The Detroit Symphony Orchestra Strike

Pittsburgh Symphony musicians begin their second month on strike

By Samuel Davidson, 3 November 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians are fighting against pay cuts and job reductions.

Musicians speak out at Pittsburgh Symphony strike support concert

By Evan Winters, 3 November 2016

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians spoke to the World Socialist Web Site on the importance public access to arts, especially in schools, after a Halloween-themed concert to support striking orchestra musicians. Over sixty musicians played to an enthusiastic audience of 350.

Strike pits Philadelphia transit workers against budget-cutting Democrats

By Alan Whyte, 3 November 2016

The strike by nearly 5,000 Philadelphia transit workers is an expression of the growing militancy of workers on the eve of the US presidential elections.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh orchestra musicians on strike

By Fred Mazelis, 3 October 2016

The musicians in both the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony face demands for concessions from wealthy patrons and management.

San Diego Opera closure announcement meets with widespread opposition

By Dan Conway and Dorota Niemitz, 7 April 2014

The recent decision to shut down the San Diego Opera Company after 49 seasons has evoked widespread popular outrage, with more than 20,000 signatures gathered in opposition to the closure.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra threatened with closure

By Niles Williamson, 23 December 2013

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is threatened with closure if it fails to raise $5 million in the next two months to cover its operating costs.

The Minnesota Orchestra lockout and the defense of culture in the US

By Eric London, 4 October 2013

This statement is being distributed at concerts organized by the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra on Friday and Saturday.

University of Minnesota students speak out in defense of locked-out orchestra musicians

By our reporters, 4 October 2013

Music students spoke to WSWS reporters about the Minnesota Orchestra lockout and the defense of the right to culture.

Nashville Symphony threatened by foreclosure

By Fred Mazelis, 11 June 2013

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra is the latest prominent US musical institution to face the threat of dissolution, as its biggest creditor, the Bank of America, has begun foreclosure proceedings.

The threat to sell off the works in the Detroit Institute of Arts

By David Walsh, 29 May 2013

The news that Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is thinking of selling the DIA’s art collection to help pay the city’s creditors has provoked widespread anger.

San Francisco Symphony musicians strike against concessions

By David Brown, 16 March 2013

The pay freeze and benefit reductions the musicians face are part of a nationwide assault on culture.

Spokane Symphony Orchestra musicians on strike

By Christine Schofelt, 9 November 2012

The musicians of the Spokane (Washington) Symphony Orchestra, faced with a demand for a 13.3 percent wage cut, walked out on strike November 3. The current pay of core players is $17,460 a year.

US orchestra musicians face wave of concessions

By Fred Mazelis, 1 November 2012

The round of wage cuts that began with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra two years ago has now become a flood of givebacks at orchestras across the US.

Lockout of New York City Opera performers begins after mediation breaks down

By Fred Mazelis, 10 January 2012

Musicians and singers were locked out by the New York City Opera on Monday, as chorus rehearsals were scheduled to begin for the company’s abbreviated season.

Musicians may strike at New York City Opera

By Fred Mazelis, 8 December 2011

Management at the New York City Opera has declared an impasse in its ongoing negotiations with the union representing singers and musicians.

Interview with Detroit Symphony violinist: “We went on strike because we didn’t want the orchestra to be destroyed”

By Shannon Jones, 10 October 2011

On the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the strike by Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians, the WSWS interviewed DSO violinist Marian Tanau.

Detroit Symphony renews contract of Anne Parsons

DSO president led assault on musicians

By Shannon Jones, 7 June 2011

The decision by Detroit Symphony Orchestra management to extend the contract of DSO President and CEO Anne Parsons is an expression of its contempt for musicians and the public at large.

“They look at the arts as a luxury item”

An interview with Greg Near, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra musician

By Shannon Jones, 10 May 2011

WSWS reporter Shannon Jones and arts editor David Walsh recently interviewed Michigan Opera Theatre musician Greg Near.

Philadelphia Orchestra files for bankruptcy protection

By Fred Mazelis, 18 April 2011

The board of the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the most prominent symphony orchestras in the US, voted April 16 to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Detroit Symphony musicians ratify contract, return to Orchestra Hall

By Shannon Jones, 15 April 2011

Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have returned to the stage in Detroit after ratifying a new three-year concessions contract.

