, $336 for Dress Circle and $448 for the Box Level.
- Friday nights, Saturdays or Sundays – 8-concert series prices will be $133 for Upper Balcony, $266 for Mid-Balcony, $336 for Main Floor B, $406 for Main Floor A, $476 for Dress Circle and $735 for the Box Level.
2013-14 Young People’s and Tiny Tots Subscription prices—Buy an adult YPFC subscription and your first child attends Free!
- YPFC Concerts for Adults (incl.one child) – 4-concert series will be $52 for Main Floor B, $72 for Main Floor A, $96 for Dress Circle and $120 for Box Level
- YPFC additional children (25% off) – 4-concert series will be $39 for Main Floor B, $54 for Main Floor A, $72 for Dress Circle and $90 for Box Level
- Tiny Tots Series (General Admission in The Music Box) –4-concert series will be $40 per person
Subscriptions can be purchased by visiting dso.org or calling the DSO’s Box Office at 313-576-5111.
ABOUT THE DSO
The internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in December 2012, is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an unwavering commitment to Detroit. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the 12th Music Director of the DSO during the 2008-09 season and acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik was appointed Principal Pops Conductor in November 2012. The DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with chart-topping musicians from Smokey Robinson to Kid Rock. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922 when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to impact and serve the community through music. For more information visit dso.org or download the free DSO to Go mobile app.
DETROIT SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
2013-14 CLASSICAL & POPS SEASON CONCERTS & PROGRAMS
All concerts at Orchestra Hall at the Max M. Fisher Music Center unless otherwise indicated
Programs and artists subject to change
Opening Weekend: Gil Shaham
Friday, October 4, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Gil Shaham, violin
Rimsky-Korsakov – Russian Easter Overture
Bright Sheng – Violin Concerto (World Premiere)
Ravel – Rapsodie Espagnole
Ravel – Pavane for a Dead Princess
Ravel – Daphnis and Chloe: Suite No. 2
Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 8p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Conrad Tao, piano
Copland – Hear Ye! Hear Ye! (DSO premiere)
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5
Benjamin Britten Centennial!
Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
Wagner – Overture to The Flying Dutchman
Britten – Piano Concerto
Sibelius – The Oceanides
Debussy – La Mer
Mahler Symphony No. 4
Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 8, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Alexandra Soumm, violin
Ilana Davidson, soprano
Ferran Cruixent – Cyborg (North American Premiere)
Sibelius – Violin Concerto
Mahler – Symphony No. 4
Friday, November 15, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor
Kirill Gerstein, piano
Liszt – Les Preludes
Liszt – Piano Concerto No. 1
Bartok – Concerto for Orchestra
Wolfgang & Wonderland
Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 1, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Yoonshin Song, violin
Hila Plitmann, soprano
Scott Ramsay, tenor
Michael Kelly, baritone
WSU Symphonic Choir
Dr. Norah Duncan IV, choir director
Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 2
David Del Tredici – Dum Dee Tweedle (World Premiere)
Slatkin Conducts Brahms
Friday, December 6, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
Friday, December 6, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin
Copland – Three Latin American Sketches
Bates – Violin Concerto (DSO Premiere)
Brahms – Symphony No. 4
Mozart & Mendelssohn
Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 13, 2013 at 10:45 a.m.
Mei-Ann Chen, conductor
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
Mozart – Overture to The Magic Flute
Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 17
Mendelssohn – Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Mendelssohn – Symphony No. 4
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Hilary Hahn, violin
Beethoven – Overture to Consecration of the House
Nielsen – Violin Concerto
Schubert – Symphony No. 9
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 31, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Kiera Duffy, soprano
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Hugh Russell, baritone
University Musical Society Choral Union
Ann Arbor Youth Chorale
Bright Sheng – Zodiac Tales (World Premiere)
Orff – Carmina Burana
Valentine’s Weekend: Ravishing Rachmaninoff
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor
Daniil Trifonov, piano
Gershwin – Cuban Overture
Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Respighi – Fountains of Rome
Piazzolla – Sinfonia de Buenos Aires (DSO Premiere)
Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Hans Graf, conductor
Benjamin Schmid, violin
Webern – Im Sommerwind
Korngold – Violin Concerto
Dvořák – Symphony No. 6
Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Kathleen Battle, soprano
Brazeal Dennard Chorale
Friday, March 21, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 23, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Gould – Spirituals
MacMillan – Piano Concerto No. 3 (DSO Premiere)
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade
Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 28, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Hong-Yi Mo, violin
Adrienne Rönmark, violin
Sheryl Hwangbo, violin
Rachel Klaus, violin
David Buck, flute
Dennis Nulty, tuba
Patricia Masri-Fletcher, harp
Kenneth Thompkins, trombone
Vivaldi – Concerto for Four Violins
John Williams – Flute Concerto (DSO Premiere)
Wang Jie – Lebenbom Commission (World Premiere)
Allan Gilliland – Harp Concerto (World Premiere)
John Williams – Tuba Concerto (DSO Premiere)
Carter – Remembrance (DSO Premiere)
Britten – Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Leon Fleisher, piano
Druckman – Mirage
Ravel – “Left Hand” Concerto
Shostakovich – Symphony No. 10
Beethoven Violin Concerto
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Friday, April 25, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Andrew Litton, conductor
Augustin Hadelich, violin
Beethoven – Violin Concerto
Prokofiev – Symphony No. 6
Lortie Plays Chopin
Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 2, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Louis Lortie, piano
Debussy – Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun
Chopin – Piano Concerto No. 1
Berlioz – Excerpts from Romeo and Juliette
Bronfman Plays Beethoven
Friday, May 16, 2014 at 10:45 a.m.
Saturday, May 17, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 3 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Yefim Bronfman, piano
Krzysztof Penderecki – Jacob’s Dream
Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 3
Copland – Appalachian Spring
Elgar Cello Concerto
Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Carlos Kalmar, conductor
Zuill Bailey, cello
Brahms – Variations on a theme of Joseph Haydn
Elgar – Cello Concerto
John Adams – Tromba lontana (DSO Premiere)
Nielsen – Symphony No. 4
Mahler’s Third Symphony
Friday, May 30, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Elizabeth Bishop, mezzo-soprano
UMS Choral Union
MSU Children’s Choir
Mahler – Symphony No. 3
Opening Weekend: The Music of John Williams
Robert Bernhardt, conductor
Fri., Oct. 18 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 19 at 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 20 at 3 p.m.
