Striking DSO musicians schedule holiday concerts

Nov 18, 2010

The striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians will play three holiday concerts outside of Orchestra Hall. The musicians have been on strike since Oct. 4, and since then have played several concerts in metro Detroit to raise awareness and money for the strike.

DSO management has cancelled concerts at Orchestra Hall through Nov. 28.

Drew McManus is an arts consultant in Chicago. He says the fact that the musicians have scheduled the concerts  so far in advance "means [the musicians] at least anticipate that the work stoppage will continue through that point and time. And even if it were to end, they’ll still probably give those concerts as thank you concerts to their supporters."

Haden McKay, a cellist with the DSO, points out that the concerts are scheduled on days when the orchestra is not scheduled to perform so as to not interfere with the DSO's season should it resume.

McManus says if the strike goes on through the holidays, the next bench mark will be in February when the DSO will have to decide whether or not to start planning for the 2011-12 season:

"And if you don’t start doing things like booking artists and putting your expenses together, buying advertisement space, putting together the campaign material...if you don’t start by February, you’ll get a really late jump on things."

McManus says the later the DSO starts planning, the less likely the orchestra will be able to book the best soloists.

DSO musicians and management have been at odds over several points, including wage cuts, work rule changes and tenure elimination.