Detroit Symphony Strike To End?

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A tentative agreement has been reached in the six-month-old Detroit Symphony Orchestra strike, the Detroit Free Press reports. If approved by the entire orchestra membership, an end is near in the longest orchestra strike in U.S. history. Concerts could begin as soon as this weekend.

It remains to be seen what - if anything - the strike accomplished. But in comments to the Free Press, music director Leonard Slatkin put a little lipstick on this particularly hideous pig:

"If there's one thing we've learned, it's that we have to be more involved in the communities outside of Orchestra Hall," he said. "We won't abandon it, but direct connections with other populations are absolutely crucial."

Comparisons between the orchestras of Detroit and Philadelphia are inevitable; tough labor talks in both places, substantial cuts in compensation, the threat of bankruptcy hanging over proceedings. Excuse us, though, if we wait until all the saber-rattling in Philadelphia is over before coming to conclusions. For one thing, Detroit's enormous problem is $54 million in debt. The Philadelphia Orchestra is debt-free.

And negotiations, after all, are just that. While Philadelphia management's last salary offer to players was even worse than the previous one, it's not over until it's over.

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