A letter from a Detroit Symphony Orchestra musician

13 April 2011

The following letter from a Detroit Symphony Orchestra musician was sent to WSWS reporter Shannon Jones, who covered the recently ended DSO strike.

Musicians to take large pay cuts in Detroit Symphony contract deal

By Shannon Jones, 7 April 2011

Details of the tentative contract settlement in the DSO strike confirm the outcome of the six-month strike was a bitter setback.

Tentative contract agreement in strike by DSO musicians

By Shannon Jones, 5 April 2011

A tentative settlement has been reached in the strike by Detroit Symphony musicians, now marking its six-month anniversary.

Syracuse Symphony suspends remainder of season

By Philip Guelpa, 5 April 2011

The management of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO), a major regional orchestra in central New York state, has announced the suspension of the remainder of its scheduled performance season due to a budgetary crisis.

DSO musicians picket board meeting

By Shannon Jones, 31 March 2011

Facing a management imposed April 1 deadline for the cancellation of summer concerts, striking DSO musicians Wednesday picketed the quarterly board of directors meeting at Orchestra Hall.

DSO management issues new ultimatum to musicians

By Shannon Jones, 30 March 2011

With the strike by DSO musicians in its sixth month, management has set a Friday deadline for cancellation of summer concerts.

With strike in 25th week, DSO musicians continue support concerts

By Shannon Jones, 22 March 2011

Striking DSO musicians are in the 25th week of a strike against drastic concession demands by a management that seems bent on destroying the orchestra.

Detroit Symphony management rejects binding arbitration

By Shannon Jones, 9 March 2011

Striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra report that DSO management has rejected their proposal for binding arbitration, countering with what amounts to a demand for unconditional surrender.

Musicians’ strike entering sixth month

A conversation with Detroit Symphony Orchestra violist Jim VanValkenburg

By Shannon Jones, 9 March 2011

Jim VanValkenburg, assistant principal violist for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, recently invited WSWS reporters into his home to discuss the lengthy strike by DSO musicians.

No response by DSO management to arbitration offer by musicians

By Shannon Jones, 8 March 2011

Detroit Symphony Orchestra management has not responded to an offer by striking musicians to submit outstanding issues to binding arbitration.

An exchange on DSO strike with Detroit Metro AFL-CIO President Saundra Williams

By Shannon Jones, 3 March 2011

Dear Ms Williams:

DSO musicians offer to submit outstanding issues to binding arbitration

By Shannon Jones, 2 March 2011

Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are offering to submit outstanding issues in their 22-week strike to binding arbitration in a new retreat by the union.

Striking DSO musicians picket Detroit mayor’s state of the city speech

By Shannon Jones, 24 February 2011

Striking members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and supporters picketed Detroit Democratic Mayor Dave Bing’s annual state of the city address at Orchestra Hall after city officials refused to change the venue.

Detroit Symphony management threatens to replace striking musicians

By Shannon Jones, 22 February 2011

In the wake of the rejection by striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra of management’s provocative “final offer,” DSO officials say they plan to permanently replace strikers.

Management cancels rest of concert season

DSO musicians reject “final offer”

By Shannon Jones, 21 February 2011

Striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians rejected a management “final offer” after which DSO officials said they would cancel the balance of the 2010 – 2011 concert season.

Detroit News continues its slanders against Detroit Symphony musicians

By Shannon Jones, 16 February 2011

With the strike by musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in its 20th week, the Detroit News has launched another scurrilous attack on their struggle.

Detroit Symphony management escalates threats as musicians continue strike

By Shannon Jones, 10 February 2011

Striking Detroit Symphony musicians face a management-imposed February 11 deadline. They face concession demands that would destroy the orchestra as a top-ranked ensemble.

Detroit Symphony management steps up campaign for concessions with threat to cancel season

By David Walsh, 27 January 2011

Striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are coming under immense pressure to accept major concessions, as symphony management holds over them the threat of canceling the entire season.

DSO support concert broadcast live via webcast

By Shannon Jones, 25 January 2011

Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performed at a sold-out strike support concert Saturday broadcast live via webcast to audiences globally.

