Making Detroit Sound Great

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Its Post-Strike Transformations

  • Nathinee Chucherdwatanasak University of Michigan
Keywords: Detroit Symphony Orchestra, corporate entrepreneurship, non-profit arts organization, strike, accessible


After its 2010–11 contentious strike, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) reinvented itself as “the most accessible orchestra on the planet.” This post-strike vision and its subsequent strategies reflected corporate entrepreneurship’s two phenomena: corporate venturing and strategic renewal. The DSO’s entrepreneurial turn enabled the orchestra to be more flexible strategically and structurally, broadened its role to become both nonprofit cultural organization and social-service institution, and helped the DSO contribute to revitalizing Detroit. Still, as most activities took place in Downtown/Midtown and Metro Detroit neighborhoods, the DSO was still far from being a true advocate for citizens of its very own city.

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