Chicago classical musicians keep fighting for their rights


This 12 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

As part of their free concert series “From the Heart of the Orchestra,” Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) musicians on strike performed three well-attended concerts last week in the Chicago area to appeal to the public in their struggle.

On Monday, the musicians performed at the Benito Juarez Performing Arts Center with a full orchestra and a rapt audience that warmly received them. On Wednesday and Friday, they held two more successful chamber concerts at Lutkin Hall in Northwestern University and at the Chicago Temple. On April 3, Yuan-Qing Yu, Blair Milton (violins), Wei-Ting Kuo (viola), Ken Olsen (cello) and J. Lawrie Bloom (clarinet) presented a smaller chamber concert at Lutkin Hall on the campus of Northwestern University.

The musicians carried themselves with levity at times, laughing at each other and with the audience, and yet with an appropriate degree of seriousness and gravity with regards to the situation they confront. They performed Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata No. 3 for Two Violins, Op. 6, in C Major, Beethoven’s String Trio, Op. 9, No. 1 in G Major and Carl Maria von Weber’s Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in B Flat Major, Op. 34.

The sold-out crowd stood at its feet at the end of the stirring performance. Musicians, students and workers spoke to the WSWS about the strike of CSO musicians and their reasons for attending after the concert. You can read the full report here.

Clarinetist J. Lawrie Bloom said, “One of the things you can’t help feeling during a strike is that your abilities are being questioned, your value is being rated. You are being told you’re not worth what you’ve been promised. This to a group of musicians who have dedicated themselves for a lifetime to attaining the level of artistry that makes it possible for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to be generally recognized as one of the greatest orchestras on the face of the earth, and a cultural jewel in the city of Chicago.”

Bloom added, “We may be often filled with sadness at this impasse, we may feel like we are being undervalued, but we can still play, and bring joy to an audience.” Violinist Blair Milton, who performed the lively Leclair Sonata and the Weber Quintet on Wednesday, said, “The stress of the CSO strike is being felt by every musician, but we feel the same unity that bonds us onstage as musicians. We are a team and always seek to blend with our fellow musicians, naturally in our art, but also as colleagues in life. Walking the picket line together, we have time to connect in a personal way that isn’t available during the concentration of rehearsals and performances.”\

“All the orchestra members,” Milton added, “share a passion for music and a calling to share this gift with our audience. But we also share a commitment to protect this great treasure for future generations. The amount of lifelong sacrifice, blended with the joy we feel filling the world with music, is something all true music lovers appreciate. “In giving these concerts,” Milton added, “we are connecting with our dedicated supporters and spreading our wings after hours of pounding the pavement in the brutal cold. Music is too powerful to be silenced by tyranny, greed, or indifference.”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra clarinetist John Bruce Yeh speaks on musicians strike: here.

This 5 February 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Almost a month into their longest-ever strike, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) musicians continue to host successful free public concerts to sold-out crowds as their struggle reaches a turning point. Performances at the symphony hall have been canceled through April 9 as negotiations resumed on Friday.

The striking musicians at the world-class orchestra have received widespread support from around the world in their fight to defend their pensions, salaries and other benefits. The resistance of the musicians comes amid a mass resurgence of strikes by workers globally to fight against poverty wages and concessions, including by teachers and autoworkers. At stake is nothing less than the right to art and culture more broadly.

As part of their free concert series “From the Heart of the Orchestra,” CSO musicians on strike performed three well-attended concerts this week in the Chicago area to appeal to the public in their struggle. On Monday, the musicians performed at the Benito Juarez Performing Arts Center with a full orchestra and a rapt audience that warmly received them. On Wednesday and Friday, they held two more successful chamber concerts at Lutkin Hall in Northwestern University and at the Chicago Temple.

3 thoughts on “Chicago classical musicians keep fighting for their rights

  1. Pingback: Paris Notre Dame, burnt by austerity | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: United States musicians, teachers on strike | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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