Fred & Ginger
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Fri., November 1 at 10:45 a.m.
Sat., November 2 at 8 p.m.
Sun., November 3 at 3 p.m.
Ellis Hall is Ray Charles
Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Fri., November 22 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., December 23 at 8 p.m.
Sun., December 24 at 3 p.m.
Home for the Holidays
Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Fri., December 20 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., December 21 at 8 p.m.
Sun., December 22 at 3 p.m.
A Tribute to Led Zeppelin
Brent Havens, conductor
Fri., Jan. 17 at 8 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 18 at 8 p.m.
A Century of Broadway
Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Fri., February 7 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., February 8 at 8 p.m.
Sun., February 9 at 3 p.m.
The Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era
Steven Reineke, conductor
Fri., March 14 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., March 15 at 8 p.m.
Sun., March 16 at 3 p.m.
Bugs Bunny on Broadway
Erik Ochsner, conductor
Fri., April 11 at 8 p.m.
Sat., April 12 at 8 p.m.
Sun., April 13 at 3 p.m.
Jeff Tyzik, conductor
Fri., May 9 at 10:45 a.m. & 8 p.m.
Sat., May 10 at 8 p.m.
Sun., May 11 at 3 p.m.
DSO PRESENTS SERIES
Lang Lang with the DSO
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Sat., Sept. 28, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Indigo Girls with the DSO
Wed., Oct. 30, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Vienna Boys Choir
Mon., Dec. 2, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Jean-Marie Zeitouni, conductor
Sat., Dec. 14, 2013 at 8 p.m.
Yo-Yo Ma with the DSO
Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Wed., April 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
YOUNG PEOPLE’S FAMILY CONCERTS
A Halloween Mystery Party with the DSO
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sat., Oct. 26 at 11 a.m.
Here, There and Everywhere!
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sat., Nov. 23 at 11 a.m.
Rock! Sing! Swing!
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sat., Feb. 8 at 11 a.m.
The Magical Life of Mozart
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Sat., May 10 at 11 a.m.
TINY TOTS CONCERTS
Rock O’Ween with the Candy Band
Sat., Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. in The Music Box
Sean Dobbins and Friends—Jazz Meets Dr. Seuss
Sat., Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. in The Music Box
Teddy’s Excellent Adventures Featuring the Sixth Floor Trio
Sat., Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. in The Music Box
Caribbean Fun Time!
Sat., May 10 at 10 a.m. in The Music Box
Save Our Symphony Pop-up CD Store!
Many thanks to the local musicians who have made these CDs available to Save Our Symphony members.
CDs are $10.00 each, plus $1.00 each for shipping and handling. Quantities are limited
Contact David@SaveOurSymphony.org to arrange for payment and delivery.
All proceeds will go directly to Save Our Symphony.
Click on the image for a closeup of the CD
Piper’s Holiday – Ervin Monroe and Alexander Jonjic
Holiday Brass – Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings
Detroit Symphony Wind Quintet
Erv Monroe, Don Baker, Ted Oien, Paul Schaller, Bob Williams, Karl Pituch, Eugene Wade
Hobson’s Choice – St Clair Trio
Emmanuelle Boisvert, Marcy Chanteaux, Pauline Martin
Barn Burner – Randy Hawes
Pavane – Erv Monroe, Terry Herald
Musical Treasures – Erv Monroe, Fontaine Lang
The Classical Album – Erv Monroe, Alexander Zonjic
An Affair of the Harp – Kerstin Allvin plays James Hartway
City Sketches – Music of James Hartway
St Clair Trio, Fedora Horowitz, Earnestine Nimmons, Laura Larson, Kerstin Allvin, Flavio Varani, Ray Ferguson, Glenn Carlos, Peter Schoenbach
Imaginary Creatures – Music of James Hartway
Pauline Martin, Pamela Schiffer, Catherine Wilson, Rob Conway, Caroline Coade, Kerstin Allvin, Jeffery Zook
Gestures – David Assemany
Collage – David Assemany
DSO Concertmast Yoon Shin Song with DSO Civic Co-Concertmaster Sofia Pokrzywa at a Governing Member Gala on September 27, 2013
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has, for more than a century, inspired our community with world-class music and artistry. For many of us, the DSO is a bridge between our past and our future. Listening to the world’s top musicians play on the magnificent stage of Orchestra Hall, not only reminds us of our grand and ambitious history; it also replenishes our wellspring of optimism about the future of our great community.
As we look forward, we understand the challenges ahead. But we also understand that the strength of the DSO is not found in the bricks, mortar, and steel upon which Orchestra Hall was built. Rather, it is found in fellowship of leaders, patrons and musicians who have worked for many years to preserve and grow this cultural jewel of Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
The mission of the Governing Members is to ensure that this tradition of support continues well into the next century. We are community leaders who recognize that the DSO is a dominant thread in Detroit’s rich cultural tapestry, a destination for education and learning for all of Southeast Michigan, and a symbol that music and culture are flourishing in our community. We have accepted responsibility for preserving this institution by committing to be ambassadors for the DSO in our social and business communities and outspoken advocates for arts and culture generally.
As Chairman of the Governing Members and as a Member of the Board of Directors, I am dedicated to ensuring that our DSO remains a vital and vibrant part of our great community. But I need your help. The bedrock for a sustainable and vibrant DSO is a broad base of Governing Members who are willing and able to provide the enthusiasm, leadership, and philanthropy necessary to preserve this cultural gem. Won’t you join us?
Together, we will ensure that the DSO remains a part of our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Engage and inspire,
Well, the Avanti Summer MusicFest is over. It was a tremendous success, and we are all exhausted! Click here to see pictures of the event:
Cornelia Pokrzywa -
For those of us who eagerly awaited the end of the strike and the return of the musicians to Orchestra Hall, the 2011-12 season brought many highlights tempered by bittersweet moments and some notes of longing.
The shortened Spring-Summer offerings in 2011 brought us one of the saddest days in recent memory – the final concert of much-beloved concertmaster Emmanuelle Boisvert. Since her departure was a direct result of the strike, there was no opportunity for a fond and formal farewell. Her last concert was simply her last concert. Other retirements and departures followed. As a result, the 2011-2012 season featured perhaps the largest number of substitute musicians that audiences had ever seen.
For those of us who hold a special fondness for our musicians, it was often difficult to come to concerts knowing that we may not see or hear a favorite. Some, of course, had moved on for good. Others, due to the strike, took on obligations that limited their performances in the 2011-12 season.
