Just in: Vienna Philharmonic musicians acquire a house for refugees

Musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic say they are in the process of buying a disused inn in the picturesque village of St. Aegyd am Neuwalde in Lilienfeld. The building will serve as a home for 16 refugees.

The idea came from clarinettist Norbert Täubl, who was born in the village. The orchestra reckons the project will cost them quarter of a million Euros.

Hats off to the Viennese.

vienna philharmonic inn

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    • Not really, except on the surface. 250k EUR would pay for shelter for around fifty refugees in a nearby country such as Turkey or Jordan. Supporting sixteen, rather than nearer sixty, may not be a use of the cash which helps either those most in need, or the most people.

    • Absolutely. Imagine your taxes being used to pay for a group of criminal immigrants who have illegally crossed international borders to live in your village. Still, anyone who opposes them is branded a racist.

        • Given the fact that over one million asylum seekers (80% male, which means that the family will want to join them soon) have now arrived in central Europe, and given the fact that they come from an area of the world where rabid anti-Semitism is the norm, we can prepare for a mass exodus of Jews from Germany – similar to France.
          Your comment is grotesque.

          • I totally agree, and was noting that in the not too distant past, and even maybe present, some Austrians would have preferred almost anyone to Jews as neighbours. Whether in a decade Austria, Germany or any other European country will be habitable by Jews or any civilised human beings remains to be seen. Hard to be optimistic.

      • It is a perverse system and failure of the EU that it has allowed an incoherent system to develop that makes lawbreakers (now labeled “criminal” by present company) out of people trying to get away from a war that has killed over 200,000 people and created about 4 million refugees. And particularly heartless sort who would label them criminals for doing what anyone would do in a similar situation.

        • Speaking as Jew I am not likely to be a Nazi, I am not consciously a racist, I may of course be a jerk but from some that can be considered a compliment. I would just point out that the majority of those entering the EU are not refugees from Syria and Afghanistan but/ mostly young men from other countries with no skills and no education, invited by Merkel. This is strengthening far right parties all over Europe, including all of Scandinavia, and Switzerland just last week-end. Perhaps this not a great idea?

  • Actually, I haven’t published an update about the VPO in the last three years. After 18 years of international protests, there are now enough women tenured in the orchestra that the ensemble can’t turn back. So most of the problem is solved. In some recent years, they’ve even hired women at a rate along international norms, though there is still sexism in the orchestra, and it is still being watched closely by many besides me.

    The VPO has also worked to come to terms with its Nazi past, which extended well beyond the end of the war – even if the calculated PR effort was a bit distasteful. One of the major reasons this has happened is that the last of the old Nazis have died in Germany and Austria. Without these family members and colleagues around, the younger generation in the orchestra can speak more freely.

    The area where the orchestra is still seriously failing, is in hiring members who are fully Asian and have an Asian family name. This failure is due to racist beliefs in the ensemble, and does indeed make the purchase of the asylum home contradictory. There are genuine divisions in the viewpoints in the orchestra about race. With time, the anti-racist faction will prevail.

    What we actually see in these comments, is that classical music is still more conservative, if not reactionary, than any other art form. You can always count on the cowardly, anonymous, virtually all-male, Fox News crowd to express its intense resentments toward those who helped the VPO open its doors to women.

    • And in the USA, anything new concerning the incredibly low number of African-Americans in symphony orchestras, especially in the so-called “big 5”?

      “After 18 years of international protests”

      Really? From who? I live in Vienna and I’ve never heard of these “protests”…

      “it is still being watched closely by many besides me.”

      For a change, how about watching closely American orchestras and the number of African-Americans in them… Just saying…

      • The fundamental difference is that the VPO has had a policy of deliberately excluding women and Asians, while US orchestra have not deliberately excluded blacks. This is obvious to all but the most obtusely blinkered apologists for the VPO. That such ignorant responses are made after 18 years only shows how intractable the bigotry in classical music still is.

        That said, the lack of African-Americans in US orchestras is a serious problem. We typically have orchestras in major cities like Baltimore or Detroit where the orchestra is 98% white in cities that are 80% black. This problem is indeed watched closely, though much more should be done. One of the most notable programs is Sphinx which can be read about here:

        http://www.sphinxmusic.org/

        You might also want to read Anne Midgette’s recent article in the WP about black opera singers:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2015/10/16/talking-race-and-blackface-in-opera-the-long-version/

        Unfortunately, the racially informed class system in the USA is so deeply rooted, that only fundamental systemic changes in the society as a whole will really solve the lack of blacks in classical music. Look at a school like Curtis which caters to a small body of students often given elite and expensive musical educations from an early age in a city where 60,000 children live in deep poverty and face daily problems with hunger.