The Guerilla Orchestra and the struggle to defend the arts from funding cuts

An interview with Heather Bird

By Jackie Warren, 25 January 2011

Heather Bird, a Manchester, England-based classical double bassist, created the “Guerilla Orchestra” in response to the savage cuts being made in music performance and education.

As talks resume: Detroit Symphony musicians’ struggle in danger

By Shannon Jones, 21 January 2011

Talks resumed Thursday in the strike by musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, now in its 16th week.

Photo essay: The DSO strike in photos

19 January 2011

Photographer and violist Hart Hollman has followed the DSO strike since Labor Day, 2010. DSO musicians are currently in the 15th week of the strike, which began on October 4, 2010

Striking DSO musicians perform Rodgers and Hammerstein in Detroit

By Shannon Jones, 18 January 2011

A capacity audience of more than 650 heard striking DSO musicians and Vanguard Voices perform selections from the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein at a concert Saturday in Detroit.

Detroit Symphony management publishes attack on striking musicians

By Shannon Jones, 14 January 2011

Detroit Symphony management issued a public attack on striking musicians now in their 15th week on strike against draconian concession demands.

Striking Detroit Symphony bassist: “It is really an eye-opening lesson for us musicians”

By Shannon Jones and David Walsh, 10 January 2011

Rick Robinson, a bassist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and founder of the ensemble CutTime Players, recently shared his thoughts about the ongoing strike of DSO musicians with the World Socialist Web Site.

Striking Detroit Symphony musicians to perform at free concert

By Shannon Jones, 5 January 2011

Striking musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) are seeking to broaden their community support by holding a free public concert in downtown Detroit.

Detroit Symphony strike now longest in orchestra’s history

By Shannon Jones, 31 December 2010

The bitter conflict at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has entered its 13th week. Some sharp conclusions need to be drawn.

Striking DSO musicians perform for Detroit homeless

24 December 2010

In the eleventh week of their strike against the DSO, symphony musicians visited three homeless shelters in the city of Detroit to perform Christmas music concerts. The WSWS interviewed musicians and residents about the experience.

A conversation with violist Caroline Coade

Detroit Symphony striker: “I now realize this is a big fight … a fight for what’s right”

By David Walsh, 23 December 2010

The WSWS recently spoke to violist Caroline Coade, a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which has been on strike for nearly 11 weeks.

Detroit Symphony management rejects new offer

By Shannon Jones, 18 December 2010

Management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has rejected a settlement proposed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and US Senator Carl Levin to end the nearly 11-week musicians’ strike.

Detroit Symphony cancels more concerts as strikers hold firm

By Shannon Jones, 17 December 2010

Management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra cancelled the rest of its scheduled concerts for the month of December as the strike by musicians continues into its eleventh week.

Striking Detroit Symphony violinist: “No one ever imagined that we would be fighting to have a first-class orchestra in this town”

By Shannon Jones and David Walsh, 14 December 2010

The World Socialist Web Site recently interviewed Joe Striplin, a violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 1972.

Detroit Symphony musicians’ picket forces concert cancellation

By Shannon Jones, 13 December 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra management had to cancel a scheduled performance by Canadian string group Bowfire after stagehands and band members refused to cross a picket line set up by striking musicians.

Detroit Symphony management intransigent as strike continues

By Shannon Jones, 10 December 2010

With the strike by musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in its tenth week management is reiterating its demand for massive concessions.

Strike by Detroit Symphony musicians at critical point

By Shannon Jones, 3 December 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians, now in their ninth week on strike, face a critical turning point in their conflict, as well as major political and cultural questions.

Striking Detroit Symphony musicians continue efforts to win public support

By Shannon Jones, 23 November 2010

Striking members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra performed a support concert November 21 conducted by Uriel Segal, the fourth concert organized by the players since their strike began October 4.

New pamphlet from Mehring Books

The Detroit Symphony strike and the defense of culture in the US

23 November 2010

Mehring Books is publishing a talk given by David Walsh, WSWS arts editor, on the social and historical significance of the strike by DSO musicians.

