In Recession, Orchestras Falling Silent

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra at Greenfield Village (flickr user bnhsu)

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the nation's top orchestras. It has been facing financial problems in recent years, with corporate contributions and ticket sales down and an operating deficit that could reach $5 million this year. Now they are negotiating with the orchestra's musicians over a new contract. 

Haden McKay, a cellist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, explains why the musicians have voted to authorize a strike if negotiations break down. Terrance McKnight, the evening host on WQXR, the classical music station which is part of New York Public Radio, describes the orchestra's importance to the community and how cuts will affect the orchestra.


Haden McKay and Terrance McKnight

Produced by:

Blakeney Schick

Comments [6]

Elizabeth Martin from Vernon, TX

Music is something everyone should experience in their lifetime. No matter how boring or exciting it may be. We should not allow recession to come between the opportunity for those that want and desire to hear an orchestra or symphony. Attending a performance in Wichita Falls, TX of a symphony opened my eyes to appreciate music more than I did before. Being it my second time to go to a symphony I expected my result to be the same as the first, but it was completely different. Listening and understanding the many concepts it takes to make music be pleasant to the human ear is more than just blowing air into a horn or striking a drum; it’s the technique such as unity and variety, tempo, volume, and rhythm that make notes become music.

Dec. 06 2010 06:32 PM

Forgot this link for you, Cesar:

Have a nice day.

Aug. 31 2010 10:24 AM

Cesar - SO GLAD that you asked about the charitable status of Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor rally.

Because it raised, as I understand it, $5.5 million for wounded soldiers (before expenses). So that ought to establish its charitable status pretty well.

Not that you would have heard ONE WORD about that charitable fundraising on NPR.

Aug. 31 2010 10:22 AM

The intersection of "Classical music" and "National Public Radio" is a rather interesting one.

Because all over the country, public radio stations are re-purposing themselves; moving away from broadcasting real classical music, and jazz, and alternative arts programming. And moving towards more left-wing talk radio in the mold of Air America. Like, uh, The Takeaway. (And about 20 other NPR-hosted programs.)

NPR has to a great extent chosen to abandon "culture" so that it can instead take sides the "culture wars."

WDET is the NPR affiliate in Detroit where Celeste Headlee used to work. It is the local station that hosts Southeast Michigan broadcasts of The Takeaway. WDET used to have several programs featuring traditional jazz, and at least some classical music programming, including (before it became Government Motors) GM-sponsored broadcasts of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. WDET no longer hosts any classical music, at any hour of the day.

No thanks to NPR (but instead due to the devotion of classical music lovers who used to operate a commercial classical music station, and who were able to make use of a Detroit Public Schools radio station), Detroit does have a fine classical music and jazz station, WRCJ 90.9 FM. And it is to that station, and not any NPR affiliate, that I now make my public broadcasting donations.

Aug. 31 2010 10:18 AM
Cesar from NYC

Ha! You also used an excerpt by Aaron Copland to introduce this segment, the same excerpt that Glenn Beck used for his recent rally. Nice! While many orchestras are protected by 501(c)3 status, how does Beck's support for the rally by Special Operations Warriors Foundation (SOWF) retain its charity status after that rally?

Aug. 31 2010 08:08 AM
Brook Berry from Not Detroit

Dearest Celeste,

More Detroit! I wonder what else is happening in Detroit? Maybe there are some economists who can tell us what to do about the sudden drop in house Detroit? China is going through some interesting is that affecting Detroit? And those fires in Russia - when all that homeowners had were buckets and garden hoses because there is no infrastructure - perfect story for Smokey Robinson? Well? "Going to a Gu-Gulag, everybody!" Hey, remember that huge chunk that broke off from the glacier? How close will it come to Lake Michigan? We want to know! Since Detroit has become a microcosm of all things happening everywhere, all America can say is - more stories about Detroit! :)

Aug. 31 2010 07:36 AM

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