A great singer appeals for the expelled musicians of Basle

A great singer appeals for the expelled musicians of Basle


norman lebrecht

December 31, 2014

The city is kicking out its foreign musicians. Andreas Scholl appeals for your help in stopping the eviction.

Basle is in the forefront of Europe’s expulsion culture. The rot must be stopped here.

scholl wanderer


  • Cello3724 says:

    Basel, perhaps?

  • william osborne says:

    Perhaps Basel’s greatest claim to musical fame is its early music institute, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, which is probably be the best early music academy in Europe. Many of its graduates, including foreigners, remain in the area and are a resource for early music communities across most of Europe. Its faculty is assembled from all over the world. Some examples:

    + Australia: keyboardist and conductor Geoffrey Lancaster
    + Belgium: countertenor and conductor René Jacobs
    + England: lutenist and ensemble leader Anthony Rooley; soprano Evelyn Tubb; viola da gamba playerAlison Crum
    + France: cellist and conductor Christophe Coin; flautist Marc Hantaï; conductor Dominique Vellard
    + Andreas Scholl; tenor Gerd Türk
    + Italy: organist Lorenzo Ghielmi, organist, harpsichordist and conductor Andrea Marcon; viola da gambist Paolo Pandolfo
    + Netherlands: harpsichordist, organist and conductor Gustave Leonhardt; violinist Jaap Schröder
    + Spain: viola da gamba player and conductor Jordi Savall
    + Switzerland: violinist and conductor Chiara Banchini; baritone Kurt Widmer
    + United States of America: bassoonist Donna Agrell, lutenists Hopkinson Smith and Crawford Young; cornettist Bruce Dickey; and trumpeter Edward H. Tarr.

    Basel should celebrate its musical internationalism, not destroy it. Or does it want to become even more a gray and uninteresting place?

  • Marcel Lockhart says:

    Farmers in Switzerland are not allowed to hire temp workers from abroad for the harvesting season. Why should orchestras be allowed to do what farmers are not? Simple logic by a foreigner living in Switzerland, a country which is very nice to the ones from abroad, but are understandably not happy about many immigration issues.

    • Catherine Motuz says:

      When I studied at the Schola and continued to live as a freelancer in Basel, I really lived there—I was not a *temporary* worker. Also, I am pretty sure I could learn to harvest a crop without thousands of hours on my own in a practice room. We’re talking about very highly skilled workers here.

      We’re also not talking about orchestras—the assumption that top musicians will always have an orchestra job is what fueled the regulations in the first place. But the orchestra was invented around 1700, so there is a lot of Early Music that doesn’t involve orchestras at all.

      Indeed, the Swiss have no problem with the brightest and best from around the world coming to play in their orchestras. The issue here is that freelance musicians, whose income from diverse sources doesn’t fit their rule that a foreigner must have 70% employment from a single source, are being given the boot.

      When I lived in Basel, the majority of my work was abroad, yet I paid taxes in Switzerland. On all fronts, it makes sense to welcome world class artists into one’s country. I visited Basel in December, and was pleased to see that many Swiss people have signed the petition in support of what they see as an accidental overregulation.

      Hope this helps!

    • william osborne says:

      Foreigners with permanent residency make up 23% of Switzerland’s population. Musicians by nature of their profession often work for multiple employers. They represent a tiny fraction of Switzerland’s foreign population and greatly enhance the country’s profile.

      8.9% of the Swiss population lives abroad which I think must be one of the highest ratios for any industrial country. 171,000 live in the USA, second only to France in terms of numbers. America celebrates the influences of its Swiss immigrants. The foreign musicians in Basel are something they city should celebrate.