Dutch orchestra leads street protest – new video

Dutch orchestra leads street protest – new video


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2011

Protests are mounting in The Hague against government decimation of state subsidy.

Here’s video of a protest performance of O Fortuna, from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, a work created for the Nazi regime. The orchestra was made up of members of all the Dutch orchestras, the choir of several different Dutch soloists, ensembles & choirs. Conductor was Lawrence Renes.

If you recognise principal players and singers in the performance, I’ll insert the credits. If you’re a cop, stay cool.

See previous.

LATE EXTRA: Some viewers have asked whether the street confrontation is genuine, or pieced together from separate video takes in different locations. Anyone able to enlighten us? Thanks to filmmaker Tommy Pearson for pointing this out.


LATE LATE EXTRA: I’ve just been told that the riot police where in a completely different part of town from the orchestra. The video was edited to make it appear they were in a standoff. That’s a propaganda trick. Artists should beware of stooping so low. I have changed the healdine above to clarify the situation.


  • Emil Archambault says:

    If facing 60% cuts, why not protest by playing only 40% of the notes in a future action?

  • Pieter-Jelle de Boer says:

    Dear Mr Lebrecht,

    First of all, thanks for drawing attention to the situation in the Netherlands!

    In my opinion, this video is not propaganda. It’s quite clear it has been edited to show the orchestra playing near the “Hofvijver” in The Hague, while protest is going on close to nearby Parliament (which is not a “completely different” part of the city!) and on the Malieveld. I don’t believe the maker of the video wanted to suggest a standoff between riot police and the orchestra.

    However, there has been a serious and unprovoked confrontation between protesters and riot police. A video of it can be found here: http://www.rtl.nl/xl/#/u/488e3c42-b53a-444a-b728-ce68952cda95/ (sorry for the ad in the beginning…)

    Yours sincerely,
    Pieter-Jelle de Boer

  • Lawrence Renes says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    Thank you very much for sharing with your readers the dire situation our rich cultural landscape is in. The video that I have put on YouTube was recorded from an item that was televised today on the political channel of the NOS, our national public news station. On Sunday evening a ‘March For Civilisation’ took place that started in Rotterdam and ended in the early hours of Monday morning in The Hague. As the morning progressed, a large crowd of almost 10.000 protesters met at the ‘Malieveld’ and weren’t allowed to march to our parliament building. At the same time a concert took place on a pontoon in front of the Prime Minister’s office. This concert was organised by several orchestra musicians, and logistical support was provided by, amongst others, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague. The orchestra was led by Mr. Hülsmann, the longtime concertmaster of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Mr. Prunaru, the present concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras and consisted of musicians from each and every Dutch orchestra. The chorus consisted of choral singers from our professional choruses and established soloists, including the baritone Mr. Henk Neven, the current BBC Artist Of The Year.

    In my personal opinion the video montage made and broadcasted by the NOS blend the events of the day in a powerful way, showing the different emotions and reactions we all feel.

    I for one was proud to have been able to contribute to this protest and I was humbled by the dedication, warmth and love the musicians displayed in their playing and singing. They enrich our country with their passion and they deserve to be applauded by our government instead of being insulted.

    With best regards,
    Lawrence Renes