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Spanish radio musicians: they are killing our culture

Members of the orchestra and chorus of RTVE, the Spanish broadcasting authority, have issued a manifesto against proposed cuts which, they say, will   destroy the company’s mission to educate the public in Spanish music, ancient and modern. All arts institutions in Spain are facing severe cuts. We don’t have full details of the radio proposals, but it appears to involve employing the musicians for just eight months of the year. As one of the players puts it: ‘The proposals would mean the eventual demise of the orchestra as not only are there salary cuts but the administration want to employ us for only eight months of the year and put us on the dole for the other four!’ Here is the musicians’ manifesto in Spanish and (their translation) into English:










La Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de RTVE, junto con el resto de trabajadores de la Corporación RTVE, quiere manifestar su más firme desacuerdo con la propuesta presentada por la dirección de la Corporación de RTVE, para el nuevo convenio colectivo. Dicho convenio contiene una serie de medidas tan agresivas que suponen una seria amenaza para la calidad de servicio público que debería ser RTVE y para la propia continuidad de la institución.


En lo que se refiere a la Orquesta y Coro la propuesta de la dirección pretende que los músicos que la componen pasen a un contrato laboral de fijos-discontinuos. Esto limitaría la actividad de la Orquesta y Coros al periodo de temporada de abono y significaría una merma progresiva de esta institución, que estaría prácticamente abocada a su desaparición.


Los músicos que formamos la Orquesta y Coro de RTVE consideramos que la actual propuesta de la dirección de RTVE tendría, entre otras consecuencias:


-       La práctica desaparición de un servicio público y educativo esencial para la cultura y la formación de los españoles como es la Orquesta y Coro de RTVE. La propuesta actual podría suponer el fin de todos los proyectos pedagógicos, conciertos para fundaciones, festivales, grabaciones e intercambios con la UER que la institución viene realizando desde su fundación y que son las actuaciones que se realizan fuera de la temporada de abono.


-       La eliminación de la labor de recuperación y promoción de la música española, tanto contemporánea como de siglos anteriores.


-         El detener la actividad de la orquesta y coro durante más de cuatro meses, tal como se refleja en la propuesta supondría una merma de la calidad de la orquesta y el coro, ya que la actividad musical de una agrupación de este nivel exige una continua coordinación entre los músicos.


Por todo ello, pedimos que la Orquesta Sinfónica y Coro de RTVE pueda seguir cumpliendo su labor cultural y educativa con plenas garantías de continuidad más allá de los conciertos de temporada, en beneficio de una sociedad claramente necesitada de todos los valores socioculturales.


El Coro, creado en 1950, y la Orquesta Sinfónica, fundada en 1965,  desempeñan una valiosa función tanto por su incuestionable contribución a la cultura española como a la construcción de la imagen internacional de España a través de todas sus giras internacionales. La Orquesta y el Coro de RTVE, además, constituyen un elemento clave en la divulgación musical en la radio y TV públicas, especialmente para aquellas personas aficionadas a la música y para todas aquellas que no tienen posibilidad de acudir a un concierto en directo y sólo tienen la oportunidad de disfrutar de conciertos de calidad a través de las pantallas o las ondas.


Madrid, 25 de febrero de 2013



The symphony orchestra and chorus of the Spanish Radiotelevision (RTVE) along with the rest of the employees of the RTVE would like to express their strong disagreement of the proposals presented by the directors of the RTVE corporation for a new collective contract of work. This contract contains a series of measure so aggressive that they pose a serious threat to the quality of public service that must be represented by the RTVE and for the continuity of this institution.


The Director General’s proposals pertaining to the orchestra and chorus mean that the musicians will have their permanent contracts changed to ones that would not be continuous. This would limit the activities of the orchestra and chorus to the annual concert series which would result in a significant decline that would almost certainly result in their disappearance.
The musicians of the orchestra and chorus consider that the present proposals have the following consequences:


-  Practically a disappearance of a public and educational service essential for the culture and benefit of Spaniards such as those that comprise of the orchestra and chorus of the RTVE. The current proposals would mean the end of pedagogic projects, concerts for foundations, festivals, recordings and exchanges with the EEC that the organisation has realised since it’s foundation and that represent the activities outside the annual concert series.
- The disappearance of the re-discovery and promotion of Spanish music especially music from the past as well as contemporary Spanish music.


