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Top Dutch orchestra is decimated by city cuts

The Residentie Orkest in the Dutch capital, The Hague, had its city grant slashed today from 5.1 million Euros to 3.5m.

We hear that one-third of the musicians will lose their jobs and performances of Bruckner and Mahler will be written off the menu.

The Hague has applied to become Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2018. The bid deserves now to be shunned.

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  1. Norman, I know that no-one loves a pedant, but to say the orchestra’s been decimated (cut by a tenth) underplays the seriousness of the funding cuts – it’s more like a third.

  2. Actually, that’s correct – I was also incorrect – decimate means to cut TO a tenth, not by a tenth!

    Common useage it has come to mean “devastate” ; apparently the correct term for the above would be tertiated if it is indeed a third that the budget’s been cut by!

  3. PS. I’m not proposing you use ‘tertiate’!

  4. It must be a very quiet day in the London Mozart Players office… ;-)

    Seriously though, this is sad news indeed. The Residentie Orkest is a fine band and doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. Is there a petition online that supporters can sign?

    • It’s OK. The LMP’s diary is full, funding is massive, and they are thriving. Just like all the UK chamber orchestras.

  5. Even more bitter if you know that the city council decided at the same time to invest 181 million € in a so-called “cultuurpaleis” which should become the future home of, among others, the decimated Residentieorkest.

  6. I think even orchestra managers are allowed to stop for lunch and catch up on industry news over a sarnie, aren’t they, Peter?

  7. Tim Dowling says:

    Dear Norman,

    I am a proud member of this orchestra. We fight on!

  8. Steve de Mena says:

    Can’t they do some fundraising (corporate sponsorships, etc) to try and make up some of the gap?

  9. For the record: this orchestra has “struggled” to survive these past decades on 85% govt. subsidies for its operating costs. It’s not unusual for there to be less than 200 people in the audience due to poor programming choices (due to the fact that there’s no motive to actually attract a paying audience).

    This correction is long overdue.

  10. “The Residentie Orkest in the Dutch capital, The Hague…”

    The Dutch capital?

  11. Michael Hurshell says:

    Triste, triste. “Cultural Capitol” indeed! Weimar (cultural capitol in 1999) has a population of 65 thousand. Orchestra: 95 members. Perhaps the folks in Holland should reconsider how appropriate it is to cut an orchestra like the Residentie (92 players), which performs in a city of over half a million, down to Stadttheater size at a time when its culture is supposed to be a entral factor of its character. Shame, shame! (And bad enough that there is no opera company in town, either… “cultural capitol” WHY?)

    • I hope more Europeans will make such salient criticisms of Holland’s cultural poltics. The voices of Holland’s neighbors will carry the most weight. The Dutch aren’t maintaining the continent’s standards and should indeed feel shame.

  12. We see the outcomes of cultural relativism in our liberal societies. Today politicians on all levels are the first time from a generation, that grew up without being educated at least to a basic degree in the superior universality of the classical arts. It is no longer important to them and doesn’t concern their status and image considerations, if they socialize with their likes at a Rolling Stones concert or a classical concert.
    There is not enough respect and understanding for the arts. It is merely reduced to a political tool, it’s importance for society measured by how many people/voters can be pleased with it.

    • In reality, studies in cultural relativism show us why classical music’s unique traditions should be maintained — and without specious claims of being superior or universal.

      • I guess we have a misunderstanding about the semantics of the word “superior”. It is IMO intellectually dishonest, to on the one hand criticize the devastating effect of cultural relativism, but then stop short in the tracks by being afraid to define more absolute values to cultural achievements.
        Yes, the achievements of classical music, both in composition and performance, are superior in terms of intellectual skill, creativity, requirements on human education, level of civilized social interaction etc. to much of what we have today that is called “music”. Why dance around this issue? Because it is un-”pop”-ular?
        Because education doesn’t sound like “fun”?

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