American Orchestras Face the Music

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The Detroit Symphony Orchestra's season-long strike has been the starkest reminder of the challenging times facing many of America's 1,800 orchestras and their musicians. The Louisville Orchestra, the biggest in Kentucky, filed for bankruptcy in December. Its 110-year-old counterpart in Honolulu liquidated two months earlier. Other orchestras have posted major financial losses -- from Philadelphia to Westchester -- even as they've reached new artistic heights.

What should be done in light of the current difficulties? And where does a model for the future lie? In this special podcast, WQXR Vice President Graham Parker -- formerly Executive Director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra -- talks with three experts: Mark Stryker, the arts and entertainment reporter at the Detroit Free Press, Jesse Rosen, the President & CEO of the League of American Orchestras; and Tim Cavanaugh, a senior editor at Reason magazine who covers the business of the arts.

Music selections: 1) Duke Ellington's Suite from "The River" played by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; The Melody of Rhythm by Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer and featuring the Detroit Symphony

Podcast produced by Brian Wise; Engineering: George Wellington

Weigh in: Do orchestras need to reinvent themselves in order to ensure their survival? If so, how? Leave a comment below: