Christine Rupp’s defense of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra management (“PSO Musicians Should Face the Reality at Hand,” Oct. 4 letters) is misguided. The musicians’ salaries are indeed two or three times that of the average Pittsburgher. But salary for the average sports star here is about 15 times higher, corporate executives make about 10 times more and doctors about eight times more. The musicians work in a nonprofit, but so do well-paid professors and executives of the PSO. Which among these groups of elite professionals brings worldwide acclaim to Pittsburgh? None but the PSO musicians. They need our support.
The problem isn’t with salaries but why local corporations are not giving more to the PSO.
The author also claims that PSO ticket prices are among the highest in the city. However, seats at the PSO average about $45, lower than “The Fantasticks” ($60), “La Traviata” ($100) and Alan Cumming’s show ($56), none of which rivals the world-class caliber of the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Finally, Ms. Rupp’s advocacy of the PSO management’s hardline stance is unsupportable. The management initially asked the musicians for a 25 percent pay cut, a punch in the nose to the city’s cultural life. Now it is refusing to negotiate. How is stonewalling in the best interest of the PSO? How does it reflect good faith? The musicians are not the problem.
The writer is a musicologist at Duquesne University.