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Germans plaster over cracks of orchestral abolition

The DOV, which represents German orchestras, has reached agreement with the broadcasting organisation SWR that no musicians will be sacked  when it merges two orchestras, Stuttgart with Freiburg/Baden-Baden. The merger, it was agreed, will be achieved bloodlessly through natural and early retirements and through voluntary resignations.

That sounds very civilised and commendable, but it won’t please the good folk of Freiburg and Baden-Baden who will be left without an orchestra, or the conductor Francois-Xavier Roth, who has sworn to keep on fighting. SWR’s hatchetman Peter Boudgoust has just bought himself a little bureaucratic breathing space with this piece of paper.

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  1. That’s the typical ARD – geriatric friendly – “solution”. All these broadcasting stations turning slowly for years into employment program houses for the elder. They are not hiring for a few decades now, compared to the positions becoming vacant by retirement. This is a non-solution. What kind of orchestra is that supposed to be, without new hires? I would say fire anyone below 45 so they can go and find new jobs rather than live in misery for 20 more years. The ARD network is already overaged and most ineffective because of this paradigm of extreme job security and human laziness over content and quality. Also it is a hit in the face of the younger generation.

    • As evidenced by their recordings and concerts, the German radio orchestras have very high quality. They are not a “paradigm of extreme job security and human laziness over content and quality.” Or perhaps you can back your statement with concrete and verifiable evidence of low standards?

  2. What is the relationship between the town and the orchestra and opera, particularly when the town is near other metropolitan areas? The opera in Strasbourg, called the Opera National du Rhin shares their season also in Colmar and Mulhouse. Each of the three towns contribute a part of the total budget (since much of the culture budget has been devolved to regional and city authorities.) This allows all three cities to have a world-class opera which the three by themselves would find it financially impossible to do.
    Baden-Baden is a particular example of “out of the box” thinking. Since the Festspielhaus is very largely self-financed, they depend on rows of busses parked outside (I think the second largest house in Europe) to transport their audiences. Baden-Baden itself is not very large but the metropolitan area around them – within an hour’s drive – does fill the house almost every night for the extraordinary lineup of top attractions.
    Would someone like IKEA want to build a store in each city or would they look at a place in between, accessable to both?

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