Germany cuts orchestras – v-e-r-y slowly

Germany cuts orchestras – v-e-r-y slowly


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2010

Fascinating statistic just in on the wires. Germany has abolished state subsidies to 35 orchestras since 1992, leaving 133 still in funds out of an original 168. The figures comprises opera houses, symphony orchestras, radio bands and chamber ensembles.

The number of musicians employed in state-funded orchestras is down by 18 percent from 12,159 to the present 9,922. The source is the German Orchestral Association (DOV). 

This sensible, gradual rationalisation, a part of the reunification process, contrasts starkly with the latest government plans in Holland to shut down classical radio, with the consequent abolition of three salaried orchestras. Read De Volkskrant for details (in Dutch). 

The amount saved would be 31 million Euros.

See here for further planned cuts.


  • Very troubling developments in the Netherlands. With those orchestras gone from the scene, even the Concertgebouw and other presenters will be in trouble. It’s not just cutting those orchestras; it will have a ripple effect and it will affect a much larger part of society than anticipated. I wonder how much economic activity will get lost by “saving” this 31 million Euros.

  • AndrewFinden says:

    they might be saving 32m€ but they’re surely losing something much more valuable.