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Violinist Sarah Chang lands in Southern California following Detroit drama

October 12, 2010 | 12:30 pm

Chang It's sometimes easy to forget that the classical music world is dominated by labor unions that exert powerful control over much of the art form. Violinist Sarah Chang received a scary reminder of that fact over the weekend in Detroit.

Chang, 29, is scheduled to perform this week at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Orange County and at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside.

On Monday, the violinist was supposed to perform a special recital as part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's current season. Musicians from the orchestra are currently on strike against a new contract that would see drastic pay cuts.

Reports say that over the weekend, Chang received a barrage of hostile messages via cellphone, e-mail and social media criticizing her decision to perform while the musicians were on strike. Some of the messages were harassing in nature, calling her a scab and other derogatory names. The Detroit News reported that the most violent message suggested that the violinist should hang herself.

Chang eventually withdrew from the Detroit recital. The orchestra issued a statement saying the violinist was a victim of harassment while the orchestra's union called her decision to withdraw "courageous."

Chang did not immediately respond to a request for interview on Tuesday. The violinist is scheduled to perform a program of Brahms and  Franck on Wednesday at the Irvine Barclay. On Thursday, she will appear at the Fox Performing Arts Center in a similar recital.

-- David Ng

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Photo: Sarah Chang performs for conductor Jirí Belohlávek and the L.A. Philharmonic in 2006. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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