Letter from Jerald A. Mitchell, Ph.D.
To the Board of Directors & the Executive Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra:
I have been a season subscriber to the DSO for over two decades. I am a past member of The Volunteer Council, and have served as an usher and a volunteer at the DSO Archives. I am a long standing member of the Musical Legacy Society.
From my seat in Orchestra Hall, the musicians have always without fail discharged their duties admirably. They have consistently provided very creditable to truly outstanding performances, conducted themselves in a totally professional manner, and been effective cultural ambassadors for our City, State and Nation.
I am unaware of any action by the musicians that has directly contributed to the financial straits the DSO finds itself in. To my knowledge, the musicians only perform music; they do not set the budget, determine expenditures or run up debts. Managing finances is the responsibility of the Board of Directors and the Executive Director. Why then, should the musicians be expected to bear a disproportionate responsibility for balancing the books?
In my view, the negotiations have been mismanaged from the start and the principal blame rest with the DSO management. What kind of leadership is it to suggest that the season should be cancelled? It is an admission by the DSO Board and Executive Director that they lack the vision or will to rectify the mess that they have allowed to happen.
The dedicated and professional musicians of the DSO have been doing their job. It is past time that the Executive Director and the DSO Board do theirs: work to sustain the orchestra, not destroy it.
Jerald A. Mitchell, Ph.D.
January 14, 2011