Anne-Sophie Mutter to prime minister: You lied.

Th German violinist has lashed out at the minister-president of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, for backing down on his promise of a new concert hall in her home town,  Munich. ‘Zweifellos ist Seehofer wortbrüchig geworden,’ she told the national news agency, DPA. ‘There’s no question: Seehofer has become untrustworthy.’

She went on to say that a rebuild of the Gasteig Philharmonie does not amount to a new concert hall and called the decision ‘a catastrophic mistake’. She called for an outspoken public debate on the issue.

The baritone Christian Gerhaher has also attacked the decision.


anne-sophie mutter

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  • In my native Denmark we have spent billions building new concert halls. Almost every small provincial town has a shiny new one. Yet, last year one of our best orchestras (Danish national Chamber Orchestra) was axed, a regional ensemble has gone a few years ago. Aarhus Symphony has a brand new hall but have had their funding cut and may lay off musicians. Copenhagen has a shiny new opera house but are struggling to finance performances. Buildings are easy for politicians to understand as they see them as monuments to their own achievement. Arts funding, however, is a lot more difficult to sell. A new hall is always great but be careful what you wish for.

    • It is however a slightly different issue. Anne-Sophie Mutter’s argument is not about whether it was necessary to rebuild a concert hall, but that the promise was made and broken.

  • Whatever will happen, the Bavarian ruling party CSU will act according to their long term master plan: weaken the public broadcasting system, privatize, privatize, privatize… They will try to play the ball back into BR’s hands. Then BR will have to make a decision if they can cough up enough money for their share in a new hall or not…
    Actually in a Machiavellian way well played by Seehofer. Divide et impera. Give the Munich Phil a new hall, when the BRSO asked for it…

      • Tricky… the key question about the meaning of BRSO for Munich and Bavarian music life.
        It’s a radio orchestra… their purpose is to produce broadcasting program. That’s it… They would not need a concert hall for that. That’s why BRSO was founded. Of course today these radio orchestras are also cultural lighthouses of their regions. De facto, but not by mandate…

        Do you remember the Bavarian “Rechnungshof” shocking verdict, that BR should refocus the orchestras to their original purpose, or face liquidation, since they have become concert orchestras, something they have no mandate to be by broadcasting fee’s justification.

        This is the white elephant in the room of this discussion, and Seehofer et al welcome the opportunity to rub it into BR’s faces.

  • I think it will be very difficult to improve the Gasteig even after entirely gutting the hall, so this could indeed be a catastrophic decision. On the other hand, it would look fairly odd for Munich to build a second hall costing hundreds of millions while Germany demands that its poorer EU neighbors live under extreme austerity measures that are causing a lot of real suffering for people.

    Even if they built a new hall, the Munich Phil would have to continue working in the Gasteig. By improving it, they will help both orchestras, not just one. I think the eventual outcome will be to first improve the Gasteig, and then later build a hall for the BRSO.

    • “Germany demands that its poorer EU neighbors live under extreme austerity measures”… ??? Under which rock have you been hiding? Read what the new Greek finance minister says about it. Germany wants to give him billions of supporting loans, and he says Greece should not take a single cent anymore. It’s the opposite of what you say actually.

      There is a chance to improve the Gasteig and if done very well this could be it and the hall for the future decades for Munich. But what is going to happen in the about five years that the building will take? They say now two years, but that’s nonsense and everybody knows it. It will take much longer.
      Munich would not have a bigger hall, only Herkulessaal, for several years.

        • OT, but again, the Greeks have brought this upon themselves, no Germany to blame, even though the Germans always *do* make for a nice scapegoat. 😉 Actually Goldman-Sachs has a major share in the Greek dilemma, since they were helping Greece to falsify the books and have them approved for the Euro.

          But back to the Munich concert hall austerity measures.

          • Another aspect of Germany’s hypocrisy concerning Greek debt is outlined in the article below. Germany wants austerity in Greece, except when it comes to importing German products, and especially arms:


            Due to perceived threats from Turkey, Greece is the third largest importer of arms in the world, after China and India. Recent history shows that Greek fears are not unjustified. Since the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Greece has spent 216 billion Euros on arms. The USA and the EU could give Greece assurances of protection that would alleviate its large need for arms. This would help solve a major part of Greece’s financial problems.

            And Munich could build its new hall without Germany looking like austerity for everyone but it.

          • This is not the place to discuss this. Let’s stick to the topic. Bavarian cultural austerity measures.

  • Anon is absolutely right in all previous comments. The real problem – whether or not a new hall is built or if the Gasteig is just refurbished – is whether there will be any audiences left once it re-opens. The Herkulessaal, although suitable for middle-sized works, is unsuitable for very large orchestral works and hugely uneconomic, in that there are insufficient seats to bring in major orchestras and/or soloists without incurring very large losses att the box Office. If Munich becomes uninteresting in the interim years and the major acts go elsewhere, regaining them will be a big headache for promoters and managements alike.

  • Munich can only get a new concert hall and avoid the silly Gasteig 2.0 plan, if all parties involved forget about their competition and pull on the same rope together. Mutter and Gerhaher are playing the right cards. But are the decisive people listening?
    Does Munich Philharmonic resist the urge of consuming the (apparent) competitive advantage they are handed by the town and state, and join the forces for the bigger good. A real new concert hall instead of having *no* bog concert hall in Munich for many years, while Gasteig would be reconstructed.

  • Anne-Sophie Mutter most certainly did not utter the phrase: “You lied.” ! This is a rather crude attempt at a failed translation and casts that undeserved crudeness upon Frau Mutter. A more accurate translation would be: “Without a doubt Seehofer has become not true to his word.” Simply stated, he broke his word.

    Such bold headlines as Mr. Lebrecht often spins, can be inflammatory, insensitive and a shallow attempt at editorializing falsely.

    • NL’s translation is in the top paragraph.

      Mutter is in effect saying Seehofer lied by reversing earlier promises, and even on Monday he ended by again promising Munich a world-class hall.

      The man is a snake, eine SCHLANGE!

      • Well, Norman is a successful journalist and we are not.

        And I am sure Frau Mutter has all sorts of perfectly accurate words for Seehofer in private!

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