I am a current subscriber of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and greatly respect and admire the excellence of its musicians. I watched with a mixture of pride and bewilderment on Saturday evening as our musicians walked the picket line alongside Heinz Hall while others played music in small groups for those passing by.
The same feeling of sad amazement gripped me earlier this week as I saw the picket line again with such artists as our great oboist, Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida, the excellent violist Paul Silver and many other symphony musicians speaking to members of the public on Penn Avenue about the strike. I wholeheartedly support them.
This brings me to the Oct. 4 letter by a former subscriber of the Pittsburgh Symphony that purports to tell the PSO musicians to be happy with what they have (“PSO Musicians Should Face the Reality at Hand”). That letter strikes me as being less about the issues of the symphony strike than about the writer trotting out a bias in favor of bosses in any struggle with their workers.
The letter has various factual inaccuracies such as the salary levels in dispute, the prices of other arts events when compared with symphony tickets and the implication that the fully paid trips to Europe and other foreign countries are junkets for the musicians’ own pleasure, rather than significant expressions of beauty and goodwill by our talented and hardworking symphony. They are our true ambassadors.
The letter seems to reflect an indignation with people acting together to get the living they deserve. How dare these musicians, like Bob Cratchit, fail to realize that their situation is the best that it can be!
Wake up! This is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra we are talking about, not Scrooge and Marley. The sentiments in that letter are nothing but humbug.