-    The cessation of the activity of the orchestra and chorus for a period of four months would result in a decline in the quality of the musical output that it is essential in an organisation such as the orchestra and chorus, by it’s very nature, has to maintain by a continuous and regular interaction between the musicians.
Considering the above we ask that the orchestra and chorus be allowed to continue to carry out their cultural and educational work with full guarantees of continuity beyond the annual concert season that a sociocultural society clearly benefits from.

The chorus, created in 1950 and the symphony orchestra founded in 1965 have a valuable role to play that illustrate their unquestionable contribution in portraying an international image of Spain which includes their presence on the international stage.
The orchestra and chorus also provide a vital key in the broadcasting of music on radio and public television especially for those that don’t have the opportunity to attend a live concert and can only enjoy concerts on screens and via the airwaves.

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  1. Paul Mann says:

    I’m guest-conducting this magnificent orchestra again in a few weeks and have already written in support of them. I would urge all fellow musicians to do the same.

  2. The direction of the spanish public broadcasting company , RTVE , wants to convert its Symphony Orchestra and Choir into part – time groups. They propose 8 months of subscription season and 4 months on the dole. Most of the recording of spanish contemporary music and unknown and unrecorded spanish music from `past centuries is done precisely before and after the subscription season.
    This is an unprecedented proposal for an orchestra in Spain and would mean the beggining of the end of the choir, formed in 1950 and orchestra , founded in 1965, which brought classical music to all spanish homes at a time when there were very few orchestras in the country.Its MDs included Igor markevitch,Sergiu Comissiona and Adrian Leaper,among others.

  3. PK Miller says:

    Why are the arts first to be cut? We’ve seen it locally with the NY City Ballet’s summer residency at Saratoga Performing Arts Center cut from 4 to 3 to 2 now to 1 week. I fear the Philadelphia Orchestra’s residency at SPAC may be next. I read constantly in Arts Beat of orchestras etc., filing for bankruptcy–the Philadelphia, yet. And Lord knows if NY City Opera will survive or in what form. We, admittedly, show a terrible example in this country even to trying to shut down exhibits etc., we don’t like–e.g. Piss Christ, Dung Virgin…. Heaven forbid the NEA fund something we don’t like.

    Musicians have a right to earn a living. I deplore the actions of the Spanish government. I know Spain is having its own financial crisis–one that seems world-wide. But the arts must NOT be the automatic whipping child. Spain needs to reconsider.

  4. Rony Rogoff says:

    This is a scandal that must be STOPPED and fully supported by every musician around the world and the entire Spanish public. This should never be allowed. Not only for the sake of the 120 or so musicians and family members but for the entire country… It is a disgrace to culture and the Spanish flag to let this happen. This is a repetition of what the CINI foundation did, cutting the budget of the Orchestra, The Accademia Musicale de San Giorgio to work and perform 8 month of the year as an Orchestra proposing small chamber groups to perform the rest of the season…. The orchestra died within a year.

    Please loan your full support of the Orchestra and Spanish culture !!!

    Rony Rogoff
    New York

  5. When are the great cities of the world going to realize that what they arts provide is what makes those same cities great? Arts are not a luxury, they are a necessity. They are what makes us human and different. They make people, and especially kids, think and feel differently, with open minds and intelligence, and they feed our souls. Cuts of this magnitude simply say: we don’t need this here. But money is somehow always found for arts and other “special projects”, among other reasons because it’s simply easier to raise. No citizen should think they live in a great city if they don’t adamantly protest cuts of this nature.

  6. All the musicians in Spain are concerned about the bad situation of our Broadcasting orchestra and Chorus.
    Our politicians think culture is unnecessary in our society. Step by step, they are cutting all the main culture resources. They don’t want to accept that music and culture are an essential part of the education and personal growing. Without music, education is not completed and they still don’t realize that it’s the key of the country development and success. We’ll continue living in this deeply and sadly crisis of modern society. And this is the worst.

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