Why Pittsburgh fans are walking with the strikers

Why Pittsburgh fans are walking with the strikers


norman lebrecht

October 25, 2016

This just in from Mark and Tris Ozark, long-term subscribers to the Pittsburgh Symphony.

WHY I WALK though I am not a musician.

I’m not related to a musician or employed by any of them.  I’m walking today with the Musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for many reasons.

♪ As a subscriber, I have become dependent on their exquisite live performances of orchestral music to lift my spirits week after week.  I need them back intact.

♪ I am grateful for the lifetime of effort that each and every one of them has made to attain the level of musicianship that they bring to their concerts.  Hearing those results inspires me to try as hard in my own life.

♪ I want to thank them for the reputation that brings the world’s greatest solo performers to Pittsburgh for me to hear.

♪ I am grateful for their hard work on tours as ambassadors for Pittsburgh.

♪ I want to pay them back for the work they are doing despite the strike.  As musicians, they cannot stop working,  even though they are not being paid.  They must continue to practice every day to maintain the level of artistry that earned them their jobs.

♪ I want to pay them back for their on-strike performances on the street, in other halls, in restaurants and bars, and wherever they can play.  They must continue to work together to maintain the synergy of an orchestra.  So they are performing in ensembles.  They could perform in private.  But they have chosen to keep performing for us, for free.

♪ So I want to thank them for having performing in their blood, and for thriving on the cheers and applause they earn, and not just the money.

♪ I want to thank them for respecting their colleagues enough to want to stay together rather than defect to free agency.

♪ I want to thank them for wanting to stay in the town where I hear them.

♪ It is an honor to share the sidewalk and the effort with such accomplished people.  I think of them as the best team in town.

♪ They are smart, interesting, and nice people to talk with.

Come and walk, attend a performance, join in any way to support this great group.




  • mbhaz says:

    All well and good. But are they so valuable to you, and do want them back badly enough, that you are willing to make a major financial donation? Are you going to ask neighbors, friends, co-workers, and relatives to help financially support the orchestra? Will you lobby politicians, city council members, corporate executives and encourage them to help out? Maybe you already do some of these things, but the hard and cold fact is that money is the root of the problem, and it’s going to take a major effort by all interested parties to solve the problem. I wish all the best for Pittsburgh, it’s orchestra and music lovers. Hope that not everyone there is so into baseball and football that having a great orchestra no longer matters.

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      Fundraising is not the subscriber’s job. The subscriber is making their contribution to the health of the PSO by going to concerts. Its the job of the PSO’s fundraising department to find donors.

      • mbhaz says:

        Then why is it that at practically any concert these days that someone comes out and makes a pitch about how your ticket only covers 25% of the cost of putting a concert on? And I get fund raising letters in the mail? And am besieged by callers seeking donations to the symphony or opera? It’s a matter of how important this art form is to you. Yes, go to concerts, buy tickets, but just like a church, if it’s important to you then dig into your pockets and support it. Buying a ticket just isn’t enough.

  • Milka says:

    SPOT ON !! it would be interesting to find out how much the orchestra players receive
    from all sources – teaching,extra performances,record work etc ……………
    what is the average for Pittsburgh orchestral player and what is the average salary for an
    average Pittsburgh family let’s say of four .Anyone know off hand .
    I am aware that a concert master can make a good six figures is that what the average family in Pittsburgh earns .Just curious………
    Iam aware that orchestra players consider themselves something special but lets for
    fun say we are all special. Baker , taxi driver, teacher and so on .

    • Y4ktotgo says:

      You are aware of everything and everyone- concertmaster, baker, taxi driver, teacher
      It is too bad self- awareness is totally missing

    • Izzy says:

      Many orchestral musicians do NOT teach. Teaching and performing are two entirely different skills.

      Also, the big US orchestras don’t pay extra for “extra performances.” They don’t pay per performance/rehearsal; however many rehearsals they want to add to the week, as long as they have fewer than an average of 8, they don’t pay the musicians a penny extra.

    • Mark Henriksen says:

      Good point. I’ve heard taxii drivers practice 4 hrs a day for 10-15 years then compete with 200 other drivers before they can get a license.

  • Milka says:

    A rather dense response , but typical……….
    One group of workers provide a service,one a diversion, I know it must be
    taxing to figure which , but give it a try.

  • Jaime Weisenbum says:

    Milka ,Milka Milka

    If you dislike music so much and the people that perform it, and have nothing but a sinister and tiresome, quasi macabre senseless opinion about every subject posted in this blog,why don’t you look for some other venue to extrapolate your OBVIOUS ignorance about what it takes to be a professional musician,whether we are part of an orchestra,chamber ensemble,or just aspiring to one day becoming one such professional.
    It gets old and crude reading your comments,always laced with venom and attacks on the real readers that might not agree with each other or with you,but as I have pointed out to you before,RESPECT other opinions!!!
    I suggest you relax for a while,smell the roses, take a walk,visit a farm…Milka a sweet cow,and forget about the musicians for a few years.
    You are the only one making ignorant observations.

  • M2N2K says:

    Throughout the entire history of human civilization, people have been needing and therefore valuing many “diversions” at least as much as they did certain “services”. Therefore, providing fine diversions can be viewed as a kind of service to humanity. So, comparing an “average” musician to an “average” taxi driver may be fully legitimate. However, implying that financial earnings of a major symphony orchestra leader (whose level of talent and skills is, practically by definition, far above that of an average musician) should not be considerably higher than that of an average taxi driver is extremely ignorant at best.

  • Milka says:

    M2N2K—-there was no such implication and you know it.

  • M2N2K says:

    Glad to know, milka, that you, just like most of us, do not take your comments seriously.

    • Milka says:

      M2N2K In misrepresenting an observation you validate your seemingly lack of character.In trying to be clever you display ignorance.
      One suspects the cab driver has a more integrity .