        If you have any ideas for solutions, instead of obtusely defensive remarks, I’m sure many would love to hear them.

      • The fundamental difference is that the VPO has had a policy of deliberately excluding women and Asians, while US orchestra have not deliberately excluded blacks. This is obvious to all but the most obtusely blinkered apologists for the VPO. That such ignorant responses are made after 18 years only shows how intractable the bigotry in classical music still is.

        That said, the lack of African-Americans in US orchestras is a serious problem. We typically have orchestras in major cities like Baltimore or Detroit where the orchestra is 98% white in cities that are 80% black. This problem is indeed watched closely, though much more should be done. One of the most notable programs is Sphinx which can be read about here:

        http://www.sphinxmusic.org/

        You might also want to read Anne Midgette’s recent article in the WP about black opera singers.

        Unfortunately, the racially informed class system in the USA is so deeply rooted, that only fundamental systemic changes in the society as a whole will really solve the lack of blacks in classical music. Look at a school like Curtis which caters to a small body of students often given elite and expensive musical educations from an early age in a city where 60,000 children live in deep poverty and face daily problems with hunger.
        If you have any ideas for solutions, instead of obtusely defensive remarks, I’m sure many would love to hear them.

        • I have always harbored a deep resentment against the Bologna Mandoline Orchestra because of being made-up exclusively of Bolognese women, and with a constitution where this bias of locality is fixed. They have expressed the perverse wish to ‘just like’ to be with other Bolognese women, and every time I read a positive review of the band – I follow them closely – my leftish soul is profoundly shocked. I have sent numerous letters to the editor of The Bologna Review, the Bologna Bolloccia, the Arriva Bolognese and the Novella Bologniadi, but they are ignored as on purpose! It will take a long time till men, Asians, blacks, and especially Syrians, will take-up the mandoline, that typical Italian musical instrument so apt to express Italian humanitarian values.

          • Does anyone know whether African Americans actually apply in large numbers for places in US orchestras? You would expect about 10% of applicants to be black. Are they? If they do apply is a disproportionate number ejected? Does anyone know or is it just easier to think in terms of quotas?

          • A disproportionately small number apply because so many do not have access to classical music education at an early age.

          • John, everyone knows Bologna has had for centuries systemic racist and sexist practices that have kept out of work many a male mandolinist.

        • Using the same logic, shouldn’t we complain that there ought to be more white players in the NBA? But in this case, it is not racism, it is just the fact that black folks happen to play the ball so much better than the whites.

          • The implication of your wrong and distasteful logic is that white people play classical music better. Which, by the way, has been the traditional view of the VPO.

          • Do you imply, on the other hand, that whites are not any worse than blacks in basketball? Cause if you do, I can argue to death about that. Starting with physical traits (height, muscular structure, ability to jump), they are simply superior to white athletes.

  • your view, and others, like Jaypee’s, view that this blog is infested with Nazi racists could not be further from the truth.

    the reactionary comments here were quite tolerant and mild.

    the absurdly politically correct comments are completely beyond comprehension.

    • Anybody on this blog who calls Syrian war refugees ‘criminals’, should be locked-up in a ‘Einbürgerungslager’ and be taught what it means to be a European. There are many muslims living in Europe who are more European than these ignorati suffering from Pegidaitis.

  • I see that the nattering nabobs of negativism have twisted a munificent and benevolent gesture into something sinister. Furthermore, a few have gone even further to drag their Fox-reinforced hatreds and bigotry to this board.

    How sad.

    • Yes, it’s called ‘pegidaitis’, the germs of which (called ‘memes’) float through the air and enter the brain through the ear, where natural resistance has been lowered by self-destructive addiction to selective information. Within the brain, the memes eat their way through reality-checking neurons which harden into racist projection systems, until the defence systems in the reptile part of the brain force the patient to find a flag and go into the street, looking for fellow-patients. In a later stage of the disease, they set fire on asylum settlements. Since for the time being, the condition is incurable, Brussels devises plans to ship these patients to Homs where they can exercise their symptoms free of medical intervention.

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