Just in: Daniel Barenboim issues warning over Denmark

Just in: Daniel Barenboim issues warning over Denmark


norman lebrecht

November 27, 2015

The Berlin Staatsoper conductor has sent this letter to the Copenhagen Government, urging it not to dismantle the Royal Danish Orchestra. 

To whom it may concern:

I am deeply concerned about the cuts at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. We live in a difficult time for art, not only in Denmark but throughout Europe. Finding the means to create and exercise art is becoming increasingly difficult.
It is for this reason of utmost importance to protect that which cannot be replaced. The core of an opera house is its orchestra. Especially in a house like the Royal Theatre where the Kapelle play not only opera, but also ballet and symphony concerts, three of the four arts at the Royal Theatre.

Denmark can be proud to have the oldest orchestra in the world with over 500 years of tradition of excellence.
To reduce such an orchestra to a size where it is not able to play regularly in full size will have devastating long-term consequences for the Royal Theatre. I would urge the management at the royal theatre that reconsider their plans to reduce this national treasure – the Royal Chapel. There are alternatives.

Daniel Barenboim

barenboim's letter




  • Miles Clery-Fox says:

    Outlandishly talented as he is, it is often outrageous fees such as paid to Mr. Barenboim that have helped lead to this situation, not just in Denmark but pretty much everywhere where performing arts are nurtured.

  • Eugene Tzigane says:

    It’s not just the Royal Opera Orchestra. Every orchestra in Denmark is having their budgets slashed every year. Every time I conduct here, the situation is worse and something must be done to bolster these invaluable cultural institutions. The arts and culture are the best way to fight against ignorance and fanaticism.

  • Alvaro says:

    Once Barenboim – Metha – Rattle and that whole generation is gone, who will have the muscle to even appear in non-classical music discourse?


    The current situation is a product of the changes of the past 30 years – barenboim is the product of the status quo as it was in the 50’s.

    The current status quo makes even the ‘most famous pianist’ (Lang Lang) a nobody in the larger music industry: as evinced by his overlooked participation in the Grammy’s and other large cultural events outside of the niche classical music industry.

    The house of cards is falling, one by one.

    • Holger H. says:

      You confuse things. The music industry (Grammys) and classical music as represented by orchestras like Royal Chapel.
      It’s like confusing McDonalds and centuries of French cuisine tradition, because McD has a “French week”.

  • PhilT says:

    Perhaps the the lavish fees charged by name performers contributes to the problems seen on the Continent but of the several visits I’ve made over the years, I’ve see organizations uphold ancient obsolete traditions but are unwilling to bend to changing tastes by the public in performing theatre and music. I do see a different viable paradigm as offered by Naxos Records – great recordings played by relative unknowns. Perhaps that may easily transfer over to the live performance. Do I really need a von Karajan and the BPO to enjoy Beethoven?

    The days of performers regarded as minor gods has past. My mother would tell me tales of an enraged Toscanini who could get away with a short temper. But no more. Today it is a business where a career is measured in term contracts with commitments everywhere but dedication to none.