Audience favorite Kim Kennedy led the 2011-12 season as acting concertmaster, performing solos and a concerto to the delight of those who have admired her playing for years. The recent announcement of a new concertmaster has many audience members excited for what will come.
One benefit of the limited offerings this season: many of the musicians took to concertizing in the community and beyond. Local chamber music programs gave the audience the opportunity to listen to our esteemed musicians in more intimate settings. A brunch series at the Birmingham Community House, the ProMozart Society, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and the neighborhood concerts all gave audiences the opportunity to hear music in new and different settings.
Still, for many of us, the best place to hear the orchestra is Orchestra Hall. Some of the most memorable concerts this season included the Festival of Flutes with Sir James Galway alongside the DSO’s own Sharon Sparrow and Jeff Zook, who performed Vivaldi’s Piccolo concerto to a full house. Favorite conductors featured this season included Neemi Jarvi, Jerzy Semkov, and Thomas Wilkins. It’s clear that Detroit audiences know, love and appreciate the conductors who know and respond to the heart of the DSO. The season finale will feature Robert DeMaine.
Looking ahead, the audience knows that DSO is a living, growing organization. We cannot stop change, nor should we strive to stop it. Audience input, however, remains an important goal as the DSO continues to develop new offerings. We must stay involved, whether as subscribers, donors, or new media users. As we know, cultural institutions in Detroit need community support. Let’s step up and hold our orchestra out to the world as a successful example
David Faulkner –
Saturday, Oct 8, Michel Camilo piano concerto #2 and Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Leonard Slatkin conductor:
The Camilo was certainly new to my ears. I recall it being well performed by Mr. Camilo. I did not sense any real soul to the piece or Camilo’s interpretation. The Berlioz seemed rather mundane, predictable, somewhat choppy and i recall being nearly asleep after a couple movements. I believe there were about 30 substitute players that evening. Charles Dutoit’s colourful and highly dramatic reading of Symphonie Fantastique had me on the edge of my seat right from start to finish in a concert a few year’s back at OH. It seemed that Slatkin et al needed a blood transfusion in comparison to Dutoit.
Friday Oct 21, Neilsen Helios Overture, Franz Liszt piano concerto #2, Tchaikovsky Symphony #6(Pathetique), Jerzy Semkow conductor, Kirill Gerstein soloist:
The Helioz overture was rich with atmosphere and buzzed with excitement. I am not a big Liszt fan and especially not of the 2nd concerto. However it was lovingly performed by Gerstein and kind of won me over a least for that evening. Maestro Semkow has long been a favorite conductor of mine in Detroit. He has consistently given HIGHLY musical and polished performances mostly of Mendelsson, Mahler, Bruckner, Mozart and so forth. It was clear that night that Mr. Semkow was not well as he sat down to conduct the entire program. The Tchaikovsky had some wonderfully profound moments but i felt semkow took the 3rd movement (Marche) at a nearly impossible slow tempo. However Mr. Semkow should be thanked formally by DSO management for giving over 32 years of wonderful concerts to Detroit audiences. Are you listening DSO?
Thursday, Nov 17, Festival of Flutes featuring James Galway, Lady Jeanne Galway, Maria Piccinini, Jeff Zook-piccolo, Hai-Xin Wu-violin:
The program featured Bach Brandenburg concerto #4, Paquito D’Rivera Gran Danzon, Mozart flute concerto #2. The Bach was well played and quite spirited. The Gran Danzon found Maria Piccinini in great form. This piece was most interesting, with many unusual rhythms and colourful effects throughout. Jeff Zook took an engaging and fun romp thru the Vivaldi piccolo concerto. I was amazed at how zook was able to negotiate rapid-fire trills and runs and not losing his breath. Mr. Galway’s playing in the Mozart was “pretty” and technically flawless. One would have liked a little more depth and variance of tonal quality. All in all a very enjoyable night.
Friday Nov 25, Schubert “Unfinished” Symphony, Rachmaninov Symphony #3, Mason Bates “B-Sides.” Leonard Slatkin conductor, Mason Bates-Electronica:
The Schubert sounded like Mr Slatkin was in a big hurry to get it over with. Over the top dynamics and no sense of mystery. Things improved with the Rachmaninov. This was a well played but somewhat restrained effort. There were some wonderfully lush moments in the string melodies. The B-Sides exploded with all kinds of subtle color and dynamic shifts. Mason Bates is clearly an interesting composer. Although a bit repetitive the last movement was downright infectious.
Friday Jan 20, Franck Symphony in D Minor, Saint Saens Piano Concerto #2. Helen Bouchez Conductor, Conrad Tao soloist.
Mr. Tao’s playing in the concerto was full of high drama but also wonderfully tender when called for. Tao’s technical skills were enormous but he still managed to play quite musically for the most part. I enjoyed hearing the Franck which i had not heard for many years. Mrs. Bouchez’s conducting was fairly straight-forward but had moments of extra sparkle.
Friday Feb 24, John Adams, On the Transmigration of Souls, Brahms German Requiem. Leonard Slatkin Conductor, UMS Choral Union:
The Adams was plagued from the start with the “recorded” parts being too prominent against the hushed strings of the orchestra. Tho the piece was clearly moving it struck me as rather disjointed in parts. I enjoyed the Brahms. The Choral Union sang with strong conviction and produced mostly a unified fairly rich sound. There was however a very wobbly out of control vibrato from one of the sopranos which overwhelmed parts of the score. Slatkin’s conducting was fairly predictable but did have some beautiful moments.
Fri March 23, Mozart Don Giovanni Overture, Beehtoven Piano Concerto #5, Mozart Symphony # 38. Nicholas McGegan Conductor:
The Don Giovanni was rather pedestrian. The Beehtoven played by Robert Levin was rather earthbound. Levin’s brutally aggressive attack and bleached out tonal quality were not pleasing to these ears. I was lost by the end of the first movement. Nicholas McGegan led a fine performance of the Mozart symphony. Although McGegan is very much in the “original instrument” style of playing, he doesn’t go over the top with the lack of vibrato and somewhat dried-out tonal quality. The piece was quite engaging and refreshing to hear a new-”old” twist on things.
