Pants on fire.

In case you’ve been under a rock for the last several days, affairs in Detroit have become pretty dramatic. After their rejection of the “final offer” on Saturday, on Sunday the musicians were met with a truly bizarre turn of events. One question kept entering my mind: was the DSO management just disingenuous the entire time, or simply continuing their established pattern of ineptitude regarding the press?

Much internet activity has ensued since Saturday, with excellent insight from both Drew McManus here and Robert Levine here. After I slogged through all that, I found myself again thinking that anyone who’s observed this slow-mo trainwreck unfold would have to conclude that the lack of an agreement was due primarily to the quality of the DSO’s Board and management than anything else. As it attempted to cope with a myriad of colossal issues over many months, I firmly believe the DSO senior staff was simply in over their heads, with this episode achieving an undisputed apex of incompetence.

So how about this: instead of the ridiculous concept proposed in the article, why not start with a new model for the DSO’s management? A mass resignation would be the healthiest development I can think of at this point, along with a revamped Executive Board committee. Then the musicians could get back to the table with people that honestly want to move forward in a meaningful way.

4 thoughts on “Pants on fire.”

  1. The other ominous spectre here is that of other boards looking at this type of behaviour as acceptable. With the American shift away from orchestra driven marketing plans, it is as though some organizations are forgetting WHAT it is that we are, and how to hold managements up to the same performance standards as musicians. I sincerely doubt anyone in the Detroit area can question the commitment of the musicians to their end ( performance level) of the bargain. And yet, management is allowed to shift blame and make excuses in a way WE never could. Imagine…. ” I’m sorry, the economy is bad, I’m spread thin doing extra gigs, so I’m sure you’ll understand and excuse that I can’t prepare the music as well….” Yeah, thad would go over really great.. But musicians don’t do that. In fact, in times of turmoil, the historical statistics show that artists redouble their efforts to show what is best in mankind, as the juxtuposition to all that is worst.

  2. From everything I’ve read, starting over seems like the only viable solution. The next obvious problem: how to set the housecleaning in motion and begin repairs/replacements as soon as possible.


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