More US orchestras demand musicians accept pay, job cuts

By Shannon Jones, 20 November 2010

Musicians of the Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky are facing an ultimatum to take steep pay and job cuts while musicians in the Fort Worth Symphony, Texas, narrowly approved harsh concessions.

A talk by WSWS arts editor David Walsh

The Detroit Symphony strike and the defense of culture in the US

By David Walsh, 18 November 2010

WSWS arts editor David Walsh spoke to a meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan on November 15.

ISSE and SEP hold meeting on Detroit Symphony strike at the University of Michigan

By Shannon Jones, 18 November 2010

The ISSE and SEP held a meeting at the University of Michigan November 15 in Ann Arbor to discuss the broader social and cultural implication of the strike by members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

DSO musicians hold spirited picket in week seven of strike

By James Brewer, 17 November 2010

Musicians conducted a strong picket of a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir which DSO management held at Orchestra Hall in Detroit.

Hollywood musicians express support for Detroit Symphony strikers

By Marc Wells, 12 November 2010

The WSWS recently spoke to a number of musicians in Hollywood, who expressed support for and solidarity with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra players.

Striking Detroit Symphony musicians hold another well-attended support concert

By Shannon Jones, 9 November 2010

Striking members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra held another support concert Sunday night as their walkout enters its sixth week.

SEP public meeting

The Detroit Symphony Strike & the Defense of Culture in the US

4 November 2010

Musicians in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are striking against attempts by DSO management to force through a 33 percent cut in base pay and reduction in the pay for new-hires of 42 percent, along with sharply reduced health coverage and a freeze in pensions. The musicians have insisted that at stake are not only their own living conditions, but the future of the orchestra itself.

Cleveland Orchestra musicians join striking DSO players for support concert

By Shannon Jones, 26 October 2010

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra joined striking members of the Detroit Symphony at an October 24 support concert before a sellout crowd of 700.

New York Philharmonic musicians back DSO strike

By a WSWS reporting team, 25 October 2010

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike has received support from symphony musicians in New York City.

Interview with striking Detroit Symphony violist Hart Hollman

“What is happening to the DSO is a poster child for what is happening to the arts in America”

By Shannon Jones, 19 October 2010

Hart Hollman, a violist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for 38 years, spoke to WSWS reporters Saturday about the ongoing strike by musicians, and its cultural and social implications.

Cleveland Orchestra players support striking DSO musicians

By Shannon Jones, 18 October 2010

Members of the Cleveland Orchestra are planning to join striking DSO musicians at an October 24 support concert.

SEP candidate D’Artagnan Collier offers support to striking DSO musicians

By Lawrence Porter, 13 October 2010

D’Artagnan Collier, SEP candidate for the Michigan state legislature, spoke to Detroit Symphony Orchestra strikers and supporters at an October 10 concert.

Support for striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians at weekend concert

By Shannon Jones, 12 October 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians, on strike since October 4, received a warm and enthusiastic response from supporters at a concert Sunday in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills.

Detroit symphony management pursues hard line

By David Walsh, 7 October 2010

On the third day of a strike by Detroit Symphony Orchestra players, DSO management held a press conference at Orchestra Hall Wednesday morning to put forward its case.

The Detroit News and the DSO strike

By Kate Randall, 6 October 2010

A recent column in the Detroit News, “Cost of DSO too rich for Detroit,” lashes out against striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians and those supporting their struggle against management’s draconian contract demands.

Video: DSO musicians speak on strike

5 October 2010

Members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have gone on strike against demands by management that include a 33 percent cut in base pay. The World Socialist Web Site spoke to several musicians participating in a picket on October 4.

Detroit Symphony musicians strike

By Shannon Jones, 5 October 2010

Members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra have gone on strike against demands by management that include a 33 percent cut in base pay.

Detroit Symphony musicians set October 4 strike date

By Shannon Jones, 29 September 2010

Detroit symphony musicians are set to strike October 4 as a final negotiating session failed to produce an agreement

Detroit symphony musicians facing deadline for strike or lockout

By Shannon Jones, 21 September 2010

With management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra demanding draconian concessions, musicians are reaching out for public support in advance of a September 23 contract deadline.