Sat March 31, Brahms Piano Concerto #2, Wagner-DEVLIEGER Die Meistersinger-Orchestral Tribute. Neeme Jarvi Conductor, Helene Grimaud soloist:
The LONG LONG overdue return of Neeme Jarvi. Mrs Grimaud’s playing in the Brahms was very competent and quite engaging overall. Once again though i thought her playing became rather strident and aggressive, almost out of control at times. Especially in the prayer-like second movement more poetry in her playing would have helped. Well the second half was all Neeme Jarvi. It took all of about five minutes to realize how much the DSO misses the charisma and innate musicality of Jarvi. It seemed like years since the sound of the cellos and strings had that much warmth and bloom to the sound. Jarvi ever the bubbly type had the audience very engaged right from the start. The two American encores were wonderful!
David Assemany –
I attended almost every classical week of the 2011-12 Season. I did miss the Classical Roots concert, and I will miss the Saint-Saëns concert next week.
From the outset it was clear that this was not the DSO from season’s past; so many faces gone, so many unknown musicians on the stage. The strings sounded distinctly different, who were all those percussionists, and what is with those cameras?! This was going to take some getting used to.
As the season progressed I got used to seeing the new faces. There seemed to be consistency in who was subbing which was good of course. The string sound filled out, the percussion section sounded good from the outset, the flutes found excellent players to fill out the section. I have always been a fan of Kim Kennedy, and seeing her step up as Acting Concertmaster was nice, as was hearing her in the starring role quite a few times, most notable the recent Wagner/Waxman Tristan and Isolde Fantasy. Acting Principal Flute Sharon Sparrow was her usual spectacular self. Other people who shone when asked to move up in the section included Úna O’Riordan, Cello and Geoffrey Johnson, English Horn.
As a pianist, I always look forward to the big piano concertos. This season had several highlights, one of them completely unexpected; the Conrad Tao concert in January featuring the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 2 in G-minor. I loved it so much I went back the next night, and then watched the webcast! Conrad is a mesmerizing pianist, with technique to burn and more importantly a soul. He is a young man with quite a career already, and one to watch in the future.
Another unexpected delight was Final Alice by David Del Tredici. I had never heard of the piece, and quite honestly did not expect to love it. I did however love it, once again watching the webcast after attending the concert live the night before. It was a tour de force for the soprano Hila Plitmann, and the musicians got quite a workout as well. There are probably not many conductors who could pull this piece off as well as Maestro Slatkin did.
The webcasts evolved over the course of the season. They were a little rough at first, which is not surprising as they were navigating uncharted territory at every turn. However the Digital Media team led by Scott Harrison and Eric Woodhams quickly became expert at producing an excellent webcast. Kudos guys, looking forward to next season!
The Mix at the Max event in April was a fun departure from the norm. Featuring the Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra The Knights, it included a pre-concert mixer with food and drink from several local restaurants. The crowd was young and enthusiastic. Hopefully this sort of event will bring people to the hall who would not normally attend a classical concert.
A disappointment for me was the reduced season of classical concerts actually performed in Orchestra Hall. Most of the venues that the community concerts were performed in are acoustically poor and even the good ones don’t hold a candle to Orchestra Hall. I hope the ensuing seasons reduce the commitment to the community concerts and focus on getting those people to come to the DSO’s wonderful home stage. How about a free ticket to a concert in the hall with every purchase of a community concert ticket? Busses from the burbs?
On a different topic, I must tell about my experiences as an SOS officer with the DSO administration and staff at the MAX: Going into the season, I saw potential for friction with the administration while we from SOS tried to become more involved in the behind the scenes work of producing ‘world class music on the stage of Orchestra Hall.’ Happily this was not the case. The staff was always polite, professional, friendly and efficient. Upper management, starting right at the top with Anne Parsons, went out of their way to make the SOS Governing Members feel welcome and listened to. Our concerns were not always addressed, but they were always respectfully heard. We were not shy about pushing our way into the daily goings on. Our presence at the hall was always (seemingly) welcomed.
And finally, I would like to extend a big welcome to: Sheryl Hwangbo, violin – Monica Fosnaugh, English horn – Johanna Yarbrough, French horn – Peter McCaffrey, cello – David LeDoux, cello – Yoonshin Song, Concertmaster!
An Annual Fund gift to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is your vote of confidence in the DSO’s critical role in the community and to making great music for all to hear.
The DSO is a community-supported orchestra and your commitment is essential to our success. We invite you to play your part through frequent ticket purchases and tax-deductible annual donations. Your gift supports activities including Live from Orchestra Hall webcasts, Civic Youth Ensembles and our Neighborhood Series and community performances throughout Metro Detroit.
To give a gift amount of your choice, please visit dso.org/donate.
Let’s build a community…
Detroit, (Feb. 15, 2012) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), The Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) and Save Our Symphony (SOS) have announced a six-day intensive summer experience for young musicians ages 14-18, who will have the opportunity to train with DSO musicians. Avanti Summer MusicFest is scheduled for July 16-21, 2012 at Derby Middle School in Birmingham, Mich. and will culminate in a live student performance on the world-renowned stage at historic Orchestra Hall.
“Avanti is yet another example of the progressive way in which all the components of the DSO are uniting. This initiative, coming from the musicians, shows how much all of us care about the musical education of our city’s young people,” said DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin. “With coaching, master classes, sectional rehearsals and performances, I believe that we are truly paving a path to the future.”
Open to 140 students, the program is composed of a band and an orchestra, in which students will rehearse two hours each day. Students will spend an additional two hours daily in small sectionals led by DSO musicians on their respective instruments.
Kevin Good, a 33-year veteran trumpeter with the DSO said, “This provides a much-needed local camp for music students during the summer break. We’re excited about reaching young performers who have had little to no experience with the DSO, but who have studied music in their schools and want to take it to another level.”
Open enrollment for Avanti’s workshop is currently underway and will close as each instrument section is filled. Tuition for the workshop is $300. Interested parents, students or teachers can visit www.avantisummermusicfest.org to download application forms. Applications must be fully completed and will be considered in the order in which they are received. DSO musicians contributed $5,000 to help with financial aid to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.
SOS President Judy Doyle said, “This project is a demonstration of the different parties within the DSO and the community coming together, working collaboratively, respectfully and admiring what each party brings to the table. By partnering with the community on this pilot, the musicians and the DSO created a new and fresh model for connecting with its public.” The success of Avanti this July will lay the foundation for future summer festival workshops and concerts along with additional partnership opportunities between the MDSO, the DSO and the community.
