Monthly Archives: February 2011

Detroit Symphony Strike – Settlement Needed

I wrote this on 9th October 2010:

Orchestral strikes are always poignant. Musicians are a bit like miners: they stick together. It’s their job to stick together.

Plus it’s hard for orchestral management to organise scab labour. If an orchestra’s on strike and the employer brings in alternative musicians – assuming such people are available and willing to break a strike, undermining the striking musicians who may be friends and colleagues – audiences don’t like it. They paid to listen to Orchestra X, not Orchestra Y, while Orchestra X demonstrates on the street outside the hall. Source

18 weeks later that seems pretty much what DSO management intends. Striking Musicians of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra write:


It appears that the DSO Board and management have finally dropped the mask. They never intended to reach a contract agreement with the musicians of the DSO. Instead, their intention is, and has always been, to start over with a new group of musicians working without a union contract. What kind of an orchestra does the Board think they can have with no professional musicians? The Board’s and management’s misunderstanding of the DSO and its audience goes very deep–they seem to think that DSO subscribers and donors will continue the same level of support for an amateur pickup orchestra that they have given to the proud world-class ensemble that has been built up in Detroit over so many decades. Please send emails expressing your opinion to Say, “Please post” and we’ll add your message to our website. Source

Do DSO management really expect Detroit audiences to run the gauntlet of a permanent picket line when attending a performance of, say, Beethoven’s Ode to Freedom, assuming strike-breaking musicians can be found? Do they expect international conductors and soloists to work with a scab orchestra, with the shouts of the pickets peppering quiet passages? Or will the police be sent in to break heads in the locked out woodwind section?

Because that’s what will happen if this dispute isn’t settled, via a reasonable compromise, hammered out in a civilized manner, round the negotiating table. These people won’t just go away. It’s their job not to go away.

More on the dispute here.



A T-shirt has been added to the IMSLP range. Pure cotton, available in blue and white and a variety of sizes, it sports a big stylised logo from the Odhecaton (the earliest-ever printed polyphonic music, published by Petrucci in 1501). I’m wearing one now!

IMSLP T-Shirt and Mug
£2 from each sale goes to help fund our server and other costs. The manufacturer, Puffin Point Store, ships worldwide and accepts all major credit/debit cards plus PayPal.

IMSLP’s 5 Year Anniversary

Five years ago today, there was a tiny blip in the cosmos of the Internet as an awkwardly-named website made its first appearance.  It had no logo, and a main page befitting its humble birth.

This website is now five years old, and hosts one of the largest collections of music scores in the world.  It has more than 85,000 scores written by 4,800 composers, and a fledgling recording collection consisting of more than 1,700 recordings.  All this was made possible by the countless hours of contributions by musicians and music enthusiasts.

As a musician myself, I would like to thank these contributors.

I will not dwell at length here.  Most of the recent updates on the status of the project can be found in my New Years post.  I would, however, like to mention a few recent developments:

  • I first want to congratulate the MuseScore team on the successful recent release of MuseScore 1.0, possibly the best open source music typesetting software ever written.  IMSLP may add support for MuseScore files in the near future.

  • I also want to announce the availability of IMSLP anniversary merchandise from the Puffin Point store.  Currently there is only the mug, but the store can certainly add products if there is interest.

  • And last but not least, a shout-out to IMSLP contributor Philidor and his friend for creating the beautiful anniversary banner you see at the top of this page.

Happy birthday, IMSLP!

Edward W. Guo
Project Leader, IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library