What the Philadelphia Orchestra Strike Can Teach You About the Value of Music

Few events in the world of classical music can be eye-catching in pop culture, so there are some developments that may not catch the world by storm. Nevertheless, they are no less significant in terms of how people are affected when trying to listen to their preferred genre.

That leads into what happened on September 30, 2016, when the Philadelphia Orchestra went on strike.

1. How It Started

One thing to learn from the incident is that musicians are a valuable part of the community. Their absence can be felt on the people who come to see them. On September 30th, there was no one playing at the scheduled concert at the Kimmel Center.

The audience did not find out until it was too late that the orchestra musicians had decided to begin their strike that day. The orchestra members started by filing out of the Kimmel Center to protest.

2. Why It Happened

Musicians should not only keep in mind their right to protest, but be able to understand when they are receiving unequal treatment. The orchestra explained their reasons for the strike as an attempt to gain some compensation for their work, citing that they had dealt with increasingly difficult working conditions such as a lack of a consistent wage or an expired contract.

Among other facts was the unfortunate truth that other orchestras in America received far greater pay than what they were being given.

3. The End Result

Finally, no musician should be discouraged by thinking that a protest will not work. They can be heard and receive the proper compensation they deserve.

On October 2nd, a negotiation was reached between the orchestra and the administration, in which a salary increase was accepted for the musicians. The contract would last for three years and was ratified by the orchestra that day. In the end, the Philadelphia Orchestra made their voices heard and started a path toward better treatment from their employers.

It is fortunate that the strike could be resolved with acceptable terms for the musicians of the orchestra. Hopefully, the orchestra will continue to receive fair working conditions. The music scene in Philadelphia is darkened without the presence of the Philadelphia Orchestra to provide cultural diversity.

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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco, and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.

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