Click HERE to read the article in the December 2011 edition of Non-Profit Quarterly
December 13, 2011
Sean Buchanan and Patricia Bradshaw
What Exactly Is Stakeholder Resistance?A board-approved merger between two nonprofits is quashed due to pressure from donors. Two Girl Scouts mobilize opposition to the use of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies and get the nonprofit to change the recipe. A recreation center on the verge of closure is prevented from doing so by the work of community members. A labor dispute between musicians and management in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra leads to the creation of an advocacy group that becomes a powerful voice in the negotiation process. These examples highlight an emerging phenomenon that is gaining momentum worldwide—that of what we are calling “stakeholder resistance,” but what some executive directors may experience as “stakeholder rebellion.”
What is interesting about stakeholder resistance is that it originates with individuals who are not “insiders” in organizations, and that these “outsiders” are at times engaging in acts that challenge, disrupt, and even change organizational policies, practices, and actions. These individuals can actually limit the autonomy of organizational decision making, yet they are not legislators, lobby groups, or key funders. Generally speaking, an organization’s stakeholders are those who are linked to an organization in ways other than a formal contract.1
In the case of nonprofits, stakeholders often include donors, members, and community members who engage with the organization either directly or indirectly.2 Frequently, a strategic planning process includes a stakeholder analysis—an exercise that involves identifying key stakeholders as well as their interests and sources of power. The really influential, or those whose interests are perceived to be a threat, are then attended to, and the rest are mostly ignored. Clients being served or small, widely distributed individual donors are examples of those who have traditionally been seen to have interests in alignment with those of the organization or as having diffuse power bases and hence not necessary to include in a strategic planning process.
The term resistance was originally used with a negative connotation, as in “resistance to planned and top-down change,” and it implied that compliance with the dictates of the leadership was expected and positive.3 Since then, the term has been reclaimed by more critical scholars as an act of purposefully undermining the status quo and the taken-for-granted ways things are always done, and resistance is celebrated as an act that pushes back on established power relations.4 Within the second tradition, studies have focused primarily on two types of resistance: workplace resistance and civil society resistance. Workplace resistance focuses on how workers resist employer practices, actions, and rules. This resistance consists of both overt actions such as strikes, whistle blowing, and sabotage and more covert actions of resistance through rhetoric, shirking, cynicism, and humor.5
Research on civil society resistance, on the other hand, has focused well outside the domain of the organization and examines social movements and the processes by which groups form resistance against dominant rules, norms, or practices in society.6 Environmental NGOs have received particular attention for their acts of resistance. For example, the actions taken by Greenpeace to prevent Shell Oil’s decision to dispose of an oil-storage buoy in the deep sea eventually resulted in Shell’s overturning its initial decision.7 Civil society resistance differs from workplace resistance because it emerges from an external source, whereas workplace resistance emerges internally.
Stakeholder resistance, we are suggesting, falls in the space between workplace resistance and civil society resistance.8 These stakeholders are not employees of an organization but are likely more closely connected to the organization than the broader civil society. Take the case of the failed merger between Smile Train and Operation Smile—two organizations that repair cleft palates of children across the world. The resistance to the merger planned by the two boards of directors emerged primarily from the Smile Train donors, who mobilized opposition to the merger though an online petition.
In the case of the resistance enacted against the Girl Scout organization for its use of palm oil in cookies, it was two members of the girl scouts who engaged in the resistance. Fifteen-year-old Rhiannon Tomtishen and sixteen-year-old Madison Vorva learned through a Girl Scout project that the habitat of orangutans in Southeast Asia was diminishing because rainforests were being cleared for palm oil plantations. Palm oil, as it turns out, is a key ingredient in all Girl Scout cookies. After a failed attempt at sparking change with the Girl Scouts directly, Rhiannon and Madison began mobilizing support from other activist groups such as Rainforest Action Network.
Stakeholder resistance can also emerge from community members who interact with an organization. When a YMCA in Elmira, New York, was on the verge of shutting down due to a lack of funds, over two thousand community members signed an online petition urging local officials to find a solution to keep the YMCA operating. Meanwhile, grassroots groups of students from a local university and local elders met to discuss how the Y could be saved. This resulted in the adoption of the YMCA by a local senior center, allowing it to continue to operate.
On other occasions, stakeholder resistance might emerge from several groups simultaneously. The dispute between musicians and management in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra led to the creation of an advocacy group called Save Our Symphony, composed of several stakeholder groups including donors, audience members, and the local community. As the above examples illustrate, stakeholder resistance is unique in that it emerges from individuals and groups who are connected to an organization but often don’t have the immediate access of an employee.
What Is Causing These Acts of Resistance?
While the specific causes of stakeholder resistance differ from organization to organization, it appears that underlying almost all the acts is a deep dissatisfaction with the organizations’ responsiveness to their stakeholders. Specifically, in each of the examples highlighted in this article the acts of resistance against the organization resulted from a lack of voice given to their stakeholder groups in organizational decisions. This marginalization of the stakeholders may stem from the fact that they were considered to be secondary stakeholders,which afforded them less of a direct influence on organizational decision making than primary stakeholders, such as board members.9 Furthermore, these secondary stakeholders are less organized than other broader stakeholder groups such as social movement organizations like the environmental NGOs mentioned earlier.10 Thus, with less assumed importance to the organization and less formal power, these stakeholders are often not given adequate attention by their focal organizations.11 Under these conditions of little formal voice and low organizational responsiveness, stakeholders who have a particular interest that they feel strongly about are more likely to engage in the types of resistance this article describes. It may also be the case that there may be a triggering event that activates resistance and that these events are difficult to anticipate. As the resistance mobilizes and the emotional subtext gets more heated (these acts are often accompanied by anger or anxiety), there is an amplification of a collective voice among what are normally diffuse actors.
Although these stakeholders are often in marginalized positions vis-à-vis the organizations, the organizations often attempt to communicate with them. Traditionally this has been through publications such as newsletters, which represent one-way communication mechanisms. The collective voice of stakeholders would traditionally be at a membership meeting, and while revolts have taken place in such forums, they could also at times be anticipated and managed. Nonprofit leaders recognize that these stakeholders have a critical role in the success of the organization, and failure to meet the needs of stakeholders can have many negative consequences.12
What Is Enabling These Acts of Resistance?
