Detroit Update 1/23/2011

According to the Detroit Free Press, there were negotiations today:

The musicians and management of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra returned to the bargaining table this afternoon to try to settle the contentious strike that enters its 17th week on Monday.

DSO board members received an e-mail from management today saying that talks had resumed, said board member Gloria Heppner.

The bargaining session follows a topsy-turvy Saturday that started with management breaking a mutually agreed upon news blackout in the morning to say that the renewed contract talks that began Thursday had already stalled. A few hours later, the musicians submitted a new proposal that led to today’s talks.

I suspect that, if they can’t get it done this time, it’ll be a while before there’s another attempt. But I suspect that there will be a settlement. It’s getting to be crunch time for management in several ways, including the need to announce next season. And clearly the musicians want to settle. I had thought the remaining obstacle was the nature of the educational and community services, in particular the extent to which they would be voluntary (or, to look at it another way, the extent to which musicians would need to do them to earn a full-time salary). I’m not sure I’m right. But we may find out in a day or so.

About the author

Robert Levine
Robert Levine

Robert Levine has been the Principal Violist of the Milwaukee Symphony since September 1987. Before coming to Milwaukee Mr. Levine had been a member of the Orford String Quartet, Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Toronto, with whom he toured extensively throughout Canada, the United States, and South America. Prior to joining the Orford Quartet, Mr. Levine had served as Principal Violist of The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for six years. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, and the Oklahoma City Symphony, as well as serving as guest principal with the orchestras of Indianapolis and Hong Kong.

He has performed as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the London Symphony of Canada, the Midsummer Mozart Festival (San Francisco), and numerous community orchestras in Northern California and Minnesota. He has also been featured on American Public Radio's nationally broadcast show "St. Paul Sunday Morning" on several occasions.

Mr. Levine has been an active chamber musician, having performed at the Festival Rolandseck in Germany, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Palm Beach Festival, the "Strings in the Mountains" Festival in Colorado, and numerous concerts in the Twin Cities and Milwaukee. He has also been active in the field of new music, having commissioned and premiered works for viola and orchestra from Minnesota composers Janika Vandervelde and Libby Larsen.

Mr. Levine was chairman of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians from 1996 to 2002 and currently serves as President of the Milwaukee Musicians Association, Local 8 of the American Federation of Musicians, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the League of American Orchestras. He has written extensively about issues concerning orchestra musicians for publications of ICSOM, the AFM, the Symphony Orchestra Institute, and the League of American Orchestras.

Mr. Levine attended Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland. His primary teachers were Aaron Sten and Pamela Goldsmith. He also studied with Paul Doctor, Walter Trampler, Bruno Giuranna, and David Abel.

He lives with his wife Emily and his son Sam in Glendale.

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