German orchestra joins Dutch protest – new video

German orchestra joins Dutch protest – new video


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2011

Here’s the radio orchestra from WDR Cologne, playing Soldier of Orange to shame the Dutch government.

The conductor is first violinist, Alfred Lutz.

They are the third orchestra to raise their voice, after the Philharmonia with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the London Philharmonic with Vladimir Jurowski. Who’s next?


  • It is interesting that European musicians vigorously protest cuts to public arts funding while their American colleagues simply cower. Why?

    • A violinist says:

      Because this is exactly what happens when you become dependent on federal governments for funds: it removes part of the pressure to really sell and establish a strong connection with the audience and local community (and people act like that’s a good thing?!) , then inevitably the political whims change, they cut you, and you’re finished. That’s exactly what can happen in America. It’s almost like when you have to do it, your cultural irrelevance is official. Better not to get that way in the first place. Now that we’re there, how do we get back?

      (Besides those whose livelihoods are directly at stake, how many other folks protesting this — or any government cut — ever made a personal donation to the cause? The answer to that question can tell you a lot. Know a lot of people raising he!! about public radio. Why do I have a hunch some of those same people, maybe not all but more than a few, have been just as guilty of changing the station during the pledge drives…)

      • First, the majority of the funding in Holland comes from the state and municipal level, not the federal government. That this is true for most of Europe.

        Second, we should also note that Europe’s public arts funding system is far more consistent in its support than America’s system of funding by (and for) the wealthy.

        Third, public funding does not remove the pressure to reach publics. In cities like Munich, Vienna, and many others, opera productions are often so popular that they have to be distributed with a lottery system. The waiting period for subscriptions for the Vienna Philharmonic is over a decade.

        Fourth, to note that Europe’s public funding system is strongly oriented toward education, which is the most important aspect of building publics.

        Note also Lebrecht’s latest article about the excitement generated by recent opera premieres in London’s two year-round houses. The people who run those houses will tell you that would not be possible without public funding. The subvention for the ENO and the Royal Opera comes to over 70 million dollars per year. That’s why London’s opera world far outshines New York’s, where one of our country’s major houses has essentially gone out of business. London is currently shaking up the opera world with its new premiere while the Met has already closed due to its short seven month season.

        We should also note simple facts like Germany having 83 year-round opera houses while the USA with four times the population doesn’t have any. Germany has 133 year-round orchestras while the USA has 18. Public funding. Americans are so parochial in the views of public arts funding they seem brain washed.

  • Robert says:

    Goethe said something like “No man is more a slave than he who falsely believes they are free.” It is such, i think, with Americans in general, needless to mention American musicians. I suggested to a colleague in a dying orchestra that the musicians take over the administrative and marketing work so they could keep their 20K per annum jobs. He told me nobody wanted to do that sort of work–THEY were artists. The orchestra is now defunct. We Americans have been conditioned not to protest since the great social upheaval of the 1960s and 70s. So many terrible things have happened here in the last ten years, and people are simply content to play with their Ipods, watch “American idol” and graze like sheep while the structure of the country goes direclt to Hell without passing go.

    Love your writings, by the way!