What has caused this apparent surge of stories of stakeholder resistance? Why now? One commonality to all these examples is the presence of social media as a tool for stakeholder communication, mobilization, and engagement. As recent examples in Egypt and Libya have demonstrated, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can play a large role in activism and resistance. There are several reasons for the effectiveness of social media in resistance—primarily, the direct, efficient, and low cost of Internet communication provides a powerful tool to engage a wide variety of stakeholders who may be isolated from traditional forms of collective action.13 Interestingly, the interactivity of social media facilitates an unprecedented degree of two-way communication between organizations and stakeholders. Increasingly, nonprofits are using social media to engage their stakeholders through information provision, disclosure of performance, fundraising, and two-way communication.14 This communication provides an avenue for organizations to engage stakeholders; however, it also provides a means for stakeholders to resist organizational actions or practices.
For example, the dispute in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was made very public through social media, with the Save Our Symphony advocacy group creating a Facebook page where stakeholders could communicate with each other and the organization.
Opposition to the Smile Train and Operation Smile merger and the closing of the Elmira, New York, YMCA gained momentum through the use of social media platforms. And when a group in Minnesota started a campaign to boycott the annual Basilica Block Party to protest the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, it was done through the group’s Facebook page, which gained over six thousand followers.
Stakeholder resistance can also occur right on the organization’s own social media sites, albeit in a more disorganized fashion. For example, one way in which stakeholders voiced support for a ban on palm oil in Girl Scout cookies was to post negative comments on the Girl Scout Facebook page.
In all the above cases, previously diffuse actors came together virtually and thus shifted their power base.
Strategic planning processes that include stakeholder analysis of stakeholders’ respective interests and power must include a more critical appreciation of the power of these previously relatively powerless actors and take into account the impact of social media. Ironically, as with the Girl Scouts example, the sites that are often used in these resistance actions are ones established by the nonprofits themselves; when these are not managed well or monitored, there is no one to respond to concerns that are expressed or to catch the trigger events, and before long strong emotions—and then actions—escalate.
Challenges and Opportunities for Organizations
Stakeholder resistance presents a number of challenges for nonprofits. As a result of the increasing two-way communication between organizations and stakeholders, there is greater opportunity for formal resistance on the part of stakeholders than ever before. Moreover, the actions of organizations are becoming more transparent and publicly available, leaving little opportunity for organizational actions, practices, and policies to go unnoticed by stakeholders.
Another challenge for organizations with respect to stakeholder resistance is that it takes place on a public stage. In the cases of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra dispute and the Smile Train and Operation Smile merger opposition, the debates occurred in a very public way on company websites and Facebook pages. In some cases the debates can get very heated and, in some cases, reflect negatively on the organization as a whole.
Studies have shown that while most nonprofits have a social media presence, it tends to be underutilized as a communication tool. One study examined the Facebook pages of 275 nonprofits and found that relationship building with stakeholders was virtually nonexistent.15 Another study of nonprofits suggested that these organizations appeared to view the mere creation of social media pages as active engagement with stakeholders.16 Thus, it appears that while social media is providing more of an opportunity for organizations and stakeholders to communicate with each other, the bulk of interaction occurs during periods when stakeholders are unhappy with the organization.
Of course, the increasing engagement and power of stakeholders need not be viewed as a negative for nonprofits—especially considering how many of them are actively trying to increase stakeholder engagement and how many are committed to democratic participation. The generative dialogic communication between organization and stakeholder that is facilitated by social media offers an opportunity for these organizations to openly and effectively engage stakeholders and build a greater sense of community.
In the cases of stakeholder resistance outlined in this article, the organizations under scrutiny appear to have lacked a clear and open line of communication with their stakeholders. By closing themselves off, the organizations, perhaps inadvertently, created a barrier between themselves and their stakeholders. We suggest that these are the conditions under which stakeholder resistance will most likely occur.
Acts of stakeholder resistance are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. As the examples in this article indicate, stakeholders have been quite successful in their acts of resistance. Mitchell, Agle, and Wood note that organizations are likely to be most responsive to stakeholders with high levels of power, legitimacy, and urgency; and when stakeholders actively resist, they increase the power they have in relation to the organization by mobilizing opposition and resources.17 This increased power then works to heighten the urgency and enhance the legitimacy of their grievance in the eyes of the organization and the world at large. The increasing power of social media provides an important tool as well as a potential weapon for stakeholders, and the trend in stakeholder resistance will likely continue to grow in importance as more stakeholders begin to make their voices heard—making it essential for nonprofits to put serious time and effort into their active engagement with their stakeholders.
December 8, 2011, MDSO bassoonist Victoria King delivers remarks to DSO’s General Annual Meeting
Click HERE to view the address on the DSOM website
Good afternoon, Governing Members, Members, Board Members, Staff and Colleagues,
I am Victoria King and am currently musician liaison to the DSO’s Governing Members. I have been a Detroit Symphony Orchestra bassoonist for 28 years.
The bassoon is often referred to as the clown of the orchestra. In order to play the bassoon well, one must be all thumbs. My left thumb alone operates ten keys. With all of the work our opposable thumbs have to do, we bassoonists like to think of ourselves as being a little further along the evolutionary scale than other musicians. We therefore can be seen, not as the clowns of the orchestra, but as the crown of the orchestra.
All clowning aside, we, the musicians, would like to thank all of you for several reasons: your generosity, your dedication, your enthusiasm. Whether your support comes in the form of your time, your attendance at concerts, or your donations, we want you to know that your participation has never been — and never will be — unnoticed and unappreciated. While most of you do not appear on stage or on staff, please know that you are a vital part of this Detroit Symphony Orchestra family.
We know you remember that, at this time last year, this institution was in extreme distress. Remembering last year is imperative so that everyone can step back and learn from all of our mistakes and strengthen our resolve — together — to never allow things to get to that point again.
There have been recent activities and happenings to celebrate. This institution means so many different things to so many different people — from our educational programs to our jazz concerts, for example — but let us not forget the name under which we operate: the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra — the musicians that comprise what you see and hear onstage at Orchestra Hall, in the community, on recordings and the internet, and around the world — is the true public face of what we are all about: the performance of great music by a great orchestra. This is our primary “product” and we must never lose sight of that.
To be honest, we are concerned and will always be concerned about that product. While we remain committed to excellence, we can’t help but wonder if we will be able to attract and retain the best musicians in the future. At present, musicians are leaving at a far greater rate than they can be replaced. The results of recent auditions have been mostly unsuccessful, a dramatic and telling indication that there is much work to be done to repair our reputation among those exceptional musicians whom we seek to fill the many open positions in the orchestra. We must have a stable team on stage to regain — and maintain — the ensemble’s distinctive sound and performing tradition that have made us unique and respected around the world. We all must do what we can to reverse this trend if we are to maintain an orchestra that is great, an orchestra that is relevant – an orchestra of which we can all be proud.
