Two maestros appeal to Denmark to save its musical Borgen

Two maestros appeal to Denmark to save its musical Borgen


norman lebrecht

October 01, 2014

By one of those sweet chances of  musical fate, the two music directors of Copenhagen’s orchestras, Fabio Luisi and Adam Fischer, happened to be working at the Met in New York. They put their heads together and wrote an open letter to the people of Denmark, urging them to save the DR Chamber Orchestra (DNCO), which Fischer directs and which is due to be abolished at the end of the year.

Both appear to be aware of the workings of Danish coalition politics, as demonstrated in the TV series, Borgen.

Here is their letter. You read it here first. Translation follows.


luisi new york  adam fischer




Liebe Leute von Dänemark

Kare Danmark,

wir beide arbeiten in diesen Wochen gleichzeitig an der Metropolitan Opera in New York. Das wollen wir zum Anlass nehmen, zusammen an alle Verantwortlichen zu appellieren, die künstlerische Vielfalt in Musikleben Kopenhagens zu wahren und alles zu tun, damit das DNCO als zweiter Klangkörper neben dem DR Symphonie Orchester erhalten bleibt. Die beiden Orchester sind unterschiedlich in ihrem Repertoire, sie haben beide ihren individuellen Interpretationsstil, aber eben deshalb ergänzen sie sich auch und diese erweiterte musikalische Palette macht das Konzertleben für das Publikum attraktiv und spannend.

Wir Künstler wissen, wie wichtig es ist, nebeneinander zu arbeiten, die Arbeit der anderen zu beobachten und künstlerische Ideen  auszutauschen. Das befruchtet unseren Stil und das wiederum kommt dem Publikum letztlich zu Gute. Das war von alters her an allen wichtigen Kulturzentren immer schon der Fall gewesen.

Wir möchten nicht nur an der New Yorker MET, sondern auch am DR in Kopenhagen miteinander und nebeneinander arbeiten. Wenn die politischen Verantwortlichen uns die Voraussetzung dafür schaffen, versichern wir ihnen beide, dass wir alles, was wir vermögen, tun werden, um Kopenhagen und dem DR den Ruf eines der wichtigsten Musikzentren Europas zu sichern.


New York, den 29.9.2014

Fabio Luisi    Adam Fischer



Dear People of Denmark

Kare Danmark,

We are both working at the same time this week at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. We want to take this opportunity to appeal to all those responsible for the genuine artistic diversity in the musical life of Copenhagen to do everything possible to preserve the DNCO as second ensemble, beside the DR Symphony Orchestra.

The two orchestras have a different repertoire; each has an individual style of interpretation. The very reason that they complement each other is what makes concert life attractive and exciting for the audience. We artists know how important it is to work side by side, to observe each other’s work and share artistic ideas. It enhances our style and benefits the public. That is how it has worked from time immemorial in all the world’s important cultural centers.

We want to continue working side by side not only at the New York Met, but also in DR Copenhagen. If political leaders are responsible for this decision, we would like to assure them that we will both do everything we can to advance the reputation of DR Copenhagen as one of the most important musical centers of Europe.

New York, the 29/09/2014

Fabio Luisi Adam Fischer


  • Henrik says:

    Bravo Maestri!
    We are now in anticipation of the political response in Denmark. Will we see action, or will we see even more ignorance of the cowardish, conflict-avoiding, ducking-under-the-table, irresponsible behavior from the Danish people, who make it too easy for the enemies of public culture to succeed?
    People in Denmark, save your culture! Save your civil society! Let private businesses do what they do best (e.g. running trivial populist shows like Eurovision or X-factor) and let the public subsidies go there, where they preserve and nurture your own national culture!

  • Novagerio says:

    As if the politicians really cared to hear the difference in the playing styles of both orchestras…by the way, didn’t the Big DR Fish already suggest to recruit players from the Smaller DR Fish on the very day after the decision of closing the DRUO?

    • Henrik says:

      It’s too easy and lazy to blame the politicians for everything. Particularly in a well developed democracy like Denmark. People have to take responsibility and get their lazy behinds moving. Are we really going to lose our cultural achievements due to laziness and indifference?

  • Anonymus says:

    There is a certain risk for Maestro Luisi, in positioning himself politically this way and then possibly having to stand by his words and to back out of his Denmark commitments if this initiative doesn’t fall on fertile soil. But doing the right thing is often also the more risky thing. I applaud both gentlemen for taking the high road.

    • Christian says:

      If stepping up on the stage doesn’t involve a risk in itself, you’re in the wrong business. I would expect nothing less from true artists than to stand by their opinions in this horrendous case. Aside from the fact that Danish politicians have so far agreed that it’s perfectly acceptable to close down a professional orchestra overnight, I strongly doubt that anyone at their right mind would take over the DRSO at the expense of an internationally acclaimed chamber orchestra without doing everything possible to prevent this from happening. Risky or not, it’s the only right thing to do.

      I certainly hope their voices will be heard, and proper actions will be taken.

  • Josef says:

    I hear from musicians of both orchestras, that the orchestra’s joint administration is selling the closure of the smaller brother to the bigger brother as a good thing and that in the end the bigger brother will have more resources from the killing of the smaller brother. They are told to keep their heads down until the public shitstorm is over.
    Consolidation of resources is not necessarily a bad thing form the economical point of view, but the above letter from Luisi and Fischer changes the game a bit. At least at first glance.
    Unless one reads the above letter again and wonders, if both could be appointed chief conductors of a new bigger DR symphony orchestra.
    Apparently already some musicians of the smaller orchestra will be merged with the bigger orchestra. So is this letter maybe the overture to a Fischer-Luisi double leadership of the new DRSUO?