Letter from Lynn Koch

Dear Members of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra,

After watching performances of world class orchestras on PBS over the last week, I find it necessary to address you, and to at least add my voice to those who treasure the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Hearing the LA Philharmoic, Vienna Philharmonic and NY Philharmonic orchestras was inspiring, and I was thinking, “We have this here in Detroit – we have the DSO!!”  Then I was overcome with intense anger and deep sadness when I had to acknowledge, “No we don’t – they have been silenced and we are on the verge of losing them permanently. “ Is the DSO to become just one more item added to the continuing list of losses to the City of Detroit?

I have read extensively about the whole situation, trying to understand how we can be so close to the disastrous end of our magnificent orchestra.  I keep reading how you are trying to “create a new model” for the orchestras in the U.S., but all I see are plans moving away from creating excellence and moving towards being satisfied with mediocrity.  Are you truly willing to let your names go down in history as being a part of the dissolution of the great Detroit Symphony Orchestra?  Are you willing to tell the students in our schools, who aspire to make playing music as their life’s work, that if they want to reach the top, they’ll have to leave the state of Michigan to do so?  That we in Detroit are satisfied with having only the second or third best players as our standard of excellence?  Is that how businesses recover, by downgrading their product?  The comments from Ms. Parsons that declare the audiences won’t know the difference with lower tier musicians is insulting to me as a listener, and makes me wonder how that attitude has been allowed in a leadership position to begin with.

I keep hoping that some courageous individual who has the power and the voice to take a stand to save this orchestra will step forward.  But whoever that may be remains silent, and apparently willing to let this Detroit jewel be extinguished.   I am asking you, as stewards of this treasured institution, to find the courage to do what is RIGHT to ensure the musical integrity and future of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  They have consistently brought joy and pride to this region for over 100 years, and more than deserve to be recognized and treated with the respect and honor they have earned.


Lynn Koch

Musician and Educator



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