Rebuilding – whether it is an orchestra, a city — or even trust — is difficult work, but it can be done and it must be done. With your attention, assistance, and goodwill, together we will rebuild — one step at a time — and it will be done.
Again, we thank all of you for all of the time, resources and energy that each of you have provided on behalf of this organization.
And thank you for this opportunity to share this with you and, on behalf of my friends and colleagues of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, we wish you a very happy and healthy holiday season.
Released by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on December 9, 2011
This afternoon, DSO voting members, orchestra and staff met to sum up fiscal year 2011, a year that saw both a trying work stoppage and a triumphant comeback. Below is a summary of the statistics that accompanied those realities. The full press release outlining Fiscal Year 2011 is available here.
In place of a traditional concert season, DSO programming was limited to a six-week “Spring Season” (April 9-June 6), performances which saw sold-out and standing room only audiences. The total Spring Season audience totaled 40,456 (three times the expected number), meeting the Spring Season revenue goal of $456,000. In the abbreviated season, the DSO raised $9.92 million in annual, event, and project contributions and marked the achievement of revised season contribution goals. This is in contrast to $11.8 million raised in 2009-10.
Summer collaborations with the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House attracted over 5,600 attendees, exceeding the ticket sales goal by 46 percent and resulting in two sold-out concerts. The “Salute to America” concerts at Greenfield Village attracted approximately 26,000 patrons with sales of $490,726, putting it among the top five attendance years for the 19-year-old event.
These encouraging results have continued through these first seven weeks of the 2011-12 season. Through November 30, 2011, DSO reports fundraising of $5.1 million in gifts and pledges, putting the 2011-12 campaign 74 percent ahead of last year’s campaign through the same time period. Tickets sales are up 18 percent above the first seven weeks of the 2009-10 season and revenue is up 37 percent.
The DSO is reaching a broader audience than ever. Our brand new “Live From Orchestra Hall” HD webcasts have helped us share the DSO’s music with more than 25,000 people in 35 countries since April. Previewed in the May, and kicking off this weekend, the inaugural season of the Neighborhood Concert Series is expanding our audience base to six metro Detroit neighborhoods: Beverly Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Grosse Pointe, Southfield and West Bloomfield Township. More than 1,200 subscriptions have been sold, 80 percent of which have no recent DSO subscription history and a third of which have no recent DSO ticketing history whatsoever. And similar to the Spring Season, roughly half of the patrons buying single tickets to DSO classical concerts are new to the DSO.
The meeting was followed by a strolling dinner, generously provided by the Board of Directors in honor of the Orchestra.
Governing Members Orientation and Town Hall Meeting
November 17, 2011
Governing members (GMs), 2 musician representatives Randy Hawes and Vicki King, DSO staff and management including President and CEO Anne Parsons and Executive Vice President Paul Hogle mingled from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. over breakfast.
SOS/DSO Governing members in attendance were David Assemany, David Kuziemko, David Faulkner and Denise Neville. Judy Doyle was unable to attend.
Welcome and Opening Remarks:
Jan Bernick, GM Vice-Chair Philanthropy, gave the opening remarks. The Governing members concept was patterned primarily after what was done by the Chicago Symphony. Other symphonies such as Atlanta and Baltimore had influence as well. The intention of the group is to present opportunities for leadership on behalf of the DSO. Active participation is a “huge part” of the concept behind the Governing members. GMs also are voting members. The DSO’s Annual Meeting is scheduled for December 8th, 2011.
The Governing members had over 50 new members last May and added another 34 this season.
Jan asked everyone present to introduce themselves and give a brief statement regarding their connection to the DSO. While this did take some time, it became very clear that this group is comprised of enthusiastic supporters of the DSO with a long history of involvement who were glad to be there in spite of the very early start time of 7 a.m.
Introduction of GM Committees:
Several committees comprise the GMs with Arthur T. O’ Reilly serving as the Chairperson. The committees and their corresponding Vice Chairs are as follows:
Communications – Frederick (Fritz) J. Morsches Build awareness of GMs, assist with DSO website and other written materials; in development is the GM newsletter High Notes
Membership – Maureen D’Avanzo Bring new members into the fold, look for prospective hosts for future GM functions
Engagement – Bonnie Larson Offer different events and opportunities for governing members to come together
Outreach – James Farber Outreach with musicians and the community; Dave Assemany is Chair of musician outreach
Philanthropy – Janice Bernick
Governance – Mary Mansfield This will help establish ways for GMs to communicate ideas to the board possibly through quarterly town meetings, for example. Since it is new, the scope and responsibilities are still being developed.
Each Vice Chair gave brief overviews of their respective areas of responsibilities and invited GM participation on their committees.
Special Presentation by Vince Ford, DSO Digital Consultant
DSO Consultant Vince Ford also worked this past year as Executive Director for Media Development for the New York Philharmonic. He restated the goal announced at the DSO’s December 2010 Annual Meeting which is “to make the DSO the most accessible orchestra on the the planet.”
During the past year, this goal was accomplished through patron engagement, digital distribution and culture change that includes, for example, lowering the price of ticket sales, the DSO Sound Card for students, Detroit’s Rush ticket program.
Under “Digital Distribution,” the DSO accomplished the following:
1. Upgrades to the website to make it more professional, user friendly
2. New Email Program: DSO Concert Insider sends out program notes and other concert announcements via email prior to upcoming concerts.
3. DSO YouTube channel
4. Mobile phone application: DSO To Go
5. Webcasts “Live From Orchestra Hall” Latest numbers show that these webcasts have been watched by 3,000 viewers and 30 countries world-wide
Remarks by Anne Parsons:
Anne Parsons spoke briefly about the how exciting, rapidly changing and fast-paced these times are for the DSO. Along with other issues facing the DSO, she stressed that “retention and attraction of top talent is most important.”
Due to lack of time, she was unable to address questions, but promised that all questions were important and would be answered at a later time. She turned the floor over to Paul Hogle.
Breakout Discussions – Paul Hogle
Paul cited some statistics about the recent successes of the DSO: Concert attendance is up 40 percent over 2009-10 pre-strike levels; 16 percent increase in classical subscriptions; the community concerts netted 1000 subscriptions in 30 days with an 80 percent of these subscribers having no former history of subscribing.
Paul Hogle organized the tables into groups of four and assigned each table a topic to be discussed amongst the GMS who were given 15 minutes.
These topics were as follows:
Goal No. 1: Artistically & educationally vital while becoming financially viable, resulting in being vigorously celebrated
(Cultivate DSO’s artistry/sound, build music education programs, articulate blueprint for financial viability, attract and retain outstanding artistic, volunteer and executive talent, capitalize on the DSO’s existing/emerging critical acclaim)
Goal No. 2: A Community Supported Orchestra
(Engage in activities that increase the value of the DSO to Detroit and community, grow DSO patron base, become patron-centric institution)
Goal No. 3: The most accessible orchestra on the planet
(Launch neighborhood series across suburban Detroit and reach a worldwide network through media, webcasts and other digital outlets)
Goal No. 4: Playing our part as a community gathering place sounding brightly from the Woodward Corridor
(Realize vision of the Max M. Fisher Music Center and optimize Orchestra Hall)
Each table met, discussed ideas regarding these goals and then presented those ideas to the group.
The meeting adjourned on schedule at 9:30 a.m.
This article first appeared in the 4th quarter 2011 edition of Keynote, the official publication of the Detroit Federation of Musicians. It is reprinted here with permission.
by Doug Cornelsen
In an article last September 23rd titled Debt Threatens DSO Turnaround, Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press rehashed the problem of the flawed financing of “The Max,” the lavish 2003 addition to Orchestra Hall which has imposed an annual three-million dollar cost over-run on the DSO’s operating budget. Mr. Stryker’s article tendentiously presents “The Max” money problem – a consortium of five banks holding a $54 million loan on which DSO management has long defaulted – as a new hurdle facing the DSO organization. In reality, the overwhelming finance debts on “The Max” are at least eight years old. Nearly two years ago, this column pointed out that, in the face of their self-created debt, management appeared alarmingly willing to cut orchestra costs as a means of saving money, thereby risking artistic standards. In view of subsequent events, this Symphony Corner observation has assumed the understatement proportions of Noah saying, “It looks like rain.”
The 2010-11 DSO strike was terribly destructive artistically, a fact unmentioned in Mr. Strykers article. Taking severe hits in the strike-ending contract were not only salary but also the size of the orchestra and length of season. From a pre-strike contractually-required size of 95 musicians, the orchestra is now down to no more than 70. Auditions are planned this season to fill only several of these positions. (The world’s finest orchestras usually number slightly over 100 musicians.) The DSO’s historic 52-week season will be 40 weeks this contract year. The events surrounding the strike have caused some wonderful DSO musicians to leave for positions with 52-week orchestras — there are at least fifteen in America — and there has been a precipitous number of retirements. The supreme irony is that for several million dollars, a mere fraction of the cumulative budget loss on “The Max,” the contract could have been settled with no strike and no musical damage to the orchestra. When, during the strike, picketing DSO musicians chanted, “Built the Max, on our backs!” they were not kidding.
Michael Kaiser could be accurately called Dean of American Arts Managers. His stellar career rests on dramatic rescues of a number of arts organizations that were floundering when he took over. President of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. since 2001, last year Mr. Kaiser founded an Arts Management Institute to train arts administrators. A Kaiser precept for arts boards experiencing financial trouble is that they must not cut costs in a manner which damages their product nor their public reputation. This frequent mistake, he says, precipitates more of a downward spiral, making ticket sales and fund raising even more difficult. Mr. Kaiser also dislikes the tendency of arts boards to blame unions for their problems: “It is impossible to blame unions for the lack of revenue for arts organizations when so many are doing such a poor job of managing themselves.”
Seen from a Kaiser perspective, DSO management’s post-strike thinking, as described in Mr. Stryker’s article, is eye-brow-raising to say the least. DSO leaders, wrote Mr. Stryker, had three goals in mind as a means of “fixing the troubled finances for good…the musicians’ contract, the real estate debt and the endowment.” Management considers the musicians’ contract successfully completed, but is now concerned about their ability to successfully fund raise with a $54 million unpaid loan hanging over their heads. A Kaiser consultant might point out that six months of negative strike publicity culminating in a musically denigrative orchestra contract, followed up with a prominent news article trumpeting the DSO’s massive bank indebtedness, is not an optimal way for management to achieve their third goal, substantially rebuilding the sadly depleted endowment. It must also be mentioned (though Mr. Stryker doesn’t) that the DSO board’s reappointment of the manager who led the strike does nothing to inspire musician confidence in turnaround success.
In spite of the front office, however, the orchestra is back to work for the winter season and, with a little effort, it’s possible to take a glass-half-full approach to the post-strike DSO. As the old saying goes, it could be worse.* Even with many DSO musicians gone the orchestra sounds thoroughly professional, partially due to the excellent skills of the host of subs now on stage.** And there are few venues anywhere more sonically gratifying, for both performers and audience, than Orchestra Hall. So listeners at DSO concerts will predictably hear creditable performances.
For musicians, if — IF! — management can keep the post-strike contract going, Detroit will still have an orchestra which offers a livable wage. Though no longer upper echelon, it will remain an appealing opportunity for musicians direct from college or from smaller orchestras. Especially in these times of shrinking employment, musicians who join the DSO during the next several years will be happy to have a decent job and will not be embittered by pre-strike memories. For them, unpaid summers off, for example, will not represent management’s long-term failure to rebuild a quality summer season, but a time to play festivals elsewhere, or, with careful budgeting, to relax, travel, pursue hobbies — or practice for 52-week orchestra auditions.
And as far as that horrible Max debt is concerned, there is already a backstage rumor that the board is going to attempt some decisive action before year’s end. But glass-half-full or not, it’s impossible to feel very good about the DSO these days. To try to do that, we need to look farther into the future, when some of the DSO leaders, to use Mr. Stryker’s term, take actions which set the Detroit Symphony back on a road of significant recovery and finally recreate an organization of which all can be proud. Accompanying this vision of the future is Emily Dickinson’s famous poetic description of hope, which perches in the soul, and sings the song without the words, and never stops at all.
* It could have been worse indeed. Management’s most noxious proposals were deflected at the settlement negotiations by the DSO musicians negotiating committee along with Local 5 President Gordon Stump and Attorney Leonard Leibowitz.
** Some of the substitute musicians are Syracuse Symphony members, whose board of directors demolished their